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Infertility

Difficult parts of IVF/ICSI treatment

Couples sometimes find that dealing with infertility and its treatment is both physically and emotionally demanding. While they were often very grateful for their treatment, many also felt frustration, resentment and sadness at needing to have medical treatment to get pregnant. Some of the couples we talked to said that they felt they had failed at something that should be so natural and easy. 
 
Belinda was shocked by how clinical the treatment was, and felt the romance of trying to conceive had completely gone. Clare felt that something so special and romantic had been “destroyed” by IVF.
 

Naomi conceived twins with donor eggs and sperm, but while incredibly grateful to medical science...

Naomi conceived twins with donor eggs and sperm, but while incredibly grateful to medical science...

Age at interview: 35
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 30
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Yes, I really resented it. Really resented the fact that we couldn’t just go to bed and get pregnant like every other couple can. The fact that, our children, well, the fact that now our children are actually genetically not going to be linked to us. In the miracles of modern science it means we can now have children it is amazing and we will be forever grateful to the people who donated their eggs as well. But it does anger me that we were never able to just go to bed, and have sex and have a child. You know, it’s not a right, that is completely the wrong word to use but it is what people see as a natural progression, and for that to be interrupted is really hard to deal with.

Several women felt that each cycle got harder, as they grew more familiar with the highs and lows.
 
Sandra, and others, said they wished they had known how physically and emotionally hard it could be to go through treatment. Liz described her ICSI treatment as highly traumatic, almost comparable to a terminal illness because of the nature of the, “Be all and end all outcomes”.
 

Fiona now realised she was not prepared for how hard it was going to be. Talking to other people...

Fiona now realised she was not prepared for how hard it was going to be. Talking to other people...

Age at interview: 41
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 33
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I don’t think we realised how hard it was going to be. I mean they say to you, “It is hard.” And you know, you need to be… people don’t tell you, I think how emotionally strong you need to be, I think. You know, that it is going to take its toll physically. You know that you’re going to have lots of things done to you. And at the time you just think, well I’ll do whatever it takes. So you don’t really think about that. But I don’t think there was enough emphasis on the emotional side of things. You are offered counselling, and I was really fortunate, because the person that we went to for counselling, we had the two sessions together and then I had her as a counsellor actually for years afterwards. And we just kind of, I just found that I could really talk to her. So that was good.
 
Although I do feel that subsequently actually I did come to rely her on too much and I felt that that was stopping me from doing things myself. I was just going in and pouring it all out there. 
 
But yes, I just, I feel that we weren’t prepared and I think a good way to prepare people would be to talk to people who have been through it, rather than just go to evenings, because you put all your hopes into those doctor and those nurses. They’re the people that are going to work the miracle for you, they’re the people or you, they’re the people that are going to, you know, so whilst they do all say well is this might not work, this might not work. You just don’t see it. You just go in there and you think, right I am going to do, I am going to have my baby and of course you are sitting there.
 
The biggest thing, I think they need to do it to a certain extent, but I do not think they should have all the photos up on the wall. I really don’t, because that again, just re-enforces either what you have not got or what you are desperate for. And, you know, there are some people that have come in and are going through subsequent attempts, having had a baby. They are there with their blooming babies sitting there, and all you want to do is kill the baby. Or kill the people for having had the baby.
 
People were also often surprised to discover what was involved in treatment – for example not everyone knew in advance that egg collection involved an operation. One woman said that she had imagined it might be like a ‘”glorified smear test”; another thought it might involve a spatula.
 

Clare had to overcome her fear of needles and was surprised to discover that egg collection...

Clare had to overcome her fear of needles and was surprised to discover that egg collection...

Age at interview: 35
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 31
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I think it was probably more involved than I expected it to be. I didn’t realise I was going to have quite so many injections and blood tests and scans and things like that. And having to do daily injections and then twice-daily injections myself. I mean I think that’s one of the biggest things that I was terrified of, because I’ve got a real phobia of needles. And the thought of actually having to do my own injections, actually sort of press the button on the thing and stick it into me. Which for someone who’s got diabetes for example is not going to faze them in the slightest. But for me, who had a lifelong aversion to going anywhere near a needle, I just thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. The egg collection was very different from what I expected as well. And I think that again a lot of my friends really had no idea what was involved in that, until that programme was on just before Christmas, ‘A Child Against All Odds’. And they actually showed the egg collection on TV. And I had quite a lot of interesting feedback from my friends at that stage, saying, “I didn’t realise that was actually what it involved.” You know, I think they kind of thought they put a spatula in and just collected them all out or something. They didn’t realise it was actually a needle. And that was quite traumatic to begin with, because I was quite worried about sort of going in for an operation and everything. But it was actually, again it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was quite sore and a bit swollen and pretty tender afterwards, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected it. 
 
