The conversation surrounding TFMR (Termination For Medical Reasons) baby loss is still incredibly limited, leaving many women feeling ashamed and guilty after their experiences. A very inspiring Zara breaks the silence and tells Fertility Help Hub about her TFMR baby loss, the impact this had on her and why, together, we must speak up and break the TFMR ‘taboo’.
Over to Zara….
I bet near enough everyone who is about to undergo IVF treatment has googled something like, “What are the chances of IVF working?”. However hopeful we are, we are all aware that not every cycle is successful. We are also all aware that cycles, and all pregnancies, can possibly end in miscarriage. This information is always readily available for us to hear and read about. But what we don’t hear about, or at least I hadn’t, is that all cycles and pregnancies, IVF or not, can also end in TFMR (that’s Termination For Medical Reasons).
No One’s Talking about TFMR
I thought maybe that was just my ignorance, that TFMR was something that is acknowledged and spoken about, but it was just that I had never really heard of it, because I presumed it was so uncommon. Oh, how wrong I was. After losing our son Jesse in October 2018, I searched everywhere for a mention of this harrowing way of losing a baby. What did I find out? Very little. You see, TFMR is barely spoken about.
TFMR: The Stats
Very rarely will you see TFMR being written about; it’s never included in any studies or research. Yet it happens to almost 14 babies every single day. EVERY DAY. That makes TFMR almost twice as common as stillbirth, yet it is barely ever acknowledged. In 2018, according to Tommy’s statistics, 2,943 babies were lost after being stillborn. According to the DHSC, there were 3,269 TFMR during that same time period. This number is also thought to be at least 2,000 short, as procedures that take place in an abortion clinic as opposed to a hospital are often recorded as abortions rather than TFMR. With those figures in mind, that’s over 5,000 TFMR every single year.
Coping with TFMR
Would I have found it any easier to cope with had I have heard or read about TFMR before I went through it? Yes, I think I would have. A little bit of my heart broke the day we said goodbye to him and that will never heal. But I would have felt I wasn’t alone, and like I was the only one that this had ever happened to. Losing my baby to TFMR so isolating, frightening, shameful even.
Thankfully, I found ARC (Antenatal Results & Choices) and Flora Saxby from Petals Charity, which offers counselling to couples dealing with baby loss. Both organisations held my hand throughout the entire ordeal and, somehow, with additional help from my family, friends and our 3-year-old son Jax, I came out the other side.