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.