I think the absolute worse time during the whole cycle was the wait between the transfer of the embryos to find out whether you were pregnant. 
 
While some people described unpleasant side effects from the drugs, such as mood swings and tiredness, the main unpleasant physical side-effects of treatment was associated with egg collection. Clare (above) and others did not find egg collection painful or upsetting, but others found it very unpleasant or even “horrible” as Fiona described it. She had opted to remain awake for her first egg collection and found it very painful. The next time, her mother lent her the £100 she needed to have a general anaesthetic. 
 

Fiona described the unpleasant side effects of her IVF, in particular how agonising she found her...

Fiona described the unpleasant side effects of her IVF, in particular how agonising she found her...

Age at interview: 41
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 33
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There are lots of things that happen along the way, that you think I wish they had told us as they were doing it. 
 
So I had my egg [ovary] stimulated, that was fine. It feels like you are walking round with sacks of potatoes in you, it is an absolutely horrible feeling, and I think throughout the stimulation, the nasal stimulation that is not so bad, but then you start to get like menopausal symptoms, you get night flushes, you get emotional, you cry. Well I did. Very up and down. [Husband] was very patient.
 
And then when you start the injections, that is when things start to kind of grow inside you, your ovaries go, so then you start to feel like you are really heavy, which I hated that feeling. Walking round carrying these things inside me.
 
But my ovaries did stimulate that time and we were ready for egg collection. So of course, you get really excited then, you get told that there is plenty going on in there, it is all very exciting. 
 
But the one thing I wish they had told me is how horrible egg collection is. Because nobody told us. So we were told to take a CD and I would have a sedative and you know, they would take the eggs. And it was just agony. I just…
 
I was really cross with them because I took one of my favourite CDs, and I can remember lying on the bed looking at the ceiling and there is this lovely, kind of, you know, music. I can’t remember what it was now. And now for me, the memory of that is ruined, because when I listen to that. I think it was like ‘Adie’ which is very kind of choral and I can’t listen to it now, without seeing myself back on that bed, having somebody like pull your insides out. To me that is what it felt like. I wasn’t asleep and I could feel them absolutely, just dragging these eggs out. And it is… I am quite cynical now. But it is really bizarre because every time they get an egg, they go, “Oh, an egg.” You know, like, and at the time you are really excited, you think ‘that’s my potential baby’, but actually it is just an egg.
 
And they show it you on the screen and you are like, ‘ooh’ and you have all got to go, ‘ooh how lovely’. I found that very, very painful and afterwards incredibly painful. I mean I came home and just, you know, I felt like they had just pulled all my insides out. 
 
But of course you recover from that, because then you have got the possibility of your eggs, you know, and I think we had, we didn’t have a major collection then. I think was about eight eggs, which by kind of, I guess standards, isn’t that many and then [husband] does his bit and they fertilise them.
 
Sarah found her egg collection incredibly painful, and described it as, “Without a doubt the worst experience of my life…just so awful….so traumatising.” Egg collection was also described as a difficult experience by the men who witnessed their wives or partners going through it (see ‘Men’s experiences of fertility treatment’).
 
Some women also experienced hyperstimulation (OHSS) as a result of the drugs. This can vary from mild to severe. It was uncomfortable and frightening, and for some women this meant that they had to stop their cycle until the bloating had gone down. 
 

Martha was hyperstimulated with the drugs given to her for her IUI and found it was even worse...

Martha was hyperstimulated with the drugs given to her for her IUI and found it was even worse...

