Guest blogger Elizabeth Kelly: Why would a woman with six kids take enough fertility drugs to give her eight more? I don't know. But eight is enough ... to give me hope for my own chances of having a baby with IVF! I did the procedure last week and have just a few more days to wait until I find out if it worked. As the date for my pregnancy test gets closer, I've been feeling nervous -- IVF is a tremendous emotional, physical and financial commitment. But I figure if this woman can get pregnant with eight children, having just one should be easy!
This is my second attempt at IVF, after one round of fertility drugs and three artificial inseminations. My doctor carefully monitored the number of eggs maturing as a result of the fertility shots he prescribed. He recommended transferring four embryos, but I asked if we could try for five, and he agreed. At my age (39), the chance of twins with a transfer of five embryos is still only 9%, and the chance of triplets, quadruplets or quintuplets is 1.3% combined. Yet with that one additional embryo, the overall chance of pregnancy rises 12%.
At this point, I want to maximize my chances. Of course, I know there's a risk involved that I'll have a multiple pregnancy. Honestly, if I ended up with twins, I would be ecstatic, since I would love to never have to go through all this again. But if it's triplets or more, the doctor would recommend selective reduction (which I know is a nice way of putting it) to protect the health of the remaining two children and myself, and that's what I'd do. I can't imagine finding out I'm carrying seven children (I guess even the mom didn't know there was an eighth until she actually gave birth!) and just going forward with it. But then again, I can't imagine getting into that situation in the first place.
I suspect that rather than seeing a fertility specialist for IVF, the octuplets' mom may have just been prescribed fertility drugs by her ob/gyn for a timed intercourse cycle (where you have sex on a particular day after releasing multiple eggs) or artificial insemination (think turkey baster). It's possible that her doctor didn't closely monitor her egg follicle growth, so she may not have even known what she was getting into. Or she may have been warned that too many follicles matured that month and that her cycle was being canceled, but she went ahead and had sex anyway. I don't know, but I'm glad I'm not the one having eight kids. Still, the fact that someone just did gives me hope about the chances of my test coming up positive at last.