Why I Spent a Small Fortune on a Risk with a 50% Chance of Success


Risk with 50% Chance of Success

In one afternoon, my wife and I spent an exorbitant amount of money on a risk with only a 50% chance of success.

The sum total – which my wife and I want to keep private – represented a large portion of our entire combined savings. It’s a huge risk, but, under the circumstances, one we’re both willing to take.

Before I get into what we spent our money on, I want to give a little back-story.

Three weeks ago, my wife and I celebrated three years of marriage.  It’s been a long, crazy adventure.  We’ve traveled, had some good times and even moved to the other side of the country together.

For the past two years, we’ve wanted to take the next step together and start a family.  It’s been a lot more difficult than we expected.  For some reason, nothing is happening.

We’ve both been examined thoroughly and no one can find anything wrong with either of us.  Frankly, our problem has stumped doctors.

About a year ago, we started getting fertility help from specialists.  We tried a series of relatively low-cost treatments, but after several tries, we got nowhere.

Now we’ve had to drop the big bomb on the problem.  In order to get what we want, we have to use In-vitro fertilization (IVF) which is a long, specialized medical procedure.  I won’t go into the specifics here, but – suffice to say – it’s a major treatment.

It’s also our last resort.  Neither of us want to adopt at this time, so this is it for us. If it doesn’t work, we’ll likely be childless for the rest of our lives.

And that’s what we spent our money on recently – a last chance.

On the plus side, we used a new credit card with a signup bonus of 100,000 American Airlines miles so the next few flights we take will be free.  It’s good to do some travel hacking, but I just wish it was under different circumstances.

Why We’re Doing It

This decision wasn’t easy.  With all the money that goes into the procedure, you’d hope that the chances were a little better.  Statistics say that our likelihood for success is 40-50%; I’m just being optimistic and saying it’s 50%.

That’s basically the flip of a coin.

Heads it works and we get what we want.  Tails we lose everything.

But my philosophy of life tells me to take that risk.  It’s our last chance to get something we both really want –  we have to keep going despite the odds.

Sometimes life isn’t fair.  The world will stack the deck against you, but that doesn’t mean you have to just roll over and take it.  You have to keep going and fight with everything you’ve got to get what you want out of life.

If my wife and I gave up – if we had just accepted our circumstances and fallen short of everything we could have done, we would never have forgiven ourselves.

If we didn’t take this chance, we would always look back on this moment and wonder, what if…

There is a chance the coin will show tails and we’ll lose everything.  We’re preparing ourselves for that possibility.  At the same time, we’re preparing ourselves for success.  It’s up to the coin now.

It’s funny.  Sometimes I’ll hear people tell me about risks they want to take.  They’ll say the chances are too slim or worry about what they might lose if it doesn’t work out.

It’s perfectly reasonable to turn down a risk if it’s not worth it.  If my wife and I really didn’t want this as badly as we do, we would simply accept the situation as fate and live the rest of our lives in peace.

But when you want something so badly, can there be any other choice? Can you really live the rest of your life knowing that you didn’t take every single shot that you could have?  The alternative is to live the rest of your life with that nagging feeling of what might have been – that’s not how I want to live.

If it doesn’t work out the way we want, we’ll both be very sad.  However, we’ll hold our heads up high knowing that we gave it our all.  We laid everything down on the line for what we wanted.

There are moments from my past when I didn’t give 100% to a goal I highly desired.  When I look back now, I can only wonder what might have happened if I had done things differently.  As I move forward in life, I realize just how important it is to give your most important goals everything you’ve got.

I want to end this post with an abbreviated excerpt from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If—”

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss…

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.
photo credit: Pauli Antero

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  1. Scott Huntington says:

    Wow Steve, that’s pretty awesome that you guys are doing that. And first of all, congrats on the 3 years! My wife and I just had our 3 year anniversary too.

    Not only is it awesome that you guys are taking that risk, but also that you have the courage to write about it. Not many people would do that. Hope it goes well for you!

    • Thank you for saying that. This post was hard for me to write because it was so deeply personal, but it was something I wanted to put out to the world. I put so much feeling into this post and I’m glad it’s been resonating with so many.

  2. You regret the chances you don’t take, right?

    I think it’s awesome that you’re taking the leap. Trying everything you can to reach the goal you jointly set is a testament to the willingness to make it work.

    Looking forward to your success.

    • It was a huge leap for us – we didn’t take this risk lightly. In the end though, we would have regretted not trying. And that’s the ultimate lesson I hope others get out of this – take the leap, it’s worth it.

