More than five dozen shots a month, lots of heartbreak, and a devastating miscarriage. That's what E! News host Giuliana Rancic, 36, has endured so far in her quest to become a mother.
Rancic told UsMagazine.com that her IVF fertility treatments include 63 injections per month.
Is there some point at which a couple should be told that enough's enough, and the IVF treatments called off?
"There's no set formula," says Dr. Helen Kim, director of in vitro fertilization at the University of Chicago. "It's very individual, but success does seem to taper off, and if a woman hasn't gotten pregnant after her third cycle, she's certainly less likely to get pregnant with IVF."
In the Rancics' case, which the couple has chronicled on their reality show, "Giuliana & Bill," the miscarriage came after they had been trying to conceive for a year.
Rancic had been eight weeks pregnant when she miscarried back in September.
"Both of us were in shock," Bill, 39, told People magazine. "Failure wasn't an option!"
Giuliana revealed that she was devastated and discouraged by the news. "It's not like some kinds of medicine where there is a definite end point," says Dr. Mark Sauer, professor and chief of reproductive endocrinology at Columbia University, where he also directs the IVF program. "There's an assumption that there is always something you can do for a patient, another treatment. It's hard for doctors to say they just don't know why someone is not getting pregnant."
From the woman's standpoint, the quest for motherhood can be a lonely road that she walks mostly alone. A husband may go along with the treatments and give the shots, but he is less emotionally involved since he's not the one being subjected to all the hormones, shots and ultrasounds.
"After awhile it takes its spiritual and mental toll," Sauer says. "And that is not even taking into account the cost, which is a lot."
At some point, Sauer says, IVF treatments can make a woman think of herself as "a walking egg machine."
And at that point, he suggests, it may be time to put the brakes on for awhile.
"It's time to say stop, to reclaim yourself, reconnect with your inner self and maybe just have sex for the fun of it," he said. "When things aren't going well and the woman is not getting pregnant, she becomes sad, depressed and has trouble sleeping."
Yet while an infertile couple may be ready to call it quits with treatment, others close to them may be pushing them to continue. Well meaning parents and friend of the couple may encourage them to have "just one more' IVF cycle, Sauer says.
Typically, with a younger woman – say under 36 or 37 years old – the chances of getting pregnant with IVF are about 50%, Sauer says. But, he adds, "There will always be women who can't get pregnant with anything we offer. They just don't succeed."
Article: 23rd November www.nydailynews.com
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