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… and if it doesn’t work?


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Doctors, medical assistants and embryologists in the laboratory, IT department, hygiene specialists, Info Center etc. We, as a team at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech dedicate our entire know-how and passion to helping infertile couples achieve a pregnancy with the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART).

In many cases, the patients are able to deliver the good news to us that their pregnancy test had come back positive and, later on, fetal heartbeat could be detected via ultrasound.
We particularly enjoy receiving cards or letters from happy parents in which they express their gratitude after the birth of their baby.

However, there are couples who get no chance of experiencing this kind of happiness.

It is just not meant to work out for them, even though we have analyzed the situation of the infertile couple again and again, carried out additional examinations and added supplementary medications. Even genetic investigations and surgery are performed in such cases. And last but not least: improvement of the work-life balance as well as alternative approaches.

But at some point the couple may come to realize: “We cannot go on like this”. There are situations where I ask the couple whether they have a “backup plan”. A “backup plan” is something highly individual. There are couples who concern themselves with the various possibilities and discuss certain options – let us call it “what if”-scenarios. Yet other couples prefer to follow a “step-by-step” approach.

What might such a “backup plan” involve?

Egg donation might be an option, if, for example, impaired oocyte quality or poor ovarian reserve can be considered a causal factor for the infertility issues. There are some cases where using donor sperm can offer a promising path to address the situation. In order to be able to make such recommendations, our team of doctors and embryologists must thoroughly examine each situation on a case-by-case basis.

However, there are couples for whom allogeneic (third- party) donation is not an option – be it for religious, ethical, moral or personal reasons. Whatever the reason, each of them has to be accepted. Those couples are then no longer willing to undergo medical treatment to overcome their infertility problems. During a telephone call, it often happens that they tell us what’s on their mind, putting it like this: “We tried so many things but none worked out – it just wasn’t meant to be. We have to move on and close this chapter in our lives.”

Some couples want to come in person for a final conversation and they tell us what they are planning to do, e.g. career changes, extensive travelling or new hobbies. While all this cannot replace a child, life without children can be beautiful, though.

Or the couples may allow other children to become an important part of their lives, either through adoption, fostering of a child or by spending time with their godchildren. They may share their skills with children, for example, in sports clubs or when reading to young children in nurseries. A patient recently told me that her husband is going to focus his attention to the young people who are apprenticed to his company in order to provide guidance and share his knowledge with them.

In principle, anyone can teach children and young people a thing or two and support them on their way to grow up. And certainly, your commitment will be rewarded by these children, spreading joy and love.

“You can pick up the stones in your way and build something beautiful”
(rough translation of a famous quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

» When pregnancy either fails to occur or ends tragically

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