Becoming a Grandparent is said to be one of the greatest joys in life. It is the time in life when you get to truly enjoy the miracle of young life, without the responsibility of being the provider and disciplinarian. It is also the time that you get to watch your own children fall in love with their children. But what if fertility issues prevent that from happening? Instead of watching their children thrive as parents, potential Grandparents watch their children suffer through the heartache of infertility.
Conceiving has never been hard for me. I have conceived naturally seven times and appreciated the miracle each time. However, staying pregnant was not so easy. My first child was premature, and my second pregnancy ended in a devastating miscarriage. My husband and I were heartbroken, and my son was devastated. The baby we lost would have been a first Grandbaby for my in-laws (they came into my son’s life well past the baby years), and I know it was hard on them too, especially because they had to watch us suffer the loss. When we conceived again, I was given early ultrasounds to give me peace of mind and to make sure everything was okay. I had extra tests done to ensure the pregnancy was progressing well, and had I needed a cerclage to maintain the pregnancy, that would have been provided too. Since they could find no conclusive medical reason for my losses, the additional ultrasounds and tests were not a medical necessity, yet they were still provided to me because my doctor knew that is what I needed to relax and have a healthy baby in the end. I made it through this pregnancy with a full term healthy baby boy, I’m sure in part to the care I was given. I had two more losses over the years, and two more challenging pregnancies where I received the care I needed to give our parents two more grandchildren.
For many people, getting pregnant is not possible without some intervention like in vitro fertilization. Unfortunately, IVF comes with a hefty price tag and it isn’t a possibility for everyone. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to know that your child’s only chance at conceiving is through IVF, a procedure that they can’t afford. For those who can come up with the $10,000+ to attempt IVF, there is no guarantee of it’s success. The cost combined with the odds leads people to risk implanting multiple embryos, and as a result there is a higher percentage of multiple pregnancies, preterm births and disabilities. Wouldn’t it be great if couples who required IVF had the same degree of funded health care that I had through my pregnancies? If IVF was publicly funded, they could regulate the number of embryos implanted and ultimately reduce the number of multiple births that lead to so many other complications.
It’s Grandparent’s Day today, and I would like to take a moment to recognize all of the Grandparents out there who have watched their children deal with infertility. Follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter and the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support Provincial funding for IVF. Every person deserves the right to be a parent without the financial burden of IVF, and all parents should have the joy of being Grandparents.