It’s a numbers game.
No matter how many lucky socks, lucky underwear, kokopelli charms, or crossed fingers and toes we employ; it comes down to the numbers. The odds.
The average success rate for an IVF nationwide is around 30% (depending on age factors). That means that 70% of the time, someone has to lose.
This is of course not what we expect when we first delve into treatment. Everyone knows that you have IVF, you get pregnant, you have a healthy baby (or two), and everyone lives happily ever after.
I know I expected this. Every single friend who had undergone IVF before me (and since) got pregnant on their first IVF. I still remember the long, agonizing discussions with my husband about what we’d do with all the leftover embryos after our first cycle worked. Because we had no doubt it would; we had no doubt we would have a surplus of embryos. Fast forward several years and I sadly chuckle at my naïve former self.
Let’s let that sink in for a bit.
The reason I write this is not to be a negative, the-sky-is-falling infertile over here. Yes, I think it’s important to walk in with eyes wide open (learn from my mistakes). However, the main reason is that all too often we blame ourselves when the medical treatment fails.
WE ARE NOT THE FAILURES. The medical treatment has failed us.
I repeat: The medical treatment has failed, not us.
I know how hard it is to avoid these feelings…more than once have I called myself a failure. I blame my body as much or more than anyone else. I still think my body is a jerk.
What if we turned these self-hating thoughts on their head? Our bodies may not be perfect, but whose is? Do we expect the cancer patient whose chemo has failed them to blame their body?
So why is it an immediate reaction for us to blame ourselves, our bodies?
This is a numbers game.
I’ve said it before…I’m a numbers person. I got so many odds from my first consult with my first RE and on and on and I held onto them like a talisman.
Jan 2011: We were told we have a 6% chance of conceiving naturally.
February 2011: Timed intercourse with Femara would increase our chances to 25%.
June 2011: Our first IUI; it would jack our chances to 40%!
January 2012: Our first IVF; 60% chance of success! 30% chance of twins! Let’s do this…practically a guarantee!
Since that January, we have made over 50 embryos. We transferred 13 above-average or better blasts, 1 morula, and 2 “beautiful” day-3 embryos.
So far, we have no babies in our arms. 1 miscarriage.
60% odds sound so promising.
We have to remember…there is still so much unknown about reproduction and the individual differences that come into play.
The odds are actually against us.
We are not failures.
Learn more about the disease of infertility here: