1 in 6 couples in the UK are affected by fertility problems. Although you may not be one of those directly affected, you probably know someone who is: whether they are a family member, friend or colleague.
Over the course of National Fertility Awareness Week, Claire Owen shares – through the serialisation of her story – her IVF journey to become a parent.
Claire started writing her blog in June 2012 on the very first day of her IVF treatment, when she was 33 and husband Si was 32.
Here is her IVF journey …
Day 1 – Milestones
Life is full of milestones. Your first day of primary school. Your first kiss. Going through exam hell for the first time. Moving out of home, graduating from university, your wedding day… the list goes on.
For most people, the next milestone is finding out you’re going to be a parent. That’s the normal order of things, isn’t it? You grow up, get married, have a baby. That’s just how it works.
But what if life doesn’t work out like that? What if every notion you ever had about your future is shattered in one brief chat at the doctor’s surgery? For my husband Si and I, the five words that changed our lives were: “We couldn’t find any sperm”.
Si and I had always been sure that we wanted to have children. We were lucky in that we both loved kids and thought we’d be fairly decent parents – we’re nice people, we do our recycling, we give to charity, yadda yadda. But we were sensible. We wanted to wait for the right time to start trying, and it was only when we’d got married, found decent jobs and had moved into a home of our own that we finally bit the bullet.
Of course there were practical things to consider first. Would we have enough money, was our home big enough, how would we manage for childcare? There were lots of potential hurdles, but we knew they weren’t insurmountable. Unless you are filthy rich, there are always going to be financial and logistical concerns about having children and we knew we could always find excuses not to go for it. One of Si’s early excuses was that we have laminated flooring and the baby would hurt its knees when it was crawling!
So, after a lot of thought, we decided to start trying.
And months and months passed without the faintest sign of a thin blue line.
I remember when Si first told me that they hadn’t found any sperm after an initial test. I almost laughed at what he was saying – “how can they not find ANY sperm? That’s ridiculous”. I can’t remember if it was the first or second test where the word “azoospermia” was used. Of course, neither of us had ever heard of it – and so I immediately Googled it.
I may as well have taken a knife to my insides – first rule, don’t Google a medical diagnosis, for the love of God! The first few pages were full of the tales of woe of men who had azoospermia, which basically means you either aren’t producing any sperm, or you ARE producing sperm but there’s a blockage in your tubes.
Naturally, I automatically presumed the worst – that it meant we would never, ever have children.
Claire’s IVF journey continues see related post below.