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...and selfish to want to use my frozen embryos at age 42?

(45 Posts)
raffyandted Sat 25-Jul-09 00:08:28

Ok,I know that this is a biggie (potentialy life changing and all that)and ultimately only me and DH can make the decision. But feel i need some opinions from completely impartial people who don't know me & therefore can't let their own emotions/opinions of me get in the way.

Basically, we had DS (nearly four)by IVF. We were incredibly lucky that it worked first time. We also had 5 embryos that were good enough quality to be frozen, these are kept by the hospital for 5 years max. The hospital have started writing to us, asking us what we wish to do with them i.e "let them perish" or use them to try for another child.
At the time became pregnant with DS, i never thought any further than whether or not the IVF would work, never mind whether I'd want any more. But I find that lately i can't stop thinking about the embryos, and hating the idea of them 'perishing' and hating that DS will be an only child & that i'll never have another child of my own to love as much as I do him.
If I put my feelings aside, there are LOADS of reasons why having another baby might be a mistake:
My age (42...i feel it!)
I had terrible PND after DS & still take anti-depressants..it may happen again.
Money...would have to get a loan just to afford the treatment.
Lack of space...another child would mean a bigger house eventually & we can't afford to move.
DH says he he doesn't think we would last through another three years like we had first time (I was terrible with the PND, took an overdose when DS was about 6 months)
and didn't really become vaguely 'normal' till about a year ago.

If all these obsacles weren't there, both DH & I would love another child. Problem is despite all the obstacles, I can't bear the thought of giving up my only chance for another child, whereas DH can. And I secretly resent him for it, even though I know he is being sensible & trying to do what's best for the three of us.

The only time I tried to talk to my sister & my mum about how I feel, they looked at me as if I was mad to even contemplate another child. I know I am probably being selfish, but part of me wants to say 'sod it!' to all the practical things & just do it. Life is precious & if it worked we'd have the miracle of another child & a sibling for DS.

Sorry this is such a long post. I would really like to know what you think.

LaurieFairyCake Sat 25-Jul-09 00:16:16

Difficult one.

Would you consider adopting or fostering? both ways to avoid pregnancy and pnd.

If not, then is there a chance its about the embryos? - I'm sure letting go would be very hard.

If they weren't there would you be looking for other ways to increase your family?

mumblechum Sat 25-Jul-09 00:18:56

Hmm, is one of the main reasons that you want to provide a sibling? Because if so and in my experience, a 5 year gap (minimum) produces two children who are essentially onlies, they're too far apart to be real playmates.

Personally I think if I'd been such severe PND as you have, I wouldn't be contemplating it.

Sorry but you wanted honest answers!

nickschick Sat 25-Jul-09 00:26:52

I think sometimes you just have to be thankful for what you do have and the possibilities of trying for another may well result in success but equally the financial burdens may prove to be very difficult for your health and indeed with your dc1-I know its not easy to think like this but those embryos arent definitelt viable babies and you have a lot to lose.

Maybe you just need to think you are blessed with your dc1,your relationship has survived a heck of a lot of a struggle and for your own health and the security of your family unit you have to draw a line and think 1 baby was a blessing I nearly didnt have.

seeker Sat 25-Jul-09 00:27:58

I don't know about the PND and all the other issues you are facing, but I can tell you that I had my ds when I was 44, and he is 5 years younger than his big sister. They are now 13 and 8, and they have always had a wonderful relationship. They are friends, they do lots of stuff together - yes it's a big age gap but so far it works. In some ways they can do more stuff together, they can go off on their own for a bike ride or a sail and I know that dd is old enough to be in charge, So, at least, don't let your age or the age gap stop you.

raffyandted Sat 25-Jul-09 00:29:09

Prior to having DS, both DH & I would not have considered adoption. Now, I think I would consider adoption, but DH won't. I think part of it is that it's so hard to have to take the decision to let your own embryos 'perish' as the hospital calls it. I never used to think of embryos as potential children before all this, just a bunch of cells. But I also never thought I would yearn for another child when I already had one. It's bizarre that I want another MORE than I wanted DS in the first place! Despite how awful the PND was.

I also sometimes think it's partly about (subconciously) wanting a second chance to 'prove' I can be a good mum. I think I feel guilty that when I was ill I wanted someone to take DS away, and now I love him so much & have more confidence sbout coping with a baby, maybe I just want to have another chance to do it right.

I also think that I think too much!

sleeplessinstretford Sat 25-Jul-09 00:30:22

a friend of mine had severe PND and took AD's in the run up to her second and third births with no problems.
There are other issues re money but you know what? nobody has everything perfectly in place-if you had the money and could avoid the pnd and would still want another then then you should certainly have a go i think. i never thought i'd have another baby-had an almost 13 year age gap with mine-got no money-but wouldn't be without our little snoop dogg (or 'baby clara' as she's officially known) only you and your DH know what you can cope with but with drugs you might be ok.

