Thursday, 28 April 2011

RESOLVE's Infertility Myth Challenge... 'Fantastic, you're doing IVF, so you're 100% to get a baby!'

Myth to be busted: People think IVF always works. Everyone who uses it is successful and has a baby.

Now I realise that this is National Infertility Awareness Week and I'm not in the correct nation, but I couldn't let this week go by without participating. This might seem a weird myth to choose to bust given that I'm in the midst of my first IVF cycle and, of course, hoping that it works for us, so we can finally start our much-wanted family. I'm also feeling pretty positive (though realistic) so there's no pessimism behind the choosing of this particular myth.

The reason I have chosen it is because I was really surprised to come up against this belief amongst some of the few friends and family members who know about our infertility struggles. Maybe it's because, by the time we embarked upon IVF, I'd done so much research that I was well aware of the odds of success. I forgot that the average woman on the street is not aware of these statistics and probably thinks IVF is a surefire way of getting pregnant. Which seems to be what my Mum, my brother and my best friend thought.

My brother's response took me by surprise but, at the time, was the positivity I needed. I told him by email and he replied saying 'Fantastic news! It's about time our family got a new addition'. Although I am the 3rd of 4 siblings, I'm the only one in a serious relationship and considered likely to produce a grandchild/niece/nephew in the near future. Maybe my brother thought long and hard about his response and opted for positivity over commiseration or sympathy.. knowing my brother, that seems unlikely! It seems more likely that he was convinced that I would soon be pregnant and the pressure to reproduce would be off his shoulders for a while! Of course, I'm still hoping this is the case... :)

My Mum and my best friend were both just really surprised when I told them the odds of success - my Mum went quiet, her typical response to something she's not happy hearing, whereas my friend was more vocal... 'Really?!' After the shock died down, they are both determined to stay upbeat and only talk about a positive outcome.. 

'So the baby will be due in Jan/Feb?.. not the best time but at least you won't be huge during summer' 
'You'll be pregnant over Christmas.. how lovely!'
'We'll start looking at flights to come and visit...'

Sometimes this approach is great.. sometimes I want to share their positivity and daydream about that BFP and a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth (can you have a happy birth?!). Sometimes I want to scream at them... 'Don't you know there's a high probability that this won't work?!!'

I reckon that to anyone reading this who is struggling with infertility, this is old news and they are well aware of the stats. So this post is more to people reading this who have friends and family on this journey... positivity is good and we need it much of the time. But remember that realism also has it's place and this journey is a marathon and not a sprint :)

Click here to learn more about infertility: 
Click here to learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week:


  1. Great post! You nailed it. We didn't tell a lot of people when we made the switch to IVF and those we did tell would usually ask things like "Now which one is the one with test tubes and which one uses the turkey baster?" or, better yet, "Why do you want four or five kids at once?" So, while I didn't personally deal with people jumping to the conclusion that I would get pregnant with a normal pregnancy, I know a lot of people who did deal with that and I think your advice and take on the situation is fabulous and well-reasoned.

    P.S. Keeping my fingers crossed and waiting anxiously for our next update.

  2. This is a myth that certainly needed busting! Update on egg collection coming soon I hope!

  3. This is great. So, so true. I think it's also valuable for people who put off starting a family until their late 40's or freeze eggs for later only to face 1% success rates on a cycle. I came across this in my counselling days with some couples who thought (to quote a friend of mine who I shared our struggle to conceive with)..."well, at the end of the day you can always just have IVF"

  4. Oh and I'm just catching up on all your posts. Very best of luck with egg collection tomorrow, your measurements sound great. The infection issue sounded very stressful, last thing you needed, glad it's all resolved now.
    Rest up and enjoy some needle free time.

  5. Good post. This is a really frustrating myth. I've done 4 IVF's and only have one baby.

  6. Love your myth bust... so true - positivity is great except when it crosses the line of reality. Love and wishes to you for your cycle xoxo

  7. Great post!