I thought I would start a series titled ‘The Struggles of Infertility’ and talk about different topics we’ve faced along the way and while we go through this new DEIVF chapter.
I’ll briefly explain our story first. Well, knowing me, it may be a monster of a couple of paragraphs before I dive in to how to support one another.
My husband and I have been trying to have a family for around 6 and a half years now, and we’ve had many ups and downs during this period with my health. I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis in 2015 and since then it’s been an up hill battle.
Our very first IVF cycle using my eggs went horribly wrong. I’m sure most of you have heard the story but if you haven’t, I had endometriosis cysts on my right ovary (at the time) and one sadly got punctured during egg collection. My insides were infected and it had spread to my bowels, so I had to have a stoma put in and my right ovary removed.
Oh and I was hospitalised for 2 weeks, had two blood transfusions, lost the majority of my hair, and dropped down 3 dress sizes (UK 12 to a UK 6/8) as I couldn’t keep food down. Anyway they did do embryo transfer but it was unsuccessful when i took a pregnancy test 2 weeks later. I like to think of this a failed chemical pregnancy. But thank goodness I wasn’t pregnant after embryo transfer because we would have had to terminate the pregnancy.
We Put IVF off for a further 2 and a half – 3 years while I had a stoma. Until my stoma reversal in April 2022 last year.
When we went to try IVF again last year around August/September, they said I had low egg count and should consider Donor Egg IVF (DEIVF). And that was devastating news.
The Emotions of DEIVF
It can be an emotional rollercoaster, questioning every month you wait longer to have a family. But DEIVF is a whole other battlefield to deal with. We weren’t familiar with this route or didn’t even realise this would be an option for us.
IVF and DEIVF can be really overwhelming, there are endless appointments, masses of paperwork to fill out, it’s costly (DEIVF is three times the amount of IVF) and it doesn’t guarantee a pregnancy.
There are also donors and donor egg agency’s that may let you down. Sadly for us, this happened. But we’ve found a different DEIVF path and are in the very early stages.
You do start questioning things as time ticks on.
How many more years can we take of this? Should we apply for fostering or adoption instead? Have we got the finances to pay for DEIVF rounds? How do we get through this as a couple together? Do we do it here in the UK or do we have a better chance going abroad? But the child won’t look like me. I don’t want to be an old parent. What about my mental health? Will I be able to carry a child with all my complicated surgery’s?
Everyone is different and circumstances are also different for various couples. But you’re not alone, there are tons of couples struggling with infertility.
How to Support Your Partner
Your partner may be going through emotionally tough times as well as ‘you’ and you need to be there to support them through this heart-breaking and long journey too.
Communication is important in any relationship and you need to recognise the signs when your partner is feeling low, afraid and anxious and offer them love, support, and help.
“Nothing is ever for certain but you need to give it a try.” Is something I said to my husband recently.
Without trying and without some hope left inside of you both, you’ll always be questioning ‘what if’ and that’s not healthy.
But it’s completely normal to feel that way.
We’ve only taken up one counselling session together during this process and that was mainly to talk through DEIVF and how we’re feeling. I’ve also been having health and well-being sessions for the past month or so. I would strongly advise going for counselling or talking therapy for yourself or as a couple if you’re planning to go through IVF or DEIVF.
My Coping Mechanisms
The best coping and supportive mechanisms for me is writing – writing my experiences and sharing with a small portion of my network, friends and family. Knowing I could potentially help someone going through the same challenges and battles, or talking to someone who’s had a successful story of IVF or DEIVF.
Another way of coping is to focus on my wellbeing, making sure I get plenty of exercise, am eating well, drinking plenty of water, seeing friends and family and going on long dog walks. As well as making sure I can help my partner in any way I can.
A Final Note
It’s important to realise that you’re in this together with your partner, and whatever the outcome may be, you will need to re-access and make decisions quite quickly.
Just don’t lose sight of hope. I know it’s extremely hard and time is ticking away, but you’ve got to do what’s right for you as a couple.
Would you ever consider getting a surrogate to carry your child? It seems like it would be the better route than to put your body through the stress of ivf and their body would most likely be able to carry the pregnancy
That’s a really interesting question. The answer is I’m not sure, Joe and I haven’t discussed it. I think we need to try DEIVF a few times before considering anything else. Some people go through 6 or more rounds of IVF/DEIVF. I’ve only been through one round of IVF using my eggs, but didn’t expect the complications we ended up facing. I’m unsure if I can carry a pregnancy, it scares the shit out of me thinking about whether I can or I can’t. But we will just have to wait and see first. x
I know you mentioned a comment on adoption, what are your thoughts on this? x
It’s a hard and difficult subject, I’m all for adoption and fostering a child but it comes with it’s own set of complications as well – you don’t know how the child will respond to you and there’s again a lot of paperwork and investigating that you have to go through – it’s not an easy route. Say if you had mental health issues – they would flag this. Or if you had a complicated relationship with family members, they would also flag this.
