The Loss of my Infertility doesn’t Define Me- Ariane LeChevalier- Huffington Post

Last year, I was devastated by the loss of a pregnancy. I was 36 at the time, and we had just gotten married in front of 180 of our closest friends and family in Portland, Ore. We were able to conceive very quickly, which was exciting and unexpected given my age. However, at 12 weeks, things took a turn for the worst and after several weeks of complications, we lost the pregnancy.

Months passed as I mourned the loss of what could have been. I packed up all my maternity clothes, books and CDs and hid them in the back of my closet, blocked friends on Facebook who were having babies and tried to move on. But as the months went on, I wasn’t getting better. I tried to go off of anti-depressants, and then quickly realized my body was struggling to process the grief. I was also dealing with the grief differently than my husband, and felt frustrated that I wasn’t bouncing back like I knew I probably should.

It wasn’t until my due date came and passed that I was able to really start healing. At age 37, I knew my window for having a healthy baby was getting smaller and it was time to pull myself back together. So, I went back on anti-depressants, went on vacation, made an appointment with a fertility specialist and braced myself for bad news.

After several rounds of tests, I learned that I have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR). I had very abnormal AMH and FSH levels, only nine follicles, an indicator of how many eggs I could produce, and my chances of conceiving naturally and having a healthy pregnancy were very small. I was devastated. My fertility had been stolen from me. I felt like after all the years of trying to not get pregnant, the moment I decided to try, things went terribly wrong.

I tried to explain it to my husband that losing the ability to reproduce made me feel like I had been stripped of the one beautiful gift that Mother Nature had given exclusively to women. Deep down–in some irrational place–I also feared that my husband would feel tricked and cheated.

I am surrounded by fertile women and really big families (I was raised Mormon, my husband Catholic). On my dad’s side, my great-grandmother had my grandmother at age 43, my grandma had my aunt at age 43 and my aunt had her daughter at age 43. On my mother’s side, my grandmother had my mother at age 42 and my aunt had her last of eight children at age 42.

How on earth could I be infertile? What could I have done differently? Why did I wait so long to have kids? Why didn’t I live a healthier lifestyle? Should I have frozen my eggs (which, by the way is very expensive)?

In the end, my doctors recommended we go straight to in-vitro fertilization (IVF). While I had heard stories of women successfully conceiving with IVF, I was overwhelmed by the fact that my body had failed me, how much it was going to cost, how my body would react and whether all of this would be for naught.

Since learning of my diagnosis, I knew I had to do something to take care of myself and get through this. I started going to acupuncture once a week, which is really good for fertility, changed my diet to mostly organic, went on a strong cocktail of vitamin supplements, essentially stopped drinking caffeine, turned our spare room into a yoga studio, taught myself how to meditate and have a wonderful therapist who practices mindfulness-based stress reduction.

The loss of my fertility is not going to define me. I do not want people to feel bad for me. I don’t want people to question why I need to do IVF because I got pregnant so quickly the first time. I don’t need questions about everything we have tried. I don’t want people to avoid bringing their kids around me (remember, I want my own kids, not yours). I don’t want to hear about how there are millions of kids who need to be adopted (trust me, I’ll really understand that!) And I do not wish to hear the term “IVF baby” — it’s just a baby.

I also know that no one is ever going to say the right thing to me. I’ve decided to just know that they are well intentioned and they luckily don’t have to know what it’s like to go through.

Regardless of what happens, I know that we are going to be wonderful parents. Things might just look a little different.

I start my first IVF cycle in two weeks and remain very cautiously optimistic. All I can do is give my body up to my doctors and know I am in good hands. The rest will just have to figure itself out.

