Thoughtful Thursday: Down the Line

April 29, 2010

Thoughtful ThursdayPerhaps the biggest kick in the ass about my breastfeeding troubles was the realization that the effects of infertility might be so long-reaching. I don’t know whether the unknown cause of our infertility contributed to my breastfeeding problems, or whether they were only due to the half a dozen other factors at play. You’d think that after all of the struggle to get pregnant, the rest of it should be easy. You’d think that, but that’s not how things work. Some people get more than their share of difficulty, either through random luck or because everything has the same common cause.

Have you worried that infertility treatment, or infertility itself, would cause problems down the line?

Aside from breastfeeding, the ability to carry a pregnancy is another area where infertility can extend its clammy paw. For some women, the same factors that made it difficult for them to get pregnant will also make it difficult to carry a pregnancy to term successfully. The kicker for them is that they often don’t realize the connection until after one or more pregnancies have been lost or cut short.

The biological causes of infertility can also impact the health of the children, sometimes right away and sometimes in terms of future fertility. We discussed the worry over passing along our infertility in a Thoughtful Thursday over a year ago. There are also some causes of infertility that can be passed on to the immediate detriment of the child’s health; clotting disorders and cystic fibrosis genes are two that come to mind, but I know there are many others. In the short term, even when the cause itself isn’t transmitted genetically, biological problems that had caused infertility and also lead to prematurity can obviously impact the baby.

Then there are problems that most of us prefer not to think about: side effects of treatments. Some of us do as many treatments as it takes to achieve our goals, consequences be damned. Others try to minimize the level of exposure to drugs or interventions out of concern for potential long-term side effects. Of course we all hope that all of those injections won’t cause a serious problem in the future, but personally for me that hope was far overshadowed by all of my short-term hopes that the injections would create a baby. I pretty much stuck my fingers in my ears and sang LA-LA-LA-LA-LA. My husband was actually the one who was more concerned about the drugs causing me damage — not enough to even consider putting the brakes on anything, but enough to raise the issue with a furrowed brow. Eleven was the number of treatment cycles that it took me to achieve a successful pregnancy. Will 11 end up being not enough to do permanent damage, or just enough? LA-LA-LA-LA-LA.

Have you worried that infertility treatment, or infertility itself, would cause problems down the line?

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14 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Down the Line”

  1. a Says:

    My particular issue – an autoimmune one – is kind of a quandary for me. I know that I am eligible for a variety of autoimmune diseases because my dad had rheumatoid arthritis, and I have the marker elevated in my blood (Antinuclear Antibodies). I don’t worry that the treatment to sustain pregnancy will affect me down the line – it was just some heparin, and I don’t think that lingers in the system – but I do occasionally worry that I will develop an autoimmune disorder. Any joint twinge can start me wondering. But, given the genetic progression that occurs in my family (my dad’s uncle, my dad, and my cousin are the only ones who have had any kind of autoimmune disease), it’s not likely that I will develop any problems. So, mostly I stick my fingers in my ears and sing LA-LA-LA-LA-LA, because worrying about it will only drive me insane. Plus, I’m hoping that it’s the heart disease that gets me first, because that’s quick and only momentarily painful.

  2. a Says:

    Oh, also, given that I have essentially given up on a second child, I no longer worry about the fact that heparin gave me a horrible rash and I had to stop using it. I’m no longer tortured by the “what if I can’t use it” scenarios, and I merely torture myself with how horrible and friendless my child will be if she never learns to share.

  3. Elana Kahn Says:

    I actually did worry that I would always have low progesterone and would need supplementation. I worried that being infertile would affect my milk supply. I worried that I’d need future treatments and might end up with another set of twins (something my OB expressly forbade). I worried about a lot of things…like would I be able to have the number of kids I want to have. All sorts of things. Infertility does nasty stuff to the brain!

  4. Michele Says:

    Oh yes… In fact, when I was talking to one of the MFM docs, he told me, point blank, that he sees more problems with infertilies. One of his beliefs is that mother nature knows there is a problem and is trying to “weed out” people in the gene pool (a rough way to say it, but this wasnt my favorite doctor anyway). He felt that my IF was nature’s way of saying “get pregnant and then see what shit we have in store for you”. So IF lead to PTL which led to babies dying… and the cycle went on… Not to mention, he feels that the treatments probably aggravated my PCOS and autoimmune disease and will, in the future, cause me a lot of physical issues… But that is neither here nor there… I wouldnt trade the world for our children; living and dead. They are my entire life.

