Infertility: When is it time to bite the bullet & get help?

I always had this weird feeling that I would struggle falling pregnant. Probably because admittedly I had never been all that careful over the years yet had never had any ‘scares’ or ‘accidents’!

I was with my previous partner for 6 years and stupidly wasn’t on any form of contraception for most of that relationship, however still… no surprises! He had had a pregnancy in a previous relationship so I was convinced that there was something wrong with me. We weren’t ever trying to conceive by any means although after years of ‘winging it’, I started to wonder how on earth I hadn’t actually fallen pregnant! So then I started freaking out imagining my life as a single, childless, cat lady. I even made an appointment with a doctor who I told “I would be so mortified if I fell pregnant right now, but I’d be more mortified if you told me I couldn’t”. After hearing my situation the Doctor told me that there’s either something seriously wrong or I’m the luckiest girl she’d ever met! After a bunch of tests, the Doctor told me I was the luckiest girl she’d ever met and handed me a prescription for the pill. Bewildered, I decided my body just must have known’ that I didn’t want to fall pregnant then!

Fast forward 4 years, my (now) husband and I decided to start trying for a baby. We were cruisey about it for the first 6 or so months, then I started wondering what was going on! After about 10 months I went to a GP and told her we’d been trying for a 12 months knowing that GP’s generally don’t start looking into things unless you have been trying for at least a year. (FYI: Infertility is considered 12 months or more of unprotected sex without conceiving!) All my bloods and hormones came back fine so she sent me on my way. (Fleeting thought… hubby should get his swimmers checked! Mind you once again he had had pregnancies in previous relationships so again I assumed the issue was me!)

After another few failing months including ovulation sticks, period tracker apps, acupuncture, and literally standing on my head after sex… still not luck. Enter psycho, frustrated, impatient Tegan. I went and saw a different GP after getting no where with the last one… this one told me I could go get regular blood tests to check that I’m ovulating… Grrrrrrr is anybody listening???? I have a perfectly 30 day cycle, I know smack bang when I’m ovulating, all my bloods/hormones have already been checked and are fine. I’m basically a picture of pregnancy health… but still no answers, no solution, no luck, no baby!

After a few more months of psycho, frustrated, impatient Teganness, I started looking at IVF websites and researching recommended IVF doctors in Sydney. With approval from hubby, I sent off a request for an initial consultation with a fertility specialist (Dr Mark Livingstone) at Genea IVF. Looking back now I can’t believe how distraught I was about this! I really threw myself one hell of a pity party! It probably didn’t help that everyone around us was falling pregnant, mostly with very little effort or no intention at all, but gosh I was so upset that it had actually come to this! Little did I know it would be the best email I would ever send!

Naively, I really thought that I’d go to this appointment and in no time we’d be starting IVF but it wasn’t like that at all. IVF is the last option and our specialist was so awesome at looking at any tests I’d already done and seeing what we still needed to find out. Basically a process of elimination! He sent me for a few more detailed blood and hormone tests and of course sent hubby for a detailed sperm test. He also sent me to get my (fallopian) tubes flushed….. HOLY HELL this was the worst!!! Literally what I imagined child birth to feel like! Basically the point is to make sure there are no blockages and give your tubes a bit of a clean out. Apparently quite a few women fall naturally after having this procedure!

So after month of getting all the tests done we see Dr Livingstone and basically I pass all mine with flying colours… but hubby’s swimmers were doing backstroke not freestyle! The verdict was we couldn’t NOT fall pregnant naturally, however our odds were lower as a result of dodgy sperm! Not the best news BUT I was sooo relieved to finally have a reason! According to Australia’s National Infertility Network, 15% of couples that struggle with infertility is diagnosed as ‘unexplained infertility’. I can’t imagine how frustrating that is.

So while everyone means well when they encourage you to “not think about it” or tell you “it will happen when it’s meant to” at the end of the day there is a large proportion of science involved. In other words, if the sperm’s not getting to my eggs then I’m falling pregnant! comprendo?

Thank god I bit the bullet, thank god I was psycho and persistent, thank god I sent that enquiry because two months later we started IVF and who knows how much time we would have waisted hitting our heads against a brick wall wondering why it wasn’t happening for us.

Of course this is just my personal experience! You might have more patience than us! You might want to give nature more of a go. Although I think it doesn’t hurt to get tested, ask questions and get informed when you’re ready to start your little family. For those perfectly healthy couples ‘trying’ there is till only a 20% chance of falling pregnant each month so you want to give yourself the best possible chance! Think of it as joining a gym… before your start your exercise program you have a fitness test to check your strengths and weaknesses!

Seeking help doesn’t necessarily mean starting IVF. There are so many fertility options out there depending on your circumstance and sometimes speaking to a professional takes the pressure off trying to work out why it’s not happening for you right now! We aren’t doctors, or fertility specialists so why torture ourselves trying to figure out something we aren’t educated in! Bite that bullet, even if its just for a little bit of a peace of mind!





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