Age at interview: 34
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 30
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The hyper-stimulation with the IVF was quite a lot worse. And that is the one where you can die basically. I mean I was never close to dying but I don’t think that you can, and that is what they, you know, …And again I thought, then again may be I am just really, really unlucky but they tell you at the beginning this is one of those things where you do this like, you know, these pages and pages of small print, oh no you can have this thing, OSS or OHS or whatever they call it, but it is really, really rare. Ra ra ra ra, you know, they kind of just gloss over it and I think well actually this has happened to me twice how rare really is it. Is this honestly that rare or is this may be a bit more of a danger then people tell you about. Or is it just because… everybody who goes in there, is in there for a completely different reason. You know, there are people in there because, you know, they are far too old and everything has kind of gone. And this is last stage it could happen. And then there are people like us who are a lot younger and it is unexplained and there is nothing actually anyone could find wrong. And then there is people with really very clear problems, you know, and yet they are treating everybody who goes in for IVF with a sort of blanket, I don’t know, this sort of theory, you know, this is how it works, this is how we do it, it doesn’t matter what is wrong with you. This is what we are doing. I suppose that is probably not a hundred % true if there are something that is obvious, they probably do certain other things too, but you know, there is a sort of bottom line, like that is what you do. And to me that always seemed kind of bizarre for somebody who has may be, you know, got low hormone levels or has got something else, then yes, you probably need this amount of medication to get things going. But for someone like me, who there was no proven problem. It just, I am not a doctor, but it seems to me, you know, a little bizarre that you would assume that I needed this really high, you know, level of kind of hormonal treatment. Or that you would assume that I wouldn’t hyperstimulate, you know, given that because obviously everything is already working pretty much all right. So to me, it would seem you probably need less to get everything going, and, anyway, I knew, you know, I knew from the beginning really that I was going to hyperstimulate because I said it had happened before and you know it was the same dose of medicine and… but there are many more follicles because they were allowed to develop and you know, but the time I got really ill with it, I already knew it was happening and I knew we weren’t being able to go through the cycle, but I also knew I was going to finish it so that they could freeze them because there was no way I was doing this again basically, and I thought well this is our, you know, our chance where we are going to do it I am not doing it again, and so towards the end which is, it was really antithetical to everything that you want to think, because you know, this is happening but you are still injecting yourself at this time because you have to get it to go through to sort of complete.
 
And so I, I am trying to think how this worked. It will have been quite close to the egg collection by that point when I really started to, you know, my stomach… You can see the size of me, I had something like a 36 inch waist because of the fluid, you know, the way it was swelling. I mean I looked pregnant. I also looked several months pregnant. Really painful. I mean I remember thinking I could really straighten up because it was so painful all the time, it was like aching or whatever and sharp pains as well and you feel horrendously sick and you know, all this. 
 
Meanwhile I am to drag up there every two days and also look after a four year old, a three year old. And then there was a night when they say, you should watch up for a really rapid increase in your, you know, weight, or your, you know, the size of your middle. And both those things happened. I gained five pounds in kind of like an hour or something because what happens is everything is swelling, it is retaining fluid and you just, that is when you can get really into big trouble basically.

So I phoned up the ward, and they were great. You have to come up here. I don’t mind coming up here, but it was quite late at night and they said, “Okay. You can go down to Borders. The local hospital. So I did go there and basically they couldn’t do anything. They just sort of watched and made sure I didn’t get worse and it didn’t get worse and so I just kind of stayed where I was for a couple more days until they did the egg collection and then even after that, they do the egg collection, for a while you feel better because all the stuff has sort of been drained out. And then it all fills up again and so it takes weeks to go away. And the reason why they won’t, apparently why they won’t do they, they won’t transfer the embryo if you have had that, is because if you actually got pregnant after that you would end up really, really, ill for kind of several months, whereas if you let it go away and subside and whatever then ultimately it goes back to normal. So yes…. it is pretty horrific yes. 
 
Emotional Impact
Many women (and men) found the emotional impact of fertility treatment the hardest thing to cope with. Women described the treatment and uncertainty of whether it would work or not as hitting them on many different levels. Sarah said that she found it a shock to be one of those people going through the “tragedy” of fertility treatment. 
 
People we talked to often said that the most difficult part of the cycle of fertility treatment – be it IUI, IVF or ICSI – was the waiting. There was the waiting for appointments to arrive and the treatment to start. Several described the isolation of this period – one called it a “black hole of waiting”, another, “its all just one long wait”. But the hardest was often the two-week wait after embryo transfer or IUI to find out whether or not the treatment had worked. Women had different ways of coping with these weeks. Some took time off work and either rested at home or took a short break away. Others tried to forget about it as much as possible by keeping busy.
 

During the wait after embryo transfer, Clare monitored her every physical sensation as a possible...

During the wait after embryo transfer, Clare monitored her every physical sensation as a possible...

Age at interview: 35
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 31
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I think the absolute worse time during the whole cycle was the wait between the transfer of the embryos and to find out whether you were pregnant. Because for sort of four weeks up until that stage, four or five weeks up until that stage you’d been doing something every day. You’d been remembering to take your tablets, have your injections, you know, do your jabs, make sure you go, go for your blood test, have your scan, have your egg collection. And then you were waiting to find out about your fertilisation rate. And then you go for your embryo transfer and they put the embryos back in. And then that’s it. And you’re just like, “And what do I do now?” And I mean some women do take injections and pessaries and things afterwards. But our clinic didn’t do anything like that at the time. And you do feel sort of very in limbo, as if you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to be doing. And just the whole two weeks when you’re just feeling every single twinge and every single pain. And any little bit of spotting that you might get, you know, “Is that implantation spotting? Or, am I, is my period about to start?” And, “Do my breasts feel different?” And, “Do I feel sick?” And just analysing absolutely every single symptom. Which if you conceive naturally you just don’t even think about. You know, you think, you make love in the middle of your cycle and then realise that your period’s a couple of weeks late. And you think, “Oh, I might be pregnant” and you test. Whereas with IVF you have, you know the exact time of conception. You know, those embryos were put back in at 11 o’clock on the Tuesday morning. And you know that exactly fourteen days later you have to take a pregnancy test to see whether you’re pregnant or not. And it’s a very very long two weeks, a very long two weeks. And I think that was the hardest bit. You know, the injections and the scans and everything else were quite stressful because there was no, so many stages during the cycle where things could have gone wrong. But I think it was those two weeks of just waiting and waiting and waiting and feeling every single pain and twinge and cramp in your body. And just reading every sign-, you know, some days you’re reading it all and thinking, “I’m pregnant. ” And the next day, you know, your symptom disappeared, or your stomach started to hurt and you were convinced your period was arriving. And the day after you’d feel differently again. And it was very very difficult, very difficult.

The emotional journey of fertility treatment is often described as a rollercoaster, a continuing cycle of potential highs and lows at subsequent stages of the treatment. Nigel said the various failed treatments he and his wife had were a “massive emotional rollercoaster”. 
 

Sarah was prepared for one disappointment at the end of her IVF treatment, but not all the ups...

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Sarah was prepared for one disappointment at the end of her IVF treatment, but not all the ups...

Age at interview: 36
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 33
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So I felt that a lot during the first course. The first course of treatment. And I also, I found it, all in all much, much worse than I’d anticipated. I mean I think I am a reasonably, you know, well until all this happened, a reasonably pragmatic, sensible person. And I think it is fair to say that whole IVF experience has been much, much worse then I would ever have anticipated. And I think it is really one of them things, that, you know, as I said, there’s only them has had it knows, and I think it really is the case with this. I’d have had no appreciation of it until I had done it myself.

 
Anyway we started the IVF in 2005 and I think the thing that surprised me as well is it is not just one disappointment because I would have imagined before that you would get on, you know, kind of on the treatment, went through the treatment cycle and basically the one disappointment would be at the end. You would do the pregnancy test and it were negative and that would be the big disappointment that you had to gear yourself up for.
 
And I suppose what I weren’t geared up for all the little highs and mostly lows in between, in terms of, you know, every time you went what were your blood levels going to like, were your follicles going to be there, were there going to be enough, and were they going to be big enough, and so every appointment you went to it seemed as though it’s on, it’s off, it’s on, it’s off. And I hadn’t really anticipated that at all. 
Women sometimes described the emotional aspects of treatment as affecting them in every part of their lives. Mary said IVF was a “harrowing process” to go through, hitting you on a physical, emotional and social level. Frances found her treatment “emotionally wearing”. Women sometimes felt as though their lives had been on hold, but also found it hard to turn off the desire to be a parent. The fact that references and pictures of pregnancy and babies seem to be everywhere (in the street, on the TV, in the supermarket) was sometimes really hard to bear.
 

Carol felt that her life has been on hold for too long, and yet found it very hard to turn off...

Carol felt that her life has been on hold for too long, and yet found it very hard to turn off...

