A lot of people ask us how we got pregnant (because, you know, two women can’t make a baby without some form of help just yet), and I am always incredibly proud to say that it was through IVF. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma attached to IVF and I honestly don’t know why. Is it because of ignorance? Religion? Cost? The process is absolutely amazing, and allows women to fulfil their dream of carrying a child. It puzzles me how often women are quick to judge and comment on another woman’s choice to do whatever the heck she wants. Why aren’t we praising each other and lifting each other up? Aren’t there already enough people out there who want to put us down? Why do we go and do that to our fellow sisters?
But… I digress. Our decision to undergo IVF was an easy, yet difficult one to make. There were many factors in the decision-making process, but ultimately, it was the next (and last) option for us.
During our Summer holidays in 2016, we tried three cycles of IUI. It was the perfect time to just try as often as possible, because “G” was super relaxed and we didn’t have to worry about taking time off work or stressing about how to ovulate at the right time outside of working hours. During our sixth unsuccessful insemination, our regular fertility doctor was on holidays, so “G” met with his colleague. She immediately asked “G” why we were still trying with the IUI process and not taking the IVF route or even switching utero to ME! We were actually quite shocked by this, as despite “G” being 37, she has always been really healthy and way above average, medically speaking. IVF simply wasn’t on our radar, and the later thought was downright rude.
** Quick side note on why we both think the switching uterus comment is rude. Quite a lot of people asked us why we didn’t switch to me, or when we would decide to switch to me, or even simply suggested switching to me, because clearly everyone else knows best. I know our friends and family were not intending to be rude, and probably didn’t think twice about the comments, but for us, these comments really hurt. If it was a heterosexual couple, would you suggest switching to someone else’s uterus so quickly? “G” wanted to get pregnant first, and I totally and 100% supported her in this. My time will definitely come. We weren’t going to give up so quickly, especially since we hadn’t tried everything.
After our seventh unsuccessful insemination attempt, we decided to weigh up our options and talk more about IVF. “G” and I weren’t in a good place, and our relationship was under strain. I certainly didn’t feel like we were connecting, and “G” was feeling 10 times worse than me. Imagine feeling like your uterus is failing every time a big fat negative appears on a test, or when your period comes. On the outside, we projected the image of a happy couple, but deep down, we were devastated. We both hated the thought of going out, so we’d spend days at home, wallowing in our despair. This probably wasn’t the best thing to do, but at the time, it felt like it was the only thing we could do to cope.
Our regular fertility doctor supported our decision to try something new, so we continued down this path. Up until this point, we had done everything naturally, with no additional hormones or medication. “G” was physically fit, so our fertility doctor didn’t suggest anything different. In fact, he was always super positive and happy. Seriously, the guy whistled every time “G” opened her legs.
Although we were both extremely crushed at the time, we had to keep thinking about the fact that seven failed cycles was actually not a bad statistic at all. It can take couples years to conceive a child without any assistance, so we needed to stay positive. Easier said than done.
We had a few things going against us that required us to speed up the trying to conceive process. The biggest factor that we had to consider was finances. IUI and IVF aren’t cheap options; sperm costs money, the procedures cost money. Everything that touches and doesn’t touch you, costs money. We are extremely grateful and fortunate to live in Germany, as the costs are much cheaper than in the UK, US and Australia, but they are still steep. We had to budget and save constantly.
We didn’t want to keep paying for IUI attempts when the probability of getting pregnant was much lower than the success rate of IVF treatment. Each IUI had a 13% chance of success as opposed to 40-50% with IVF. The switch to IVF was a no-brainer at this point.
So, after that Summer, we took a couple of months to regroup and get back on our feet before starting the IVF process. It wasn’t always easy, and we fought and cried and hugged each other a lot, but ultimately, we both wanted the same thing, so we kept going.