Why people delay getting fertility help
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"The sad reality is that many people delay getting fertility help for far too long, even though they know that they have a problem" Rosie bray & Richard Mackney
You know that something's not right, and it shouldn't be taking this long, but surely you don't need fertility help, do you? After all, everyone else seems to be popping babies out at will, so just give it a bit more time.
The sad reality is that many people delay getting fertility help for far too long, even though they know that they have a problem.
Rosie Bray and her husband, Richard, know this feeling well. They went through the classic stages of denial, followed by blame and resentment, before finally getting fertility treatment.
After three rounds of IVF they were finally successful and here they give their warning signs for when it's time to make *that* appointment with the GP.
Sorry. I know you're sick to death of hearing it, but it's just a biological fact. And a frigging infuriating one. I won't bother trotting out the stats on how our eggs deteriorate after the age of 35, because, if you're reading this, you'll know it anyway. Instead, the most helpful steer on age was from a consultant I saw (admittedly only after I'd had one failed round of IVF) who suggested not leaving it more than a year to seek help if you are over 35. But please, do not panic because, as every expert will tell you; it only takes one good egg to make a baby.
2. Sex isn't what it used to be
It's what they stupidly call 'trying' for a baby. And trying is what it damn well is. The randy, carefree couple you once were has gone. Now sex, which used to be about spontaneity and fun and intimacy, now takes place for a very obvious reason. As each month shows up a no-show on the pregnancy testing stick, the sex becomes more scheduled. Then very scheduled. Not just the week but the day and even the hour as you become a slave to the fertility monitor. Soon neither of you really wants to do it. Odd, barely believable excuses start being exchanged that soon turn into arguments about whose 'fault' it is and how everyone else is having babies and how you're getting older and time is running out. For the sake of your relationship, make sure you see the GP before you reach this stage.
3. You're spending far too much on pregnancy tests
This becomes almost an addiction. There MUST be a reason why you can't get pregnant. Maybe next month will be different. Yes. Just give it another month. You start blaming the actual brand of pregnancy test and start spending your money on the most expensive ones. You start holding them up in different lights – by the window at the back of the house that gets the morning sun, by the bright bathroom bulb - just in case there's the faintest hint of a line that you might have missed. In the end I became a connoisseur of all the different brands and possible symbols – the pink line, the '1-2 weeks pregnant', the smiley face, etc. But save your emotions and your money because, as one specialist told me, that they all do the same thing.
4. If your mother had any fertility issues
It's a good idea to have a conversation with your mum about how easy it was for her to get pregnant and stay pregnant. Of course not everything is genetic but some gynaecological issues have a strong familial link, e.g. endometriosis and polycystic ovaries. Both can really affect your fertility and even make IVF more complicated so it is very useful to find out at an early stage.
5. You start to obsess about women with babies
Around the stage that I started avoiding any pregnant friends and particular friends with babies, I also realised that every day I was still thinking about it. I would wake up and just feel this emptiness, a hollow feeling of the most incredible sadness, like being followed around by one of those black clouds you see in cartoons. I also realised that there was no escape even by reading magazines or watching TV. If I saw a woman I'd have to look them up on my phone. How old are they? Do they have kids? How old were they when they got pregnant? It reached pathological levels and I couldn't seem to shake it off. So, again, don't let it take over you. If you're starting to feel like this, please make that appointment with the GP.
1. Odd things start appearing in the bathroom
I was so naive and ignorant I didn't even know what a pregnancy testing kit looked like. I soon did. Soon I even knew all the different brands and packaging and the different ways they would leave my wife destroyed every month. But then other things started appearing in the bathroom cabinet. Gauges and timers and dials and thermometers. Equipment so acute and sensitive it could pinpoint the moment of peak monthly fertility to within a tenth of a second while probably also predicting the migratory patterns of the North African crested grebe.
2. You do anything to avoid sex
I know it sounds mental, but you do. The first stage is the sex becoming a bit, well, organised or scheduled. It's not necessarily when you're drunk and soon it's not necessarily when you even fancy it. And still all her pregnancy tests in the bathroom remain stubbornly blank. Few words became quite so unwelcome in my ears as; 'I've started my period'. Because it meant another month. And another one. Soon all that expensive equipment in the bathroom cabinet is dictating the timing of the sex. It becomes scheduled almost to the hour.
3. You argue a lot about nothing
The excuses for avoiding sex become ever more ridiculous, as soon neither of you wants to do it at all. They range from 'I'm really busy' to 'I don't feel very well'. The excuses turn into arguments. Arguments about nothing. A silent blame game plays out in the background. 'It's his fault, it must be him, it can't be me'. And sometimes you think she's right. Maybe it is you. All that booze and sitting around. Maybe it's affected your sperm count. You feel less of a man. All that 'no lead in the pencil' stuff. And it goes on and on. Because still you aren't discussing the issue calmly and openly and addressing there's a problem. So please do. Don't let it get to this stage. Make the appointment with the GP. I promise it will relieve some of the pressure.
Rosie Bray and Richard Mackney are the authors of 'Get A Life: His & Hers Survival Guide To IVF' and is available here.
Aisling Killoran of Conceive with ease can help you mentally prepare for pregnancy or IVF. Call today for an appointment.