  5. Heather Says:

    I mostly wonder if my daughter will have IF issues. My primary cause for infertility is endometriosis and it seems to run in the maternal side of my family. I would rather my daughter take her time before having children and make sure she’s happy with the partner she’s chosen in life instead of thinking she has to rush things because this happens to run in our family and it gets worse as you get older.

    Although I have thought about possible repercussions of cancer concidering how much hormones I’ve pumped through my body over the years of IF treatments, but I go LA-LA-LA-LA too and think of all the healthy habits I have in my life to counteract that.

  6. Ana Says:

    I basically worry about what Michele above mentioned: the whole “weeding out the gene pool” that I circumvented through artificial means. I have heard about increased rates of XYZ (I’ll just “LA LA LA LA LA” the details because it is painful to me & likely others) in children conceived using XYZ fertility treatments (usually IVF, but some lump together all fertility treatments). I look at my son and the babies of my friends and family members with IF and I wonder if the statistics will turn out true…

    Because we have both male & female issues, I also wonder about the future fertility of our son and any other possible children in the future. But note I said “wonder”—I am optimistic that technology and society will have improved to make it easier for our children, if infertile, to undergo successful treatments and they will of course have our understanding and support which a lot of us did not receive from our parents/family.


  7. Absolutely.

    During my first (and only) cycle, I read a magazine article that told the story of the editor, who had done several rounds of fertility treatments. She had just been diagnosed with ovarian ******.

    Quite probably the two were not connected and there was no causation.

    But it freaked me out. Hence no more cycles for me.

  8. BB Says:

    Right now… I am LA LA LA LA LA… I am afraid that my PCOS and all the crap that has gone into my body is some day going to backfire. We are supposedly anyways at higher risk for cancer it seems (seems because right now I choose not to read too much about it).

    For the kids, I can only hope that they never have to deal with all this, but otherwise I hope science will help them in an even better way than it has us!

  9. niobe Says:

    I worry about lots of things. But I don’t really worry about this. Maybe I should start.

  10. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    Yes I have.

    For one I have felt that it would be a huge emotional dump to never get out of IF successfully.

    On the other hand, my body is now a dump of hormones and stuff. The cyst in one of my ovary was a fruit of the Clomid I took. It took me two years to get clear of that….including the laparoscopy.

    I am also worried about the corticosteroid I was on.
    Those drugs keep on bubbling out as side effects for years.

    I developed a neat ‘belly’. I do not have a good muscle tone, but it was not this horrific either. I do not feel good about that as well.

    My moodiness has increased. I don’t want to hold my medicines as the crutch here, but I think I can ascribe it to the medicines I have constantly swallowed over these years.

    Will my kids have problems because they were possibly not born by ‘natural selection’? As I read more and more about IVF/ICSI and all, I am beginning to wonder greatly about that as well.

  11. Staciet Says:

    Yes, I think about the unknowns from time to time, although I try to not allow myself to dwell in that place for long.

    For me, I worry most about the emotional toll this process has had on me…us.

  12. strongblonde Says:

    i always thought about the side effects. my super thin lining was partially a result of my d&c’s and chemo which was a treatment for my cancer. to me though? it just seemed like something that i would deal with if the time came. i still feel that way. i’m doing my best to try to live in the moment and not always get freaked out about what MIGHT be…

  13. Photogrl Says:

    I haven’t thought a lot about whether my IF treatments will effect my children down the line…I guess I’m like an osterich with my head in the sand.

    But I do worry that my IF might be passed on to my kids.

    The only comfort I have, is that if it is and they struggle, I hope they will turn to me, listen, and allow me to support them.


  14. Well, I tried not to think too much about it as it would only be speculation and if I would let that get to me it could drive me crazy. But of course I had my moments of doubt – an increased chance of breast cancer crossed my mind. And after having read that IF and IF treatment might have a negative effect on breastfeeding + having several friends who gave up because it didn’t work, I did worry that that would be a problem for me too. So I tried to prepare myself as much as possible. And luckily I was able to breastfeed my son for about eight months (until it had become too much for me – and I do want to react to your two breastfeeding posts but I need some time to figure out exactly how to word my emotions).


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