About eight years ago my partner and I started to think about having children. We’ve been living together for 11 years, and in a civil partnership for three of those years.
My partner always wanted to have children and knew from a young age that she wanted to be a parent.
After talking about it we decided that I would have first go, although my partner thought she might also like to try later on too.
First, this involved me coming off medication for epilepsy, as we knew the medication could harm a foetus. As doctors thought I no longer needed to be on the medication, having been fit free for a long time, this proved to be quite easy and probably the easiest part of the whole process.
Next, we started looking into fertility treatment and were seen by hospital number one. This, however, got us not very far forward as there was a very limited service available and in the end we needed help in finding somewhere more suitable. This turned out to be hospital number two. At the same time we were able to select our donor and order his ‘active ingredient’ from the European Sperm Bank.
We have been attending hospital number two for several years and have gone through intrauterine insemination (IUI), assisted IUI and IVF treatments. It has been a very long and difficult process, with much heartache, especially when rounds have failed. There have been many problems encountered on the journey, mainly with my insides, and subsequent investigations and treatment have meant that the journey has taken us a lot longer than we ever anticipated.
On our 12th or 13th attempt (we have lost count) – the last attempt for me, I had decided – we successfully got pregnant with the help of Clexane injections.
We are now six months into the pregnancy and although I am having to get more scans and obstetrician appointments than is the norm, things are looking OK at the moment, so fingers crossed we will have our baby in October.
In practical terms, the journey has cost us approx £30,000 and has involved us having to pay for treatment privately. We have managed to pay for the treatments, but when our baby is born we will probably have to make drastic changes to our budgets as our savings have been eaten into quite a bit.
Work, on the whole, has been very supportive. My partner has not encountered any problems getting time off for appointments etc. I have managed to get time off although at times my boss has been reluctant and has sought advice as to whether or not she needs to give it to me.
In emotional terms, the journey has been a roller coaster. Going down the fertility treatment route has meant spending time on waiting lists to see the first hospital, then being disappointed when no service could be given. At the second hospital we paid privately, which meant we were seen and started treatment more quickly, but issues were discovered about my insides which subsequently caused anxiety and more waiting. Failed rounds of treatment caused further disappointment and heartache.
The final positive result was a surprise, a good one, but with all the problems encountered getting to this point, at times I still expect it not to work out and for things to go wrong, which in a way dampens the excitement of the whole thing.
My advice to anyone starting down this road is, don’t give up. Start saving early. Don’t assume you will get pregnant first time (or at all). Have a support network to help you emotionally eg. partner (very important).