Written by Fran Meadows
“Infertility” is a word that most couples don’t want to hear, but today it is more common than you know. It is devastating and puts a strain on couples emotionally and financially. It is a roller coaster ride and most people don’t even know how they got to this point. It hits you hard like you ran high speed into a brick wall. Most couples try for years before they even know something might be wrong. They are often in denial; thinking things like, “This can’t be happening to us?” Or, “Why are they pregnant and we’re not?” And, “Why is it so hard for us to have a baby?” ”Why do we have to go through this?” You hope and dream of the day you will see a positive pregnancy test or smiley face but until then you wait for that dreaded call, hoping to hear, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant”!
One in eight couples struggle with the disease known as infertility. Some couples struggle through secondary infertility which is much more common now. Infertility in simple terms is a couple that is having unprotected sex for six months to a year without conceiving. Women who can get pregnant and have had multiple miscarriages can also be infertile. There is also the male fertility factor; does your man have good swimmers? There are so many other medical conditions that can attribute to infertility that are usually found once testing or treatments have begun. When couples begin treatment your doctor will run blood tests, will do an extensive medical history consultation, and also do vaginal scans, as well as semen analysis for the man. Other miscellaneous tests may be run too. Once the test results are in they will determine which treatment is necessary or if any other medical problems have been discovered.
Intrauterine insemination known as IUI is the placing of the sperm into a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating. This procedure is used for couples with unexplained infertility and minimal male factor infertility. IUI is a quick procedure that is performed in the doctor’s office without any anesthesia. It should not be painful; some women describe it as feeling like a pap smear.
In vitro fertilization known as IVF is a timed procedure that involves removing eggs from the woman’s ovary, fertilizing it with semen, incubating the cells in a laboratory dish, and then transferring the embryo back into the uterus at the appropriate time, usually three to five days after the egg retrieval. IVF is a procedure that involves many medications taken orally, vaginally, as well as injections and hormone patches. The process of IVF usually includes Ovulation Induction, Egg Retrieval, and Embryo Transfer.
Every couple’s experience with fertility treatments are not the same. Results and side effects from medications vary and so do the emotions. Many people who go through these treatments end up successfully conceiving and giving birth. However, for some who do not achieve these same desired results, they may choose to change their path for having a child. This does not mean they have not succeeded, it just means they have changed their focus of energy onto another means of successfully beginning or expanding their family. For instance, they may opt for a donor egg, embryo donation, surrogate or choose the path of adoption instead. There are so many options, and for some that might even mean choosing to no longer try having children, but instead be content living within a happy, healthy relationship with their spouse or partner. Whatever the choice may be, many people do grow up envisioning becoming parents someday and it is my belief that everyone does deserve that chance.
For someone going through this journey be prepared when you begin fertility treatments; it is a commitment. You need to stay strong and be prepared for all things that are thrown at you. It is important to stay grounded in your relationship with your partner because it can be a strain, even on a very healthy relationship. Many people that go through this road of uncertainty seek therapy to open up and speak about what they are experiencing and feeling.
For those people who have gone through this struggle, they can relate to what I have written. For those that don’t know about infertility, then please don’t judge, but instead find out more information as to why people may need to go under treatment. Infertility is not something to be embarrassed about. We are all people, whether we are everyday couples or celebrity couples this is a real issue that can affect anyone of us, and so it is worth being educated on. Also emotionally supporting those who are going through this type of obstacle can help to alleviate their stress. A simple smile or hug can help to give a sense of hope.
My name is Fran Meadows and I am a thirty-eight year old woman that struggled with unexplained infertility for several years. When I first heard that my husband and I needed to go through treatments I was devastated and skeptical, thinking that maybe if we just continued trying it would happen naturally. I took the silent road…I kept my struggle from my family and from my friends. I did not share any part of my journey with them. My husband and I dealt with the silence together. At times I wished I would have opened up but when going through infertility there are many choices brought in front of you and this was our choice. It doesn’t mean it was the right choice. Eventually, I did seek therapy to get my emotions out about it. Therapy was a positive place for me to go and open up without feeling that I was being judged by anyone. This was very helpful for me. When I was going through the treatments I thought I was the only one, but then I found out after struggling for so long, that I was not alone! I’ve lived it, I learned from it, and now I’ve gained a sense of strength from the struggle.
During my time of going through these treatments I began to keep a journal and just recently released a self -published book entitled, The Truth Behind The Secret “Infertility” A personal diary of my journey to motherhood. The book details my experiences going through treatments, the good times, the bad times, and the overall success through my struggle.
I did become pregnant through IVF twice, although the first time I was devastated with the loss of a child at twenty five weeks pregnant. I had delivered a still born. Unfortunately, this is another chapter in my journey. One that I wish I could erase. The pain from the loss of a child whether through a miscarriage or still born experience it is something that nobody should have to experience. Support through infertility and loss of a child is a very important part of healing yourself. Thankfully though I recovered from that sad experience and I conceived again through IVF, but this time with the successful birth of my now four year old son!
I now wish to help other couples out there with my book, by giving them a sense of hope with a humorous flare and some tears. I will continue to raise infertility awareness and be heard. My advice is stay with it; everyone deserves a family! Even if you have assistance, don’t be embarrassed because you’re not alone! Let the great doctors and nurses’ help you get you there. Keeping my infertility silent was my choice, not saying that it is for others but now I speak out loud letting others know about how I made it through infertility. Life is not predictable, move forward with confidence!
Join in my journey http://www.secretinfertility.com