Age at interview: 39
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 27
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I think our lives have been on hold for far too long really. The problem is that there is no turning off, there is no switching off the desire in your head to be a parent. You only have to turn on the television and see pregnant newsreaders and presenters… all the way through to Pampers adverts, to opening your curtains and the first thing is people walking past who are pregnant or with small ones taking them to school. I don’t think, unless you are a hermit on some outer Hebride, Hebridean island I don’t think that ever you will be able to turn off that switch. So there isn’t a break really. And also, PCOS sufferers tend very much to be poor sleepers and usually awaken between three and four in the morning and I have noticed very much so that I am lying awake almost listening for a baby I haven’t got if I am really honest. Thinking I should be getting up now. I should be giving a feed, I should be giving a cuddle and I am not, and it is almost like my brain is playing a horrible trick, trick on me.
 
So you are haunted by it? 
 
Yes, yes, it is like being haunted. The nearest I can liken it to, if I am really honest, is it is like dealing with somebody that has died but I have got no body to bury and I have got no place to go and grieve. I can’t go to a grave and lay flowers. It is just there all the time. There is no sort of respite.
 
 

Naomi said that she never imagined that not having a child would take such a toll on many areas of her life.

Naomi said that she never imagined that not having a child would take such a toll on many areas of her life.

Age at interview: 35
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 30
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It must have taken a huge toll on you both.
 
It did. It was enormous. I think we were very lucky in that we’re both very open people. So we were able, all the way through, apart from as I say during the adoption we had some difficult times, but really all the way through we were able to talk about it. There wasn’t ever a time when I felt, oh I need to talk. I can’t speak to my husband about but I’ll go and talk to somebody else. But it’s so draining. As I say it impacts on every area of your life. It impacts on your friendships. It impacts on your family relationships. It impacts hugely on your work life, because the number of times in the last sort of six years, that I’ve said, no I won’t go for that job, because hopefully I’ll be on maternity leave in six months time or whatever. And hugely ironically, the only time that I actually did say, yes, I am going to go for it, I am going to do this thing, I am going do this opportunity I then got pregnant ten months later [laughs]. So it does really impact on the sort of decisions that you make. I joined my company because they are, one of the, well its great job, but one of the reasons was because they are such a supportive company for when people have families. Now I joined them in 2002. And it is now 2008. You know, I wasn’t expecting to wait this long.
 
So it does take a toll in a lot of areas that people just wouldn’t even think about, you know, no one would dream that not being able to have a child would make you cry when you go round Sainsbury’s. But it does.
 
 

Catherine was finally successful conceiving through IVF but she was surprised how her infertility...

Catherine was finally successful conceiving through IVF but she was surprised how her infertility...

Age at interview: 45
Sex: Female
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And I remember the nurse ringing me up at home. And my mum was there, and we just both burst into tears. It was just, I c-, really couldn’t believe that after four years I was finally pregnant and I was normal and like everyone else and going to have a baby. Because I think that’s the, that’s one of the most difficult things about it really. You do feel that you are not the same as everyone else, that you’ve kind of failed as a woman somehow. Everyone else seems to be able to do this thing so easily, and you just grow up expecting that you’ll be able to have children if you want to. And discovering that you can’t, it’s really hard to describe how much that affects you actually, how much it affects the way you see yourself and how you feel about yourself. And it starts to impact on just everything you do. You know, you can’t walk along the street, you can’t go out without seeing babies and pregnant people. And, you know, you switch on the television and everything seems to be focused on, you know, all the adverts, lovely little soft babies. And, and it’s like you’re sort of completely isolated from society really. I mean it’s quite amazing how, how much you start to feel like that and how quickly you start to feel like that as well. You know, all your friends, we didn’t tell people at first and everyone was always saying, “Oh, when are you going to . . ?” “Oh, well.” If you don’t tell them it’s worse in a way, because everyone says, “Oh, you really ought to start trying. You know, you can’t leave it much longer.” You’re just like, “Leave us alone.” It is really difficult I think that, that isolation. And it’s something that people don’t understand. You know, there’s often a lot of criticism of, you know, whether people should have fertility treatment on the NHS, and people kind of say, “Oh, well, it’s not going to kill you, is it?” And I think they really underestimate how much it affects you psychologically. A lot of people do get really really depressed when they are going through it. And it, I think it’s, it is really underestimated, that side of it, the emotional impact of infertility and of treatment as well. I think people just simply can’t understand unless they’ve actually been there themselves really.

