|Shutterstock Images photo of a man giving his partner an injection during fertility treatment
The following is a guest post from a member of Conceivable Dreams, Carla, who struggled with infertility for years and asked to use her first name only.
Infertility has affected the past seven years of my life. I had a miscarriage before my first child was born, but the birth of my son was normal, a term delivery at 40 weeks. We had no problems conceiving and my son arrived without any complications, healthy and happy. It was shortly after that when my journey with infertility began.
Six months after my son was born I started gaining weight inexplicably. (30 pounds over six months). There was an increase in hair growth on my arms and although I tried hard to get control over my weight, ate more vegetables and took nutrition classes as recommended by my physician, it had little impact on the weight. I got pregnant again, but miscarried around nine weeks. Both my husband and I were devastated. We knew we wanted more children, but we became increasingly worried it might not happen for us. After that second miscarriage my menstrual cycles stopped entirely.
After five months of no menstrual cycles my family physician referred me to a gynaecologist. I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Common symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular menstruation (either frequent menstruation or lack of)
- Infertility (as a result of irregular menstruation cycles)
My husband and I were shocked. I was prescribed a daily dosage of Metformin, Spironolactone and exercise in the hopes that my monthly menstruation cycles would return. I was given no reason as to how my body had developed this condition. I remember leaving his office feeling empty and scared. I had always wanted three children in our family and I could not accept that this may not be a possibility. I didn’t start the medicine immediately. I was in shock and I worried about side effects.
Another two months passed and I wanted to try naturopathic methods before committing to the prescribed medicines. I was still not menstruating when I visited a naturopathic store and was given a host of vitamins that were suggested to boost fertility and return my body back to its normal menstruation cycles. The first day I took the vitamins I was sick within two hours. I gave them a second try and when I had the same result, I discarded the vitamins and started the medications and exercise regimen I was prescribed. I was sick daily on Metformin, just as the gynecologist had warned me. It was nearly two months before I was able to leave my home without searching for a bathroom in case I was sick. My cycles slowly started to return, but still we could not conceive. We were referred to our local fertility clinic to look at treatment options. The initial visit was eye opening and shocking. The costs of treatments started in the hundreds and only went higher. We were a young family. I was still paying off OSAP (Ontario student assistance) loans and we wanted to find our family home. It was an impossible position to be in. I wanted another child but could not afford the costs. It was heartbreaking and disappointing.
IVF (in vitro fertilization) was recommended to us as a treatment that could minimize our suffering and help us conceive. We were not able to afford IVF, due to cost. Fast forward another two years and we have gone through many months of dashed hope and another incomplete miscarriage. Our road has been long, tiring and consuming. I found a great group online in the past month, Conceivable Dreams (http://www.conceivabledreams.org). They are a fantastic group of patients who are raising awareness about infertility and asking the Ontario government to reinstate funding for IVF. Follow their conversation on twitter too. Infertility can be one of the most devastating conditions a couple will have to deal with together. Infertility should be met with support and compassion. There is no cure for infertility, but treatment through IVF can provide so much for these patients.
Infertility is a serious medical condition that many couples suffer in silence with. It is a subject that so many individuals find uncomfortable to talk about but yet many of us know couples who are dealing with infertility in their lives.