Usually it's only the people who come out beaming on the other side, with a baby on one hip, who speak up about in vitro fertilization. We never hear from those whom IVF has failed—it's too crushing to talk about. We don't hear from men and women in the middle of treatment, either. Our culture doesn't seem to know how to deal with people before we've figured out if they're successful or not. People like me.
In November 2008, I had my first IVF workup. In 2009, I had a laparoscopy, two egg retrievals and a canceled cycle. In 2010, three retrievals, two embryo transfers and a hysteroscopy. In 2011, two retrievals, and a transfer to come. That's eight times under general anesthesia in two and a half years.* * *
For the IVF drugs to have a chance of working, I have to administer them at the same time each day. I've shot up furtively in my office, in restaurants and in my car. It makes me feel like a badly behaved chauffeur. More than two years into IVF treatments, I've grown accustomed to this stealth. It's become a fact of my life.
Here's another fact: I'm a single woman in my early 40s. The odds of getting pregnant are conspicuously slim. For a woman my age, according to the American Pregnancy Association, the chance of having a baby via IVF is between 6% and 10%. That number decreases with every failed attempt, so now my odds are even lower.