Other Options

So what do you do when IVF fails? Try again...and again...and again...and...what do you do when IVF fails repeatedly? You start looking at options. Mikael and Jennifer had many conversations similar to this one...

Options are for losers…naturally

“So what do we do if it doesn’t work?” Jennifer asked in the middle of an episode of Friends.

“What doesn’t work?”


“Of course it will work. We are trying a different drug. I’m sure that’ll work better than the last one.”

“But what if there is something wrong with my eggs? What if they’re not good quality?”

“That’ll just make us the perfect couple; Mutant sperm and mutant eggs. Imagine the kids we’ll get!”

“It’s not funny!”

“There are other things we can do. We can adopt, we can get a donor egg; there are plenty of things we can do. You’ve told me so yourself.”

“Well, yes. Would you want to use a donor egg?”

“Hell, yeah. We could use donor sperm, donor egg and a surrogate mother too. And why not hire a couple that can raise the kid while we’re at it…”

“I’m serious.”

And she was. To me using an egg donor seemed like such a drastic step. At the same time, IVF in itself was a drastic step. Once you start down the road of assisted conception, the term slowly lost its meaning until pretty much anything was acceptable as long as you reached the goal.

It was important to keep track of the end goal, else it was easy to lose track of the real intent - to start a family, not to make copies of ourselves. And with that firmly in mind, we started discussing donor eggs in earnest. Jennifer even discussed it with a few of her close friends, who immediately agreed to donate eggs to us. This unexpected development made us think even harder about the possibility. We weren’t going to accept the offers, however flattering it was that they’d willingly put themselves through the hardship of IVF for us, or perhaps they didn’t really understand the consequences of their offer. It was flattering nonetheless.

Jennifer spoke to Sydney IVF about the possibility, but while they listened and came with advice, they also thought that she was a bit too negative. It was usually only luck if you managed to have a baby the first cycle, and that we should try at least two more times before looking into egg donation as an option.

Sydney IVF didn’t have a bank of eggs you could choose from. If you actually wanted to go through with a donor egg, the first part would be to advertise and find a donor. This, I thought, was extremely unfair. You can buy sperm from super athletes and Nobel-prize winners on the web, but when it came to eggs it all of a sudden was much harder. Didn’t women take the procreation of the species seriously? Or was it just men who found it really exciting to jerk of in plastic cups?[1]

Donor egg was a pretty unexplored area for me. What happened if the child found out and wanted to meet their biological mother, like adopted children seemed to do more and more? Would you tell a child that it was from a donor egg in the first place? I didn’t know the answers to those questions and in many ways I hoped I’d never find out.

Adoption was the other obvious option. That didn’t seem especially attractive. Friends of ours had gone through a two-year ordeal to get their child from Korea. It felt like a long time, since we weren’t even up to a year yet. I guess that changes, as with many other things as you get more and more desperate.

During the next couple of weeks, waiting to try IVF again, worry made any alternative worthy of consideration. At the end we thought kidnapping the neighbour’s kid felt like an acceptable solution.

[1] That’s one of many questions I know I’ll never get answered. But I’ve got it on the backburner if I ever happen to meet a Nobel-prize winner. That’ll be a big change from the ordinary questions those guys get asked, I’m sure.