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The Decision-Making Dilemma

a blog by Maya Moskin, March 26, 2014

There is no such thing as an easy decision in the world of infertility. Often times you are stuck having to make a choice out of a handful of less than ideal options. Sometimes the odds seem so stacked against you, and yet you know you have to do something in order to progress forward towards the goal of making a family.

To start IVF or keep trying other alternatives? To stay with the same doctor after an unsuccessful cycle or to seek another? To move to donor or third party reproduction or start investigating adoption? To call it quits or keep trying?

Everything in the land of infertility is a compromise. Every choice comes with a lengthy list of pros and cons and fears and anxieties. So how do you make “the right” choice? How can you trust your gut after it’s been injected with various hormones and medications? How can you not be blinded by hope and yet still be hopeful? How can you know your statistical chances of success and still believe you can find that promised “one good egg”?

I’m not totally sure, but my husband and I have worked out a system and a way of thinking about these things that has helped us stay on track while taking breaks when we needed them.

The first thing we decided, back when we started this seemingly never-ending journey to build our family, is that there is no such thing as a “right” choice. We do our best. I often think of it as the “right now” choice. At every stage of our process, we’ve been presented with some options. We have to weigh the physical, emotional, and financial cost of each choice, pick something and move forward. The choices we have made, from multiple inseminations to IVF to donor eggs, have not resulted in the desired outcome. In retrospect, we could argue that perhaps we didn’t make “the right” choice. But we don’t think about that. We don’t look back, we don’t regret, we don’t blame anyone. We know that much of infertility is based on chance or luck or the stars aligning, and that there are no guarantees. And we know that we have made the best choice we could in the moment.

The second thing we do was listen to each other. I am always wanting to push ahead. Noah often compares me to the pit crew of a NASCAR driver. I can change a tire and get the vehicle zooming off in record-breaking speed. But sometimes it’s smarter to take a step back, fully assess the situation, then proceed with caution. Noah and I agreed that if one of us doesn’t feel ready to move forward, that we wait. We are a team, and if the gut instinct of half the team feels a time out is necessary, than we do it. We listen to each other, talk to each other, and agree to the next step.

The third thing we do is an appropriate amount of research (notice I wrote appropriate and not overwhelming amount) and weigh the positives and negatives of each choice. We create an organized list of priorities, factor in what my body can handle, and divide it by the financial cost and see what we can come up with. It’s not an exact equation, but it does help us look at all the details closely.

Making infertility-related decisions is never easy. There’s a lot at stake. Hopefully you can remind yourself and your partner that you’re both doing the best you can and that everything is a step in your journey. And that one day, hopefully soon, you’ll get to make more exciting decisions, like baby names and stroller colors.

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