Gingerbear Sat 25-Jul-09 00:34:34

I had DS at 44 after having clomid and almost 4 yrs of anxiety over never having another child.
42 - you will be fine!

thaliablogs Sat 25-Jul-09 00:36:02

The fact you know what PND is like means you should be able to nip it in the bud next time by treating early, and possibly starting anti-ds prophylactically, even during pregnancy. Do you read Dooce (www.dooce.com)? She signed herself into hospital with PND with her first daughter, and this time has had no issues by treating early. It is possible, history does not need to repeat itself.

Re cost, I'm sure you know FETs are much cheaper than fresh cycles. Your clinic may have funding options, it's worth asking.

Re storage to relieve the immediate pressure, is it possible to renew for another 5 years? My understanding is that the max is 10 years but teh HFEA site doesn't seem to say when you can store for 10 and when for just 5.

If you can manage to agree that you will use these 5 and then stop, I don't think what happened with the post-natal period should put you off, it's completley possible to avoid it and the potential benefits if you are keen otherwise on another child are dramatic. I imagine just getting these 5 was hard work (did 3 years of infertility and 5 cycles myself), and this way you will avoid some of that tension and drama you had the first time. Just had DS, I am 42 and had DD when I was 40.

Hang in there, there is a solution to this.

raffyandted Sat 25-Jul-09 00:39:54

Yes, I know what you mean about the age gap Mumblechum. I'm the youngest of three, my sister is 6 years older than me, my brother 11 years older & when I was younger I always thought that when I had children I wouldn't want such big gaps between them.
Unfortunatel i never expected to be having my first child at 37 ( I was 27 when we first started trying) and if it hadn't been for the PND I think we'd have used the remaining embryos pretty quickly.

I guess I would like DS to have a sibling more for when he is older than now. I have this rather maudlin image of him in 30 years time having to cope alone with two elderly parents. I don't know how I'd cope with mine at the moment if I didn't have my sister to 'share' them with, and even though we fought like cat and dog as children, I love her dearly & we are close.

skybright Sat 25-Jul-09 00:44:13

42...Not to old IMO.

Money...if most of us debated the money factor we would have an awful small population.

Room...I take it you have a two bedroom house,no problem with siblings sharing.

PND,..I think this is the major one,i would ask to be referred to your local perinatal team as soon as you are pregnant.It sounds like you had an awful time and i can understand your families fears on this score but you will know what signs to look out for and hopefully what works best for you,if and i do mean if PND returns.

Siblings..I think it is great for children to have siblings,no matter the age gap,i have a 14 year old an 11 year old and a 1 year old.

I think you should go for it.

raffyandted Sat 25-Jul-09 00:49:16

Thank you allfor your opinions, it is really helpful to read them.
Thalia blogs, re: the storage, as far as my hospital is concerened they will only store for longer than 5 years if there are exceptional circumstances. I don't think storing them for longer would make much difference to be honest, I really wouldn't want to be trying when I am any older than I am now.
If we did use the embryos, that would be it...one thing DH & I still agree on is that we wouldn't want to go through any more full IVF cycles. I decided that even before I knew DS was on the way, and I still feel the same. If the frozen embryos didn't work out (and the chances are high that they wouldn't) then that would be it.

raffyandted Sat 25-Jul-09 00:59:27

Skybright, yes those are the things I tell myself when I'm thinking that we should go for it. Have discussed it with my GP who said that it's OK to take the ADs that I'm currently on during pregnancy & that the very fact I am now known to be at risk means that I would be monitered closely. So in a peverse sort of way I might actually be LESS likely to develop PND 2nd time round than other mums.
But then I also know tha nickchick is right as well...I have so much to be grateful for already, I should accept what I have and not risk it....

Maybe it's just the idea of never knowing whether it could have worked if I don't try.

I'm still thinking too much. I wish I was a man.

saggyhairyarse Sat 25-Jul-09 09:00:48

I don't know much about PND but are you at an increased risk to it because you had it last time?

Because you have had it before, would you get more support from family/HV/Dr etc?

Would you be more likely to identify it earlier and get better treatment because you would recognise the signs?

Personally I think you need to look into how you would manage with DS, a baby and PND but that is not to say you shouldn't try for another baby.

Another option if not using the embryos yourself is to find out if you can donate them to patients having fertility treatment. My friend did an egg sharing scheme where she paid for someones IVF and they shared their eggs with her so it might be an option to consider?

MarshaBrady Sat 25-Jul-09 09:18:35

At least you are aware of the pnd and how bad it was. The problem with it the first time is that it tends to blindside you and makes it difficult to get help.
This time set up a stronger support structure beforehand. There are midwife groups set up to help you from conception and will monitor your progress.

