“We went into our third cycle with an open mind, knowing we had support around us and we were tackling this new challenge as a team.”
I have grown up having to work so hard to get to where I am today. I had to study hard to get the grades I needed to get into the course I wanted, I had to train harder in sports to make the top teams and had to dedicate a substantial portion of my life to achieving my highly sort after career.
It came as no shock to me that when I decided to start a family, my situation had not changed much. I met my husband when I was in my late twenties after a series of horrible relationships and I still to this day cannot believe how lucky I am to have found him.
We decided to start trying for a baby when I reached my early to mid-thirties after we came back from our honeymoon, which seemed like the perfect time in our lives. We tried for about 12 months all the while watching with frustration as friends and family members around us fell pregnant so easily. I reached out to one of my high school friends who was an IVF scientist at the time, and he advised me to make an appointment to see a specialist.
All my results came back normal, medically there was no reason why I was having so much trouble falling pregnant. When my husband’s results came back, it was a different story.
Our specialist sat us down and told us that my husband had something called Sertoli cell-only syndrome, a condition that meant he could not produce sperm, and that we would need to find a donor to have children. I felt that the floor had completely dropped around me and I was left standing alone, holding my teary husband’s hand, wondering what on earth we should do. He took the news very hard and for a while, our relationship seemed to suffer, we were frustrated at the situation, angry that we had wasted time, bitter towards his brother who announced they were expecting their second child.
The pressure from the family was enormous. We were not comfortable telling extended family about our situation and as a result, they threw in the occasional insensitive comment without realising how much it hurt us.
After months of research and concentrating on supporting one another through our journey, we settled on finding a sperm donor through a fertility clinic. The decision was painful but at the same time, it was a step in the right direction for us and we knew that we could get through this next hurdle together.
We found a donor that looked almost identical to my husband when he was a child and began the long process of IVF. After our first two attempts with no success, I felt the frustration building up again and the stress of trying to keep this information from my employer was almost unbearable. I sat down and had a long talk with my Boss who wrapped her arms around me and told me that I had a mountain of support behind me.
Telling my workplace and confiding in my workmates was the biggest relief, especially when I was not comfortable speaking openly about our journey with our families.
They say third time is a charm and we went into our third cycle with an open mind, knowing we had support around us and we were tackling this new challenge as a team.
By the end of the third cycle, I had only one embryo transferred with nothing to freeze and after a gruelling two weeks of trying to keep our minds busy I received the best news I could have imagined, my cycle had worked, and I was pregnant.
I can’t stress enough, how important it is to reach out to your workmates and find a support network. I found that even having a supportive partner while living through a situation like this was hard as we were both tying to get through it and both emotionally fragile.
Having a group of friends or colleagues who you feel comfortable to talk to makes a world of difference and we would encourage anyone going through this process to reach out.