I put together an Infertility Q & A that answers some of the most commonly asked questions I get about our experiences with infertility over the last ten years.
Reason(s) for fertility concerns/infertility: Endometriosis, sperm morphology issues, eventually diminished ovarian reserve.
How long did you try naturally?: On and off for years.
What methods did you try before going to a fertility clinic/reproductive endocrinologist?: We tried ovulation sticks, timed intercourse, acupuncture (me only), Chinese herbs (me only), eliminated household toxins from cleaning products and changed diet (mostly me). Tried a healthier diet eliminating gluten. For my final IVF cycle, I went on supplements recommended by the book, It Starts with An Egg.
How did you pay for fertility treatments?: For our initial rounds of IUI, IVF, and acupuncture we paid completely out of pocket. We also accepted the generous financial help of family. For the final two rounds of IVF we had some insurance coverage through my husband’s employer.
The financial aspects of fertility treatments are grueling. We considered every possible option; even moving out of state to a state that had mandated infertility insurance coverage. There were many “lean” years and our journey took us so many years because we couldn’t afford to do back to back treatments.
How did you deal with the mental load/mental health aspects of infertility?: For the first five years or so of our infertility experience, we did nothing in particular to help our mental health. I eventually saw a therapist, and we went to couples therapy together as well. I can’t stress how important therapy, exercise, and self-care has been to maintaining our mental health during fertility treatments and beyond.
How many treatments did you need to get pregnant?: To get our daughter, we did one round of IUI and two rounds of IVF (both fresh transfers). We did a third IVF cycle that resulted in a chemical pregnancy. We completed our fourth IVF cycle last year and I am currently pregnant.
Did you do genetic testing? Our first two cycles of IVF we did not do genetic testing. Our doctor didn’t recommend it. We were young and there wasn’t a compelling reason to do it. Our third and fourth rounds, we did genetic testing due to my age and egg quality concerns.
Why did you wait so long between cycles?: My children will be seven years apart (unintentionally). We took breaks due to mental health and financial concerns.
Did you consider stopping treatments all together? Absolutely yes. Several times. Every person, every couple, every family is different. We all have different priorities, needs, and desires. I don’t subscribe to the mindset of shaming others for how they handle a diagnosis of infertility. It really is about what works for you in your particular situation. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that it’s a waste of time to judge anyone for or wonder about their decisions surrounding fertility. It’s such a personal thing.