Previous health issues I’d experienced over the years made me appreciate life and feel grateful for what I had. I told myself that things could be worse – they definitely could. But when you’re in the midst of Infertility and everything that comes with it, there is nothing worse.
Many people might wonder why women put themselves through IVF, pump drugs into their bodies repeatedly and risk damaging their health. I suppose I told myself that natural pregnancy also holds risks. Unlike most of my friends, I wasn’t someone who took the contraceptive pill for long, so I felt that I’d spent most of my life not pumping hormones into my body. I didn’t have a family history of breast cancer so I was considered to be in the safe category. If my body needed this to get pregnant and it was considered safe, surely it was worth trying. What would you do to have your child in your life and can you imagine life without them? When people like me try again and again it’s because they can’t imagine their own life without a child. Especially when they get so close to their dream and miscarry.
I consider myself very health conscious and a bit of a hypochondriac at the best of times, so taking the standard IVF drugs made me feel anxious. By the time I moved to a new clinic and started my 5th IVF cycle, I had researched a lot and decided it was worth trying some additional drugs that had been proven to increase success rates.
Several clinics I attended believed in the controversial ‘Reproductive Immunology’ -although about 50% of the clinics out there are against it. A lot of the treatment they used hadn’t had enough clinical trials for it to be consider evidence based research. However, many ladies I knew felt that they didn’t have time to wait around for this research to be completed and I felt that it couldn’t hurt to try once or twice. More blood tests (9 large vials in one sitting), new invasive procedures (involving slicing a chunk of womb out with nothing but a paracetamol) and new drugs (more horrible side effects) meant thousands of pounds – and that was before an IVF cycles even started.
I consulted with my brother (who is a GP) when I was unsure and he advised me that a drug I wanted to try was considered safe. Although, he was very sceptical about any treatment that wasn’t entirely evidence based, as was I. But when your heart is breaking it helps to feel like you’re trying something new and gives you hope.
You can read more about Reproductive Immunology here.
(Waiting for sedation and egg retrieval)
After a few more unsuccessful cycles, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to be a guinea pig any more and the anxiety that came with using this medication meant it wasn’t worth it for me. Infertility can make you feel pretty worthless and you find yourself going through the motions, until you realise you’ve used close to a thousand needles over 3 years. I remembered that my body was important too and no longer wanted to be a mother at any cost. It was a relief to say ‘no more’ and any IVF cycles that I might do in future would be drug-free or very minimal drugs.