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Looking back, would you change anything about your fertility journey?

  • Yes - please expand with comments.

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  • No - please expand with comments.

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  • Unsure

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Hi girls,

My friend has a friend who is currently going through treatment and she put her in touch with me because she felt I could offer support, which I'm very happy to do.

It's made me think a lot about my own fertility journey. I have been extremely lucky to have had successful treatment to give me my wonderful 3 boys - the family I didn't think I would have. One thing that I have been pondering is all of the things I would do differently looking back. Some of it is hard because at the time I was so very desperate for my family and I think I was truely unable to do some of the things because I was so depressed and unhappy. I was willing to do anything and I think I lost sight of a lot of things.

A few things I wish I hadn't done was waste so much money on holistic therapies because it ended up we needed IVF anyway and if I'd have saved my money we wouldn't have gotten into so much debt. I had a year of reflexology every 2 weeks (at £24 an hour). I had accupuncture every two weeks for 6 months after that (at £32 an hour) and then 6 months of Hypnotherapy every 2 weeks (at £120 an hour in a harley street clinic) not to mention unpaid days off work and travel expenses for me and Dh.

I wish I'd have taken a holiday because we can't do that now and although I adore my babies and wouldn't trade, its been so many years since I had a holiday. When we were ttc I wouldn't take a holiday because I thought the money was better spent towards trying to get pregnant.

I wish I could have stopped worrying so much and had a little bit more faith that I would get there eventually. I feel like I lost my twenties worrying about getting pregnant. It's easy to say with hindsight though because at the time I was so scared.

I hope this makes sense. I was just curious to see if others had reflected in this way and if there were things that anyone else wish they had done differently?

All my babydust to anyone still on their journey for it truely is a difficult time. Love to everyone xxx
 

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Thank you for posting this, I too feel like I am losing sight and need to be more positive.

Hopefully will get there soon ;-)

Lisa xx
 

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I am still on the fertility journey but if I was starting IVF again now I would have more tests upfront.

With unexplained infertility we just did the minimum tests each time. So we did a bit of testing (sperm assay, hysteroscopy) and hoped that IUI would work... then that IVF would work... and only after the second unsuccessful cycle did we start testing for blood clotting.

Looking back I wish I'd found out earlier that I needed Clexane. The third fresh cycle, and then a frozen cycle, both with Clexane, resulted in two BFPs. We then had m/c but it was a step forward, my first BFPs over 4 years of ttc!

After the m/cs we did natural killer cell testing. The current cycle will be our fourth, yet the first time we have got prednisolone, aspirin and clexane all together.

We did the tests we needed each time, as we discovered more things we then tested for those things. But I wish I had discovered all the factors upfront and saved myself several years of heartache.

However I know why we did it - three reasons. First, we were resisting becoming too medicalised. Second, we were in a way trying to eliminate things one at a time. And third, the natural killer cell tests have only in the last couple of years become really feasible to do - when we started, we were told by a lot of people that the NK hypothesis wasn't worth investigating.

As I say, the journey isn't over yet for us, but this is what I think so far.
 

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Very interesting Tasha!

Well for starters I'd have joined FF earlier! That way I'd have found out alot more about the process before I started IVF, rather than in the middle of my 1st cycle, after TTC for several years. I'd also have had the support of many more people and felt much less alone. :(

Like Sazzasarah, I think I was resisting becoming too medicalised and also not cutting to the chase..... but then nor were those advising me. Most of the treatment offered to me was on the basis of 'lets try this, if it doesn't work, we'll move up a gear' - and for most people I guess that's the right thing to do, no point in doing something as big or invasive as IVF, if a bit of hormone therapy will work. However I was already getting on a bit, 34 when we started tx, and I was 38 by the time I got pg. So I would probably not have spent a year on a low dose version of clomid, given that I was ovulating all along. I would also have gone to my GP sooner to actually say I had problems conceiving. I thought that you needed to be trying for a year, when at my age, 6 months was enough.
I wish I'd known the whole journey could take as many years as it did!

I might have done ICSI first time instead of 2nd time around, I needed to do one IVF cycle and find out that it was my eggs not fertilising that was preventing me getting pg, before I got offered ICSI and subsequently my chances improved.

Hindsight's a wonderful thing though and I guess if the medics had been trying to push me into going straight for IVF and then to do ICSI, I'd have been suspicious of their motives (since I was paying). Equally if you walked into a clinic and demanded IVF/ICSI straight away, they may well suggest you take it one step at a time.

However I think I would have started acupuncture with a fertility specialist sooner.... I am pretty convinced that my specialised acupuncture treatment sorted out problems with my womb lining and my horrendously painful periods, and that enabled a pregnancy to occur and stay (unlike the biochemical I had 2nd cycle). I've never had a painful period since - after 25 years being bedridden for a day every month.

Best of luck to your friend ^hugme^

Claire x
 

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Things I would have done differently:
  • Not waited so long to go to the GP - we waited nearly two years before asking for help.
  • Asked for a print out of all our test results. Hubby had an initial sperm analysis arranged through our GP which was reported back to us as 'normal'. Years later we realised that only the motility result that fell within the 'normal' parameters, the overall count was actually low. I've heard of several GPs making this same mistake, so make sure you see the actual numbers.
  • Assuming we had a female-side problem we were offered the choice of being referred to a gynaecologist or to the IVF clinic, with the gynae waiting list being two months and the IVF clinic being considerably longer. We opted for the gynae which wasted a year on tests and clomid which was never going to work. It was only when we had exhausted everything they could do for us that we moved on to the IVF clinic, where we had to join the waiting list afresh which took another six months for an appointment. If you have the choice go straight to the IVF clinic. If you think you have a female side only problem then pay to have clomid privately whilst you are waiting for IVF.
  • I would have changed clinics and paid privately. We were treated on the NHS, but from the start it felt like an uphill struggle with the clinic - lost appointments, lost results, appointments made for bank holidays when they weren't open, no one answering phones for days etc. This only got much, much worse when we actually started cycling which added to the stress massively. If a clinic doesn't feel right then don't stick with it, even if it costs you thousands of pounds.
  • I would have taken NHS waiting times with a giant bucket of salt. Add at least a year to any timescales you are given. If you don't get your hopes up you can't be too disappointed when it subsequently takes so long.
  • I would have paid for a private consultation right at the start just to get a second opinion. We stuck to the NHS, but in hindsight we were just given the one size fits all approach. We were entitled to three goes of IUI and two of IVF where we live so that's what we were getting, whether this was the most appropriate treatment for us or not. We really felt like we were on a production line and they didn't really care about the outcome so long as they'd fulfilled their duty of giving us exactly what we were entitled to.
 
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