 

Brian felt as though his life was on hold, but that his wife felt as though her life was over. He...

Brian felt as though his life was on hold, but that his wife felt as though her life was over. He...

Age at interview: 33
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 32
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Do you feel like your life is on hold?
 
I think I felt that my life was on hold. I think [wife] felt like her life was over. Sounds very terrible doesn’t it but that’s. For a period of time that’s what it was like for her I think. She was very, very, very depressed at one point but I don’t think she realised how much. And then she turned a lot of her depression into anger against other people which wasn’t very nice for them or us really. The amount of rows we had just because I thought she was being unreasonable but then she was just being emotional which she had every right to be. See I’m the much more sane one.
 
[Laugh] how hard was it supporting her through that?
 
Oh don’t get me wrong we did support each other through that. It wasn’t just me but emotionally to support her was very, very hard. But her family were brilliant. Her mum and dad were brilliant. My mum and dad were very good as well. 
 
The uncertainty of whether their treatment was going to work and a sense of being out of control, or powerlessness, was very difficult for people to cope with. Women sometimes described their infertility as being a real knock to their self-confidence. Some thought that other people did not always understand how difficult it was, or lacked sympathy when it came to using NHS resources for fertility treatment.
 

Martha found it incredibly frustrating to be up against something that she could not find a way...

Martha found it incredibly frustrating to be up against something that she could not find a way...

Age at interview: 34
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 30
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I think also because I am quite [huh] really I am quite driven and quite sort of self motivated. I’m a writer you don’t have to be like that you are working by yourself every single day, to do something, and I am just like that. I am someone who I never quite, I never really take no for answer. And if somebody tells me, “Oh that is not possible.” I am like, “Oh yes, it is.” And that is kind of my attitude towards most things when I think generally it has been true in my life. You know, there has been a way through almost everything. As long as you kept at it, and you know, you stuck to it. And I suppose in the end that is borne out too, you know, here because I did have [son]. But at the time I wasn’t looking at it that way obviously because I wasn’t on the other side of it. And what I just kept thinking was, I can’t believe that I am up against something that I can’t actually find a way around. you know, that was always hard. It was like, because suddenly you are faced with something that you can’t do anything about. There is nothing. You can’t control it. you know, there is nothing you can do. There is nothing, or you know you can try and for a while you do all these weird things and you are eating this and taking that and this is all before you are getting any sort of real medical treatment. Going to acupuncture, going to reflexology. You know, and you think there has got to be a way, one of these things, and everybody tells you oh this will work, that will work. And you could spend all day doing these things and I do think there was a point at some point, I just realised there is nothing I can do to make this happen, like there is nothing more that, you know, that I can do. And I think that was also quite important in that okay this is my cutoff, you know, having this cutoff because I think as long as it was going on I couldn’t stop thinking well there must be something I have missed. There must be something I can do, so yes, in that way, it was quite difficult. 

 

Rachel gave up treatment and went on to adopt two girls. She found her infertility a real knock...

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Rachel gave up treatment and went on to adopt two girls. She found her infertility a real knock...

Age at interview: 48
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 41
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So, it was an awful year, and at one point, I think I got ill as well, and I think the whole being ill part of it, was probably a physical manifestation of the emotional stuff that I was going through. And, and it is like this thing when you sit on a bus, and everybody seems to be getting on with their life, and you have got this thing inside you that says, you know, I am desperately unhappy, and you know, everybody else is getting on with their lives, and you don’t, I didn’t want to socialise, I didn’t want to go out with, you know, people really, because like they go out with groups from work, and I wouldn’t do that, and I really did pull away from people to quite a big extent. 
 
It knocks your confidence as well. That is the other issue. You don’t feel confident. Because it actually [sighs] it changed my view of myself, as a woman. Because I can’t conceive and I don’t feel complete because of that and I think that is a really big issue. I mean some people choose not to have children. But I never got the, you know, I never actually got the chance. I wanted to do the birth, I wanted to be able to give birth and I have been denied that, and I think for me, I found that really hard. Plus I like, you know, I like little babies, but I wanted our little baby. And so that year was very much tied up a lot with that, with me grieving for that which I didn’t have.
 
And one or two of my friends who were pregnant, actually didn’t tell me they were pregnant, because they knew that I would get really, really upset. And then I would find out that they had had the baby and then I would know. 
 


​Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated July 2017.
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