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The Aftermath of IVF

“Of course we will use our last embryo, you can’t just get rid of them!”. These were the words of a friend that hit me like a tonne of bricks. What was I going to do with the seven embryos I had in storage? There was no way I was hoping to go through another seven rounds of IVF but I could not just 'dispose' of them.

This is an all too common issue that many families are having to deal with. In Australia alone, there is an estimated 100,000 embryos in storage. This is nothing to scoff at as families across the country battle with the same decision as myself.

I often catch myself thinking about those little embryos sitting there in a lab, freezing away as I wrestle with the decision of their future. What they could be if they were implanted, what they won’t ever get the chance to be if we decide to dispose of them. I can’t help but think they are little beings, with a whole lot of potential.

We now have 5 embryos left in storage, after two FETs (frozen embryo transfers) which allowed us to conceive Valentino. Luckily we are not at THE decision yet, as the option of baby number three is still on the table (cue the pending excitement!). I long for my body to allow me to fall pregnant naturally but I also know those chances are very slim, given my history. I also feel guilty that I wouldn’t be able to use those already waiting embryos.

It tears my heart to pieces just writing all of this, but it's a part of my story I want to share with you all. It’s not only my story but the story of so many families out there. We are all in this boat, drifting along hoping that we’ll never make it to shore. Because if we make it to shore we will need to make a decision. Who would want to choose between giving away their children or just disposing of them? This is how it feels to me.

I know in my heart I could never give up my embryos to either research or to another hopeful couple. This may sound horrible and selfish but I could not go through life knowing my own DNA was out there somewhere, calling someone else Mum and Dad.

This emotional decision is why we need options. More options than just ‘donate or dispose’. Disposing of these little embabies just sounds like such an impersonal process, as if we were throwing out unwanted rubbish. When I heard of Amy (aka The Breastmilk Queen) from Embryo Ash Studios and her pioneering work with embryo cremation I was instantly drawn to her vision. Being able to cremate and have these embryos kept close was a dream come true for me. This heartfelt service is one that can be a solution to an ever growing number of IVF families. You can read more about Amy’s service here.

Families deserve closure to this tumultuous journey that is infertility and IVF. We should be able to celebrate where we have been, what we now have and what could have been. I deserve to be able to keep my embryos close to my heart, to honour their part in my beautiful family’s story.

If you would like to look into embryo cremation, please follow this link to start the process through Embryo Ash Studios.  And if you would like to know more about the process for a beautiful keepsake containing embryo ashes, please get in touch via my contact form, email or through my socials.  

Rachael xx

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