This Mom Terminated 2 IVF Pregnancies & She Wants People to Understand Why

Vicki Fryer

Mom and baby
Vicki Fryer

Before welcoming their first baby, Vicki and Chris Fryer were desperate to start a family together. However, the couple from England's road to parenthood was both excruciating and long thanks to a cancer battle, two miscarriages, and two deliberate terminations. Now, the grateful parents have finally welcomed their "miracle" baby, and they want others to understand both the pain and joy involved in welcoming son Abe James. 

  • After getting engaged, Vicki found out that she had breast cancer in 2009 at age 30 and decided to freeze her eggs.

    Mom and husband
    Vicki Fryer

    Vicki opted to have a double mastectomy and had her eggs frozen before undergoing chemotherapy. Four eggs were successfully harvested and fertilized but doctors wanted to wait three years after she was in remission to use them in order to limit the chances of her cancer returning. "I didn't want to be pregnant if I knew I wasn't going to be here for my child," she told the Daily Mail. "It was a horrible, depressing thought, but I had to be practical."

    Vicki and Chris were married as planned in 2010.

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  • Years later, Vicki and Chris ended up conceiving naturally -- twice -- but she miscarried both times.

    In 2013, at 33, Vicki was shocked to learn that she and Chris quickly conceived on their own. However, she suffered a devastating miscarriage at 11 weeks. When she got pregnant again, she still didn't feel confident, and her fears came true when she miscarried again at seven weeks. "They said the quality of my eggs had probably been affected by the chemo and that was the likely reason for the miscarriages," she said.

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  • Next, they tried her frozen embryos. But they made a heartbreaking choice after IVF success: They terminated the pregnancy.

    Family
    Vicki Fryer

    Vicki and Chris's embryos were frozen before their clinic had the technology to screen parents for cystic fibrosis (CF). Since then, it's become standard practice to test both parents before starting the IVF journey, so the office wanted to test Vicki and Chris before implantation. Despite being told that the risk is minimal because only one in 29 people are carriers of the disease, both Vicki and Chris's test results came back positive.

    With that devastating news, the United Kingdom's Department of Health got involved, because there was a 25 percent chance that their embryos would have CF if implanted. After six months deliberating this moral dilemma, the parents were allowed to move forward with IVF. 

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    According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the progressive and genetic condition causes persistent lung infections that limits the ability to breathe over time. The "defective" gene causes a buildup of thick mucus in the organs that can eventually lead to respiratory failure.

    Vicki and Chris had already agreed that they would terminate the pregnancy if a test at 13 weeks showed their unborn baby had CF. "We made a very personal but informed decision; it wasn't the quest for a perfect baby, we were desperate to become parents," she tells CafeMom. "If we hadn't known and had a baby who had CF, we would have loved them unconditionally and managed their illness the best we could."

    The problem that they struggled with after finding out that the baby did in fact have CF was knowingly bringing a sick child into the world. "If we had found out the baby had a limb abnormality or something that wasn't life limiting, then we would have continued with the pregnancy," she says.

  • The couple ended up terminating a second IVF pregnancy after the baby's test results also came back positive for CF.

    Baby
    Vicki Fryer

    Vicki and Chris only had one embryo left -- which doctors warned was the weakest of the group -- after the first didn't implant and the following two were terminated. "They said some of the cells had not multiplied as they should have done, but we said: 'We've got this last chance. Let's just do it,'" she told the Daily Mail.

    Weeks later, they found out that they were expecting a healthy baby boy who not only didn't have CF but also wasn't even a carrier.

  • Since becoming a mom to Abe, Vicki is more confident in her decision than ever.

    Mom and baby
    Vicki Fryer

    Unless you've been in her situation and had to make a decision about bringing a sick child into this world, Vicki doesn't think you have the right to judge her. "We did so much research into CF and although life expectancy has improved, it's still a shorter life and full of pain, procedures, uncertainty, and ultimately death," the 38-year-old mom tells us. "Like I said, it wasn't about a perfect baby, it was about not inflicting that horrible disease on a baby. We suffered then so our child never had to."

  • She has zero regrets and she hopes that others learn from her experience instead of slamming her for it.

    Mom and baby
    Vicki Fryer

    "Being a mom, now it breaks my heart when Abe is unwell; imagine counting down the years and all you can do is hope for a miracle," she adds. "In total, I'd been pregnant four times -- it was heartbreaking wanting something so much but I'd never have put my selfish needs above my baby's health. We have absolutely no regrets and would have preferred never to be parents than be parents to a poorly baby knowing that we could have stopped it." 

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