Christmas is geared to children and families. Every holiday movie shows happy families, the commercials are full of children opening gifts, the flyers keep arriving packed with the hottest toys and cutest baby equipment, and each mall hosts it’s own Santa with an adorable line up of children waiting to sit on his knee. Its adorable and festive…by maybe less so if you desperately want children of your own and you have been unable to conceive. Then Christmas becomes a time when you are constantly reminded of what you don’t have.
Christmas can also be a difficult time financially. I know many people struggle with how to get their children the gifts that they want, and it is human nature to vent about the cost and how difficult it is to make ends meet during the holidays. But for the couple who have already spent tens of thousands of dollars on in-vitro fertilization, these casual remarks can seem thoughtless and uncaring.
I have a friend who dealt with infertility for many years. I asked her what the holidays were like for her before she had her daughter (she is now a Mom of a little girl thanks to a successful IVF). She said that the hardest part was listening to friends and family complain about the cost of gifts for the kids, and say they dreaded the upcoming vacation time at home with their children. She knows they love their children, but she would have given anything to be able to spend two weeks home with her children and spoil them with expensive toys. Now that she has a daughter, she remembers to enjoy every moment and each holiday, while seeing it all through her daughter’s eyes. She feels that most parents take parenting for granted, and while they love and appreciate their children, they forget how lucky they are to be parents. I think it’s true that she is probably more aware of how blessed she is than parents who had no fertility issues.
Because of the expense of IVF, and the high failure rates, many couples will transfer several embryos in one IVF cycle in hopes of a successful pregnancy or possibly twins. This can be a risky practice.
Pregnancies created from the transfer of multiple embryos are 17 times more likely to result in a pre-term birth, are more likely to require a caesarean birth, and the infants are more likely to need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives. Quebec instituted the one-embryo-at-a-time policy to help reduce the risks, thereby reducing the costs associated with multiple transfers. Supporters of broader IVF coverage advocate the cost savings and/or health benefits to the government, the intended parents as well as the surrogate mother. A study by Dr. Keith Barrington and colleagues from the University of Montreal has reported that Quebec has experienced a decrease in twins from 27% to 5% in the first 6 months of government funding.
Follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. Everyone deserves the chance to be a parent and experience Christmas through a child’s eyes.I am writing this as a member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and I have been compensated for this post. My opinions are my own.