• Fri, Feb 14 - 11:00 am ET

A Valentine’s Day Gift to My Frozen Embryo

157567818For Valentine’s Day, my husband and I aren’t getting a babysitter and going out for a fancy dinner, instead, we are paying the five hundred dollar storage fee to keep our embryo in deep freeze for another year.

Our embryo has a first name. They don’t name the embryos at the storage facility; that would be creepy. No, I gave the embryo a name all on my own. An embryo we ultimately may decide to donate to science. So yeah, not creepy at all…

Let me back up a little. Because we loved each other, and knew we wanted to make a life together, my soon to be husband and I decided we should make a baby right away. But mostly we decided to make a baby right away because we were old as fuck.

After trying the old fashioned way to make a baby failed, we moved on to more unorthodox methods- not in the butt; that totally doesn’t work no matter what anybody tells you. I charted my basal body temperature, went on a PH balancing diet, swallowed all sorts of expensive fertility vitamins, underwent acupuncture for fertility, practiced yoga for fertility, chanted a mantra for fertility and cried alone in the bathtub for fertility. No matter, none of these extra curriculums succeeded in getting me knocked up, but they did give my antidepressants a run for their money.

We learned through our fertility investigating that I was perfectly fertile and that our main issue, aside from my “advanced maternal age,” (FUUUUCK OFF) was male factor infertility. It wasn’t that my husband didn’t have any sperm; he had at least ten sperm that could swim. People love to say, “it only takes one.” Those people are bullshit liars. You need somewhere around fifteen million. Ideally.

After talking through the options with my OB, we decided to try something called an IUI. Short for Intrauterine Insemination, the IUI is a fairly simple procedure and way cheaper than IVF. We tried this four times, over four consecutive months. Each attempt was an epic failure and instead of blaming my husband’s uncooperative sperm, I totally blamed myself. I am woman; hear me roar (ROAR=Sob into glass of wine).

We were done screwing around, it was time to bring in the big guns: IVF. Here’s a very basic explanation of IVF. If you want actual medical information talk to your OB, a fertility doctor or literally anyone else, but don’t rely on the writer of basic cable gems like, “Hollywood’s Hottest Cougar Tales,” and “Killer Karaoke,” for accurate medical information. First we took all of our money and gave it to the Fertility Clinic. They let you do it in chunks to give you the illusion that it’s not all of your money, but trust me; it’s definitely all of your money. The IVF drugs arrived at our doorstep in a giant cardboard box, carefully packed in ice. I cried when I opened the box but that was the last crying I would do for the next few weeks as the daily hormone injections made me feel pretty great. We trekked to Beverly Hills every few days so our fertility doctor could track my body’s progress. They wanted to make sure I was producing lots of big fat healthy eggs, but that I didn’t accidentally hatch my eggs early. And, of course, there’s a host of other things that can go wrong that I won’t get into here because as stated previously, basic cable writer.

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  • Megan Zander

    I want to give this article all the <3. Our stories are very similar, only I have 8 in cryo freeze and no idea what to do with them. Love your description of the IFV process, so spot on!

    • ElleJai

      What, you don’t want to be the next Octomom?!

      In all seriousness, I’m not too sure how I’d handle it. On the one hand I can’t have 8 extra kids, on another hand I don’t want anyone else having my kids, and on yet another hand (I’m a mutant) to me they’d feel like babies. In short, good luck whichever way you decide is right for your family and I’m sure you’ll arrive at the best decision for you xx

    • Drstephaniedvm

      Yes this! My story is also super similar except my twins are 2 1/2 and both girls and I have 6 frozen embryos of unknown gender :-)

    • Kristine Kimmel

      Thank you Megan!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne
    • Surly Canuck

      Aww I miss offbeatfamilies… and I remember this article! I didn’t know that was you!

    • Kristine Kimmel

      Just read your story- beautifully written. Also, yes, we are the same person.

    • Momma425

      I just have to say- you ladies are both so amazing. Actually anyone who has been through IVF because I can’t imagine going through that or having to make hard decisions like that.

      Best of luck to you, in whatever your choice may be.

  • Crusty Socks

    You know, when your twins start going out of control, see if there’s a plan where you can freeze them, unfreeze the embryo baby and hope that child’s an upgrade

  • Bethany Ramos

    Wow, this is so very interesting! I’m not well-versed in IVF, but I did not know that you could find out the gender in advance. I think that knowing that it is a girl puts a whole different spin on things. I would feel the same way that you do, picturing having a little girl right alongside with my other children. I’m so happy that your IVF was a success and that you have your twins. Best of luck in the decision-making process!!

    • Guest

      I thought that part was really interesting too. It would feel really different (to me) thinking about my potential son/daughter that I could be having down the road or donating. Crazy!

    • Fondue

      They can find out the sex if they do the genetic testing before implanting the embryo. My doctor, who just today suggested we move from IUI to IVF (happy fuckin’ Valentine’s Day to me), also suggested genetic testing due to the number of miscarriages I’ve had. *pours more wine*

    • Bethany Ramos

      Oh, man frustrating!! Have a good holiday. <333

    • Kristine Kimmel

      Oh, I’m sorry your IUI’s weren’t successful. I guess you know I was right where you are. It sucks- no doubt about it. Our third IUI fail was the day before our wedding. I was driving to pick up the flowers and I had to pull the car over, I was crying so hard. I’m so sorry, that you’re in this place. I don’t get into this as much in the piece, but aside from the cost, I didn’t mind IVF, the actual experience itself was pretty positive. GOOD LUCK. DRINK LOTS OF WINE TONIGHT GIRL!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kristine Kimmel

      Thank you Bethany. In a standard IVF, you don’t know the gender, but we did genetic embryo testing (where they remove a single cell and test for genetic abnormalities), it costs more, but it means much higher success rates since most miscarriages are due to genetic abnormalities. Anyway, that test also reveal gender, which we elected to find out. And yes, it does make it feel more emotional! Thank you!