  3. It is great to have a male perspective on this very important subject.

  4. Steve, so glad you shared this post on a very difficult topic. Wishing you and your wife the best in this process. And it’s a good reminder for all things we really want in life. If we just sit back and take it easy (without going after the things we want) it’s not going to happen. Sometimes dreams take money, sometimes expertise, sometimes experience but almost always – courage.

    • Thanks, Vishnu. I’ve learned so much about life and myself from this process – so much more than I’ve written here in this post. Finding the courage to do something like this has given me so many valuable life lessons. The biggest of which is that when life is unfair, you have to keep going and give it everything you’ve got.

  5. Steve, thanks for your personal story. I don’t think you’ve taken a risk really – what you’ve done is look at the outcomes. With spendng the money you have a chance of sucesss or knowing at least you did everything. With not spending the money you’d have regret – with 100% certainty.

  6. How wonderful that you are willing to take this leap to try to achieve your goal. This is definitely one of those where you would have regretted not trying it. Good for you and your wife reaching this decision and acting on it.

    Good luck.

    • Yeah, it was a tough choice – we didn’t take it lightly. But when we actually weighed all our options, we knew what we had to do. I already feel good about taking action on it.

  7. Steve, I am sending huge positive vibes out for you and your wife. I am imagining it all going perfectly and a gorgeous, healthy baby coming into your lives. Well done for really going for what you want and for putting yourself out there.

    Love and blessings to you both,

    • Thanks for the positive vibes, Jess. I already feel good about putting myself out there. It was a hard choice to take action on it and also hard for me to write about. I’ve learned and grown so much from this decision.

  8. I salute you Steve. This piece is an example of transparency I hunger for on the Net.
    Often the alternative is even worse than a nagging feeling. Often when you failed short on your standards you start to excuse and justify yourself trying to hide that feeling.
    And you are absolutely right about regrets. I use this post: http://bronnieware.com/regrets-of-the-dying/

    to remind myself about it.

    • That’s the danger of falling short of my standards. It’s quite possible that if I didn’t do this, I would excuse or justify it away to hide my true feelings. That’s not healthy. I want to live a life without excuses to justify why I didn’t take a risk I wanted. That’s a good thing to think about.

  9. Happy anniversary Steve! I understand and completely support your decision. Always keep the hope alive and I’m rooting for you guys. Good luck and God bless!

  10. Steve, you are so right. If you want something you have to give it your all. Especially with something like this you want to make sure you exhausted all your options. No one wants to have regrets.

    Best of luck to you and your wife!


    • Thanks, Lea. Knowing that I’ve used all my options makes me feel good. I’m not someone who likes to only go half-way. If I didn’t give it everything, I know I would regret it later in life.

  11. First, happy anniversary to you and your wife, Steve! May you have many many more happy adventures together!
    Thanks for sharing your story – that’s huge. A big decision, a big choice. But it’s very true that if you don’t exhaust all options for something you want and believe in, you’ll never know and who wants to spend the rest of their days wondering?
    I’m sending you positive thoughts and prayers for the best possible outcome. Keep us posted!

  12. Steve, our son was also conceived on a credit card (and the air miles arrangement was not good). We had IVF 15 years ago and we had decided to have it once. We had 17% probability for a life birth. I’m a gambler (the compulsive kind) and even I won’t place a bet at this probability. My husband (a staistician) claimed the probability is higher (he placed it at about 35%). Guess what? The outcome of this whole thing is asleep upstairs and argues with me all the time about playing COD; you see, he has his career path mapped out and will be a professional gamer.

    What I’m saying is that it does work! Still don’t know how given the stress the procedure puts the female body under.

    • Wow, that’s awesome. I’m glad it worked out for you. Those stats are lower than what we were told, but it’s great to hear that it all worked out in the end.

      I’ve been hearing a lot of good things from people who have done IVF. This post has made several people reach out to me with their stories and it’s been very encouraging. Thanks for sharing your story with me.

  13. This post is very powerful Steve,

    Also, the poem by Rudyard Kipling is def, one of my all-time favorites,

    Anyway, this is definitely a risk worth taking, having children is the logical next step in the life of a man. However, it’s sadly true that life doesn’t always (read: rarely) gives us what we want most and therefore we’ll have to struggle for that.

    But you probably would regret “not trying” more, compared to the option you both chose.

    I sincerely hope this works man, I can imagine how important this is for the both of you, considering the time and capital invested.

    But I also hope you won’t let it destroy you, if chance turns against you.

    Stay strong and take great care,

    • If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just have to accept it. I just want to know that we did everything that we could to make it happen.

      I think it’s important to address how unfair the world can be sometimes. Things don’t always come easy. But that’s why we have to do all we can to reach those goals. They can take some work, but really pay off in the end. No regrets.

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