Ontario to Cover In Vitro Fertilization- Toronto Star

After years of pressure, Ontario has agreed to help infertile women under 43 get pregnant by paying for in vitro fertilization — but patients will still have to cover the cost of expensive drugs.
The new coverage will take effect in December at a cost of $50 million a year to taxpayers, providing one cycle of IVF to about 4,000 women annually regardless of sexual and gender orientation or family status.
That means singles, surrogates and same-sex couples will be eligible.
“Infertility is a serious medical issue,” Health Minister Eric Hoskins, a physician and father, said at an east-end child care centre Thursday, noting that families now come in many forms.
“It’s impossible to describe the joy that having a child brings to your life.”
Until now, Ontario has helped fund IVF only for women with blocked fallopian tubes.
Advocates said the new policy, which makes Ontario the only province outside Quebec to cover IVF treatments, will save many parents from deeper debt.
“There is an incredible cost,” said Sandra Alsaffawi-David of the IVF advocacy group Conceivable Dreams, who spoke of parents raiding RRSPs and running up credit cards to pay for treatments and medications to make the mother’s body receptive to the eggs.
About half of fertility problems involve men who have difficulties such as low sperm motility, she added.
One cycle of IVF costs about $10,000, with drugs adding thousands of dollars to the tab and sometimes hitting 40 per cent of the total cost, although the medicines are covered by some employer drug plans. One woman told the Star the bill for her first child was $30,000.
“IVF will remain a dream for some people because they can’t afford it,” said New Democrat MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt), her party’s health critic.
Nevertheless, she and others hailed the provincial coverage for IVF as a step forward despite concerns in some circles about the age limit and lack of restrictions.
“It’s the right thing to do, it’s good public health,” said Kerry Bowman of Mount Sinai Hospital and a bioethicist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
“There are so many people out there having fertility trouble,” added Jeff Yurek, a Progressive Conservative MPP (Elgin-Middlesex-London).
Hoskins said the age limit was set following recommendations from an expert advisory panel.
“Once you pass the age of 43 the likelihood of success drops significantly,” he told reporters, defending the new spending at a time when opposition parties are criticizing the government for cuts to doctors’ pay and hospital nursing layoffs.
“The justification is to my right,” Hoskins said, pointing to toddlers playing on rocking horses and tiny slides.
Bowman warned the government could face a court challenge on the age limit, predicting “people are going to push back.”
Amir Attaran, a University of Ottawa scientist and law professor who was on the advisory panel, said the age limit could have been set lower to improve conception rates and provide better value for tax dollars.
“Would it be smarter to lower the age and give more people the opportunity? There really isn’t a right choice. This is a judgment call,” said Attaran, who also called on the government to pressure fertility drug companies for lower prices.
He and Bowman noted the odds against conception are extremely tough for the severely obese and questioned why specific limits weren’t set.
IVF in Ontario
By the numbers
$50 billion
Ontario’s annual health budget
$50 million
The budget for IVF treatment each year
Number of women to be helped annually through the IVF program
The IVF program’s age restriction
30 per cent
Typical cost of one cycle of IVF
2 per cent
Rate of IVF live births in Ontario
1 in 6
Ratio of families with fertility problems

However, the eligibility rules state women must speak to their doctor “to determine if IVF is the most appropriate family-building option,” which Bowman said may be a “code” to get around setting more stringent criteria.
Attaran said the program must be closely audited to make sure physicians are not giving patients “false hope” and called for this to be done by the Ontario Health Quality Council and not the self-regulatory body for doctors, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Hoskins said the government will now start negotiations with the 18 private fertility clinics in the province to pave the way for the program to start in two months.
It is open to Ontario residents with valid OHIP cards, but will be billed to clinics directly, not through the provincial health insurance plan.
Patients who are approved will be entitled to one cycle of treatment, defined as the retrieval of an egg or eggs, and the one-at-a-time transfer of all viable embryos to provide multiple chances for a pregnancy to develop.
This method, known as the “single embryo transfer” is designed to avoid the higher risks and health-care costs associated with multiple births of twins, triplets or more.
In Quebec, single embryo transfers reduced multiple births from 30 per cent to five per cent, Hoskins said.
Complications from multiple births include earlier deliveries, premature babies who sometimes land in neo-natal intensive care, potential development issues and longer hospital stays, along with greater susceptibility to illnesses like cerebral palsy.
It’s hoped that reducing multiple births will help offset the costs of offering the IVF treatments.