  • Angela Brown

    It’s literally like you crawled into my brain and took notes. We’ve got two on ice and exactly zero clue what to do. Science experiment numero uno is now a gorgeous, amazing 7 month old boy that we can’t imagine our lives without but every time I get our weekly tuition withdrawal email or he starts shrieking at 5 am, it’s like….can we really start over once we’re no longer paying for daycare and he’s sleeping past dawn? CAN WE?!!! More often than not I feel like we should count our (abundant) blessings with this little guy and move on, but when you see what beautiful little people they become it’s incredibly difficult.

    • Nica

      DO IT! DO IT! We had the same feelings after our #1. We finally said, “What the hell? It’s now or never” when our first child was 2 and we proceeded with an FET with embryos left from our successful cycle. I transferred ONE embryo (we definitely did NOT want a twin pregnancy) and that resulted in our 2nd beautiful son 40 weeks later. I can’t imagine life any other way. The change was cataclysmic, I won’t lie. But, after about three months, everything just kind of fell into place and there is nothing more heartwarming than watching my 2 boys just be brothers – playing, hugging, laughing. I”m so happy we threw caution to the wind and just went for it!

    • Kristine Kimmel

      I know right? Congrats on number one!

  • JulySheWillFly

    We didn’t get any to freeze. Sometimes it feels like a blessing not to have to make any decisions. Sometimes I feel cursed that I have to go through a cycle again if we want another child.

    Every aspect of this process is weighted with so many emotions. Anger, sadness, hope, guilt… I hope you find the answer that is best for your family.

    • Kristine Kimmel

      Well said. Thank you for sharing.

  • mando

    I’m so happy that ivf worked for you

  • Nica

    Embryo donation is also another option to consider. There are many couples who are unable to create embryos with their own egg and sperm and are looking to adopt frozen embryos. Miracles Waiting and Nightlight Adoptions are good places to find out more…
    Tough decision though – so very many things to consider. Most couples don’t consider the leftover embryos when starting this journey and I feel that RE’s really kind of gloss over it.

    • AlexMMR

      Our clinic made us fill out pages and pages of forms determining our wishes for any remaining embryos in all sorts of scenarios. Custody in case of divorce, what should happen if we both die, etc etc. I also think most people who are doing IVF are aware of the various options since they have looked into being the recipient of donations should their own IVF attempts fail. I don’t think it’s glossed over at all.

      I was certain I would donate to another couple until I actually had my girls and now I just can’t do it. As much as I want to be that generous, I can’t.

  • Debbie Mathews

    Love this (especially the Fuck You’s to the AMA comments!)

    • Fondue

      That’s pretty much what goes through my mind when my AMA is mentioned.

  • Molly

    Bring your baby girl into this world! :)

  • BW2

    Glad to see Mommyish discussing more fertility issues! It effects more of us than people would think.

  • Snarktopus

    “Especially given her genetic disposition for anxiety, depression, and being German.”
    I love that line.

  • AlexMMR

    We are in exactly the same place! I have 4 embryos on ice and two 20 month toddlers running around my house. Every day I wonder if we’re going to try for a third.

    I initially wanted to donate to another couple when we were done, but after seeing how much one of my girls looks like me and the other looks like her father, I just can’t fathom the idea of one of those little faces belonging to another family. I’m a traitor to the infertile community.

    Every day I wonder what we’re going to do with those extras. My body has regulated to actually having a cycle for the first time in my life after my pregnancy, but that doesn’t change my husbands side of the equation so a surprise addition to the family is highly unlikely. And we would like a third (but not a fourth, we can’t do twins again!), but we don’t necessarily desperately want a third. We want to be like any other normal couple who is open to whichever outcome fate provides but we don’t get to do that. We actually have to make real choices.

    What I really want to do is to simply thaw them one at a time at the right moment in my cycle and then let the little bugger decide whether or not it wants to hang around without me forcing it to grow with massive hormones, medication, and wishing. Give them a chance to make it and if they don’t want to, the most natural disposal possible. I’m not sure any clinic will just do a transfer without all the rigmarole though.

    • Me

      I have heard of natural FET cycles. Research it. Good luck to you and I hope you find a clinic that does it.
      I am a traitor like you, I have 2 on ice and don’t want to donate to science or another couple. If those little potential ankle-biters are going to drive anyone crazy, it will be me. I also want to hoard all of the smiles, kisses, and hugs too.

    • Kristine Kimmel

      Thanks for sharing Alex, everything you say makes total sense. You should find a clinic that will let you do that, I’m sure it exists. Good luck to you!

  • Jaci

    @alexmmr:disqus There is also something called a “compassionate transfer” in which the embryos are transferred to you at a point where you are unlikely to conceive. That being said, I have two couples in my circle of friends who are adopting frozen embryos and trying to conceive that way, and they are very grateful for the families who chose to help them. You can chose the level of interaction/anonymity as well just as in a traditional/open adoption…