Karen ' Interview 32

Age at interview: 34
Age at diagnosis: 32
Brief Outline: Karen went through IVF with her second husband, Phil (Interview 31) after sterilisation treatment.
Background: Karen is a nursery nurse. She is married to her second husband, Phil (Interview 31) and has four children. Ethnic background' White British.

More about me...

Karen had been previously married and had 4 children. She had been through sterilisation so she was forced to consider fertility treatment to have a child with her second husband, Phil (Interview 31). They initially chose a private clinic that offered egg sharing. But their experiences were not very positive and they finally withdrew from the egg-sharing programme. They found another private clinic, and went through IVF a second time and she was successful in getting pregnant. Karen describes going through IVF as a couple isolating, and much tougher than she anticipated. 


After a bad experience at one private clinic, Karen chose to go privately at a NHS clinic which...

We went to have a look at another place and it was an NHS, but you could go in as a private patient. So we looked at that on the internet and they had a very good reputation, a very good success rate, so we thought fair enough, yes, we’ll go and have a look at this place. And I said, “If I go for the initial evening and I don’t like it, I’m not coming back.” I said, “Do you understand? We will look for somewhere else, until, you know, we’re happy.” 
But the initial, even the initial consultation, was great, answered so many more questions. I could sit there and think, now that’s why they did that, or that’s why they did that. They answered the questions from before that I’d never got answers to. Made me feel completely at ease. Told me we could ask as many questions as we want. We could ring and ask questions if we were feeling unsure at home. The counsellor was on standby most of the time. But if you rung and said before you came there, they’d make sure someone was available to speak to you. You know, or if you said on the day that you were struggling, you might have to wait, but somebody would eventually come and speak to you and sort things out for you. And it was just, and they explained all the drugs to me on that night, “This is what you’ll be taking.” And, “This is why you are going to take this. And then we’ll give you this and this is why. And this is what this is going to help you do. This is going to help relax you on the day when you come in to have your egg collection. And they explained absolutely everything. And it was a much, from the outset it was a much nicer experience.

Every time Karen asked for a counselor she found they weren’t working unless she made a special...

And did they offer you any counselling?
They said it was available, but every time you asked to see a counsellor they weren’t there, they only worked certain days of the week, and unless you were going to make a special journey to see them, which was going to be a two hour drive, and then it was if they could fit you in, and they only see you at the beginning really, and if you wanted extra, you might have to pay extra, or you know, but then that’s not what they advertise. Oh it was, there was full time counselling, there’s this, there’s the other. And it wasn’t very nice. No. 

Karen said it was important to keep asking questions, as you would with any other form of...

Just really, just don’t think that you’ve been silly asking any questions. Ask, ask as much and as many things as you can, because I think you don’t find out anything if you don’t ask. Don’t just go along with it. Make sure you ask, make sure you do all the questions. Because if you were ill normally, under normal circumstances and you walked into a hospital, you wouldn’t just accept somebody brushing you off. You would ask all the questions, you would make sure you had all the facts and know what everything was for, and I would say to people make sure you do. Because you’ll find it much easier to deal with.
You know, make sure, no question, I don’t think is too stupid or too small because I used to think I can’t ask that, that’s silly, but it’s not, because even though it is silly, it’s important to you, and having the answer, or even just getting it off your chest. I think makes a difference.

Karen felt it was very important for health professionals to realise what you’re going through as...


The first place I think, you know, my advice to them would be, you know, think that you are dealing with people and you’re dealing with something very precious in someone’s life, you know, and in one way you’re playing God with their future. And I think realising the implications of it, and the importance of it, and realise really what they’re going through as a person, rather than just the treatment. There’s a person with all sorts going on inside them there and you know, I didn’t feel like that was recognised. You know, you’re sat in a waiting room looking at all these people and thinking you just want to talk to them and you can’t. You just feel very silent and sit there, but I think, you know, I think having, they’re your link. I mean I felt that, especially going through it, they’re the people you’ve got to rely on, the medics are there, you’ve got to rely on them and if you don’t have that support from them, you know, even if it’s just that friendly smile, and how are you today? Or did you have a really nice weekend? Would just, even if it’s not about the IVF, just to have that rapport with someone and talk to somebody as a human being instead of just saying, “Right come in, let’s take your blood. See you later.” I think you need, I think they need to realise that they’re very very important and that the person, there is a person there, solely relying on them for that support and help. Because I don’t think they realise how important it is.

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