DEIVF gives us that chance of being genetically linked to Joe. So we will try this route first.
Though I’ve heard some amazing stories of adoption. And the programme ‘Trying’ on Apple TV is really sweet. I’d highly recommend watching it to anyone and everyone. xx
If you haven’t already, you should freeze the eggs that you have left and go the surrogacy route. That way, you’ll still have a child that’s biologically yours. I do wish you the best Zoey! I’m only suggesting surrogacy because it might be easier than going through the stress of carrying a child and having another miscarriage or your health being at risk.
I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to freeze my eggs the first time round as I only had 3 eggs from egg collection and they got used, however we have the option to freeze the donor egg’s if we pay additional costs.
Thank you, I really appreciate it / the concern. We will have a think about it. I’ve just always wanted to experience pregnancy. xx
I have been following you on Instagram for years and I think you are so brave for sharing what you’ve been through Zoey.
I really do hope you get your family and I’m praying for you.
I haven’t experienced IVF or DEIVF but I know friends who have gone through IVF and had a successful journey.
Your story is really enlightening and you’ve been so strong. I wish you all the best with your health and your journey.
Thank you so much! Your words are so so kind. It’s been really difficult, but I guess you just have to power on and try to be positive. Although, of course I do have moments of deep sadness, as does my husband. It helps that we have a furboy. Fingers crossed for our next round. xx
Thank you for sharing this and providing awareness.
I’ve been pushing back having children because I want to focus on my life, my career, do all the things I want to do without a dependant. I know I want to have children at some stage in my life, but I’m only getting older and I don’t know if I can have children yet. I hope you don’t mind me asking this,
but in hindsight, knowing what you know now about your health, would you take the choice to try for kids at a much younger age?
Thank you for your comment.
It’s hard to say as everyone is different and circumstances are also different. But for me, I’d say no I wouldn’t have tried at a younger age because I was already considered young when I got married. I can’t change the past, I can only focus on now and what’s to come. I don’t want to be a really old parent, but in my mind I’m still fairly young. I’ve also had a pretty awesome life with all the travels, my career and what not so I can see why you want to focus on these aspects before eventually having kids. Do what you feel is right at the time. xx
Oh I am so sorry you are going through this wow. I experienced a similar illness as a child when an appendectomy did not go well. It was not pleasant and left me with life long health problems. As others have suggested perhaps a surrogate is something to consider at some point. I know it also has its drawbacks and potential problems but it could be an option.
Sorry to hear this Allie. Possibly, I don’t know just yet. Need to try DEIVF first xx
I am so sorry to hear this Zoey. What a terrible time you have had, having a stoma must have been awful, you will be thrilled it has been reversed now. I tried to fall pregnant for 5 years, my husband and I had decided we didn’t want to go down the IVF path or adoption. We had given up when my husband read about a woman who fell pregnant after seeing a naturopath, we gave this option a go. 17 days after seeing a naturopath and drinking a terrible concoction each day I finally fell pregnant. I truly hope things work out for you and Joe xx
Thank you for your kind words Janet. It’s such a struggle for anyone going through infertility. That’s amazing that seeing a naturopath worked for you. xx
I’m so sorry for everything you’ve had to go through, both physically and mentally. Did the hospital take any responsibility for piercing the cyst?
You seem like a very strong couple so I know you’ll get through this and have a precious bundle at the end and it will be worth all of the stress xx
Thank you Siobhan, your kind words mean a lot. No they aren’t aware as we didn’t file a compliant at the time. We’ve mentioned it to other IVF clinics though. I think we were so traumatised by everything that had happened that we just forgot to do it.
I really hope so. We will see what the future holds. xx
Zoe, I married late and became a mother in my 40’s , truly it won’t matter , you’ll be great parents anyway. Hoping to visit London again this year. All the best xxx
That’s amazing, I’m happy for you! London is fab. So many things to do there, enjoy if you get to go again. xx
Wishing you all the best Zoey! xx
Danielle’s Beauty Blog
Thanks Danielle xx
I think it’s so brave of you to share your story as I can imagine that it’s anything but easy. All that I can say is that I’m sending you my love and support and that I hope that one day all your efforts will pay off and that you will create a family that you dream of. You deserve that outcome for sure. <3
Thanks Jelena. Such kind words. I really hope so. xx