My partner, Kati, and
I discovered some years ago that we would have difficulty having children.
Since then we've been through all kinds of tests, and our treatment has
included clomiphene, IUI, and IVF.
The pain of infertility is difficult to explain to anyone who hasn't been through it. It's like losing a part of yourself every month. After a while you become afraid to hope, afraid to feel, afraid to be happy. You get on with your life, you work, you have friends; but all the time you're carrying a huge, black rock in your stomach, and there's a sick feeling in your throat, and a sense of emptiness in your life which nothing can fill. You watch your friends get pregnant, and their babies arrive, and you still keep trying, and their second babies arrive, and you start to realise that you're getting older, and it might never happen, and biological time is running out.
Some people can be supportiveand that's great. Other people can just be interested, and ask you how things are, and not run away when you tell them how it makes you feeland that's great, too. But many infertile couples will tell you there are times when you meet people who say 'It's nature's way', or 'What you're going through makes me feel so grateful that I can have kids', or 'You should try to be positive, otherwise it won't work'. These kind of attitudes are very unhelpful... Whether or not you feel you can tell people is a personal decision; but on the whole we've found it more helpful to talk about our infertility, because it's so rewarding when you find someone who cares.
If you'd like to see some pictures of the embryos from our IVF cycles, click here. If you're suffering from infertility, or you just want to know more, there are plenty of places on the web where you can go:
My partner's site, dedicated to collecting personal accounts of infertility. If you have a story to tell, or you just want to read about the impact of infertility on people's lives, click the link.
The most professional and wide-ranging infertility support on the web, with excellent message boards, loads of information and links, and a great chat room (so Kati says, anyway).
The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority. Whatever you think of them, it's a good site, and they'll send you detailed information about clinics in the UK for free.
The national infertility support service.
The website of the infertility support group.
In the real world, another consideration is counselling. The issue might cause friction between you and your partner (it sometimes does with us), but it's supportive to the person in therapy, and can provide an outlet for all those unbearable feelings which you and your partner find it difficult to discuss after so many years.
Persist with your doctor, too. Keep asking for treatment. Keep asking for tests. You'll probably find that, very soon, your GP knows less than you doso you have to take charge.
Above all, don't give up hope.