Don't worry about the size of the house or age gap, a sibling can always offer something to the fb.
If you feel more confident with the support I'd say go for it.
Would you consider donating other embryos?

jemart Sat 25-Jul-09 09:42:33

Sounds like you kind of feel your little family is incomplete?
I have no experience of what is involved with IVF treatment but as you have gone through it before, if you feel you can deal with all the medical stuff again then I reckon you should go for it.
Babies are brilliant and totally worth it.

ninedragons Sat 25-Jul-09 09:47:02

I can only say what I'd do in your situation.

I'd try to find the money if I possibly could and have at least one, if not two implanted. I'd be fatalist about it - if it resulted in a pregnancy, wonderful. If it didn't, it wasn't meant to be.

The house and the money and everything else I think you just have to take the approach that you'll make it work.

MrsMuddle Sat 25-Jul-09 10:15:25

I'd do exactly the same as ninedragons. I think if you don't at least try, you'll be haunted by "what ifs?".

motherinferior Sat 25-Jul-09 10:22:26

I wouldn't let the age issue worry you, sweetie.

msled Sat 25-Jul-09 10:26:50

42 really isn't old at all. I would think being prepared for PND would be very helpful in getting treatment. Could you 'fund' your treatment by donating embryos to another woman or is that not something you could consider? Have you found out how much the treatment would cost?
I think gaps between siblings can work very well - much less jealousy - and in adulthood five or six years difference really is nothing.

screamifyouwannagofaster Sat 25-Jul-09 10:27:24

go for it...smile

42 not too old, plus you never have enough money or space for dc..

good luck x

tryingtobemarypoppins Sat 25-Jul-09 10:30:58

It sounds like you have had a seriously tough time. TBH and really honest I would focus on your DS, enjoy time as a family, go on some lovely hoildays, invest in what you have, invest in you.

coveredinsnot Sat 25-Jul-09 10:41:29

Wow there are so many factors to consider, but I am just struck by a couple of things:

The seeming lack of support from those closest to you. Is there anyone who would actually properly, whole-heartedly, support you through this pregnancy, should it happen? If not, and with your previous PND, I would say this is something that needs to be looked at properly before you get pregnant. Not having decent social support (and by this I mean emotional as well as physical help) can be devastating for someone even without a higher risk for developing PND. I'm sure if you did go through with it, you would survive and come out of it as you have done this time round, but what would be the effect on the child you already have, and on your relationships with your husband and family? Especially if they thought you were silly to consider a second child before you began?

I think what some others have said about money is right - there's no way we would have had a baby if we'd thought about the financial aspect properly. I'm sure you could squeeze into your house should you need to - families have lived together in tiny spaces quite successfully all over the world!! (But see my point above - this might get a bit much if your husband isn't totally on board). A decent bunk bed might do the trick!

Finally, have you considered going to talk to a counsellor or therapist about this? Just a few sessions might really help. This doesn't have to be costly, for example, GPs often have a counsellor that works at the surgery (long waiting list though, but free), and some other places do greatly reduced fees for sessions with trainee counsellors. Where I live there is a local charity providing support to women, I went there for counselling after having a traumatic birth with my son and it was only £6 a session, which is excellent. It really helped as well). Therapy with someone that would go into things in more depth with you could cost a lot more (and take longer), but again trainee psychotherapists (who would eventually get to the bottom of these issues!!) also have reduced rates. If you wanted to talk through these issues with your husband I'd recommend going to Relate - they also do reduced fees for people who are hard up. A friend of mine and her partner did this recently - they disagreed about having children (she's in her early 40s, desperate for children and marriage, he wasn't keen to have kids or get married...) The other day he proposed to her, and said he wanted to start a family!

If you need to know more about therapy and different types of therapists, I'd be more than happy to help you with this.

Anyway, these are just my initial thoughts. This is a big decision, and like you say, only you and your husband can make this choice in the end.

castlesintheair Sat 25-Jul-09 10:44:50

Your desire to have another child outweighs everything imo. Money and space don't really come into it - noone ever has enough of that. Take out a loan. It will be worth it. Your age and the age-gap are nothing either. Having a family isn't always easily achieved. I had 4 m/c in order to 'complete' my family. I also had PND and it got worse each time (3 DCs) but now you know the signs and can get on the ADs asap and have some counselling.

However, I agree with LaurieFairyCake that letting go of the embryos must be very hard and you need to make sure it isn't just about that. Maybe you should have some counselling now? Don't they offer this to you with IVF anyway? Good luck.

peanutbutterkid Sat 25-Jul-09 11:06:50

What skybright and ninedragons said.
Is it not possible to donate the embryos to a childless couple, so that they didn't just "perish"? I know some people wouldn't want to, but to me it'd be barely more significant than donating a pint of blood, and it'd be a lot better than "perish".
I have several friends who natural conceived at age 42+, btw. 42 is not "too old" imho.

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