We couldn’t do it. When push came to shove, although the form was filled out and the envelope stamped, we couldn’t let those tiny balls of cells perish. Not yet.
The Miracle has shown us that we want a fourth child and if – God forbid – something went wrong, we want to make that happen. We might have managed to do it ourselves this time, but there’s no guarantee that it would happen again. In all likelihood, the Miracle is a one-off. A fluke. Something that changed in our biology for a nanosecond.
But this episode shows the complexity of the emotions that IVF/ICSI causes, even further down the line when you have managed to have children. Though they are invisible to the naked eye and merely a bundle of cells, there is still an emotional attachment. They are still potential children. The clinic doesn’t prepare you for this stage. They carefully walk you through scenarios whereby you or your partner dies. Will you give consent for your frosties still to be used in the event of their or your death? That was a hard enough question. What they don’t do is counsel you on what you do when your family is complete and yet there are three more in the freezer. They don’t warn you of the effect that decision you must make will have. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe others can clinically decide, viewing their straws* as a bundle of cells, rather than as a possible life. I guess this is where the ethics are tricky.
I freely admit that part of me feels we have an insurance policy in that freezer. What if one of the pixies was to fall ill and needed some sort of help from a sibling? Stem cells, umbilical cord cells, whatever other cells clever doctors use in these scenarios. It’s probably not an ethical way to view the frosties either. They weren’t created for spare parts.
I am relieved. I am relieved they will stay in their wintery sleep for at least another year. After the Miracle arrives, I may feel differently. My hormones and emotions may have calmed down and I may be able to view the situation more pragmatically. If so, then I hope the clinic obtains a research license and our little frosties can help others out of their wilderness years. I’d love to offer a hand to those that are in that awful place that we’ve now left behind us.
*Frozen embryos are stored individually in straws.