25 Things No One Tells You About IVF and infertility…

1. When people say IVF is an ’emotional roller coaster’, they are sugar coating it – nothing will prepare you for the soul destroying cycle of hope and despair/hope and despair like month in, month out unsuccessful IVF cycles.

2.You will find yourself living in two week blocks – two weeks of self injecting hormones and watching to see if you got good eggs up… two weeks of waiting to see if your cycle worked. You will plan your entire life around these two week blocks.

3. Well meaning friends who aren’t aware or have forgotten that you are on IVF, will ask ‘So, when are you two starting a family?’ (sometimes while smugly patting a growing abdomen), which will simultaneously make you want to burst into tears and/or stab someone.

4.  IVF totally kills your sex life – after months (for some people, years) of trying the ‘old fashioned way’, you will find yourself being told NOT to have sex at various time while trying to conceive on IVF.

5. After a while on IVF, you will start avoiding baby showers and visiting friends with new babies. – you will even avoid the baby section of department stores and women with strollers in public… anything to stay away from the little emotional time bombs.

6. IVF drives home just how ‘animal’ humans are, and how hard we work to ignore this fact in our day to day lives – being infertile and unable to breed makes you feel ‘less of a woman’… femmascualated, if you will.

7. When on IVF, topics like vaginal discharge, sperm count, sperm motility, testicular aspiration, and fallopian hydration all become perfectly acceptable conversational gobbits, and will be trolled out with alarming regularity, even over the dinner table.

8. IVF patients see a pregnant teenager smoking or drinking, or a new brand new mom smoking near an infant, and do not just go ‘Tut, tut, how irresponsible!’ – they will go into a completely uncharacteristic, blind rage and have to employ all their self restraint to refrain from ripping that person a new asshole.

9.  When on IVF, people will frequently say, to ‘Why don’t you just adopt?’ – like there is a magical baby store somewhere that you can just rock up to a counter, place your order and pick up a matching pair of kids for an instant family.

10. While on IVF you won’t want to have sex – your abdomen will be bloated and tender from injecting hormones – so you won’t want to have sex during the follicular stimulation part of your cycle.  Waxy progesterone pessaries or Crinone glugging up your vagina like Clag, is so NOT sexy – so you won’t want to have sex during the luteal support phase of your cycle either.

11. You will find yourself unable to be genuinely happy for any friends or family members who are pregnant/having babies/have newborns… you find yourself faking happiness in these situations and turning in an Oscar winning performance.  This is emotionally exhausting.

12. On IVF, time ceases to pass in the same way – normally days and weeks and months normally seem to fly, but when waiting to do a pregnancy test, time will creep by the speed and velocity of cold molasses flowing uphill.

13. People will judge you for trying ‘extreme measures’ like IVF. They will say that you will ‘get pregnant as soon as you stop trying so hard’ – this is complete and utter bullshit.  No one in their right mind would put themselves through IVF unless they had serious medical issues.

14. While on IVF, even if you have a rare and fleeting moment when you feel up to it, your partner won’t want to have sex with you – he’ll be worried about knocking those precious little embryos out of place.

15.  When you’re on IVF, a veritable plethora of absurd advice will rain down upon you with alarming regularity – ‘Just take a holiday and it’ll happen’… ‘You just need to relax and it’ll happen’… ‘Try standing on your head after sex and it’ll happen’ – I shit you not on that last one.

16.  At some point when undergoing IVF procedures it becomes perfectly normal and routine to have a big plastic wand shoved in your vagina, sometimes several times each month – regular trans-vaginal ultrasounds become the least of your problems.

17.  The phrase ‘Life isn’t Fair’ takes on a whole new meaning – after enduring unsuccessful IVF treatments you’ll find yourself pondering women who get pregnant and don’t want to be and thinking ‘why is it so easy for everyone else???’

18. When you’re on IVF eventually the idea that people can get pregnant through sexual intercourse becomes a concept so foreign to you, as to be completely fucking absurd – conception no longer has anything to do with physical intimacy with your partner.

19. IVF somehow makes your uterus public property – everyone from your mum, your sister, your neighbours, your work colleagues, to your hairdresser will all have an opinion on what you are doing ‘wrong’ and they will be only to happy to share it.

20. After a while on IVF treatments the phrase ‘We are praying for you’, will make you want to commit grievous bodily harm.  With the nearest blunt instrument.  You will need a chaperone/witness for social occasions.

21. At some point on IVF you will try to convince yourself that you have ‘given up’ – but deep down inside you will discover you are unable to… even years later you may find you never actually ‘gave up’ and the pain of it all is still with you.

22. If you are on IVF long enough (too long?) you will find yourself developing deep and abiding friendships with the anaesthetists who keep you company while you wait for your surgeon – you may even end up with a favourite anaesthetist (this is a very sad state of affairs).

23. While on IVF, you will learn more about the female anatomy, the reproductive system, hormones and artificial reproductive technologies than you ever wanted to know… you will become the ‘Girly Swot Guru’ for the rest of your fertile female friends.

24. Early on during IVF your modesty will be defenestrated – about the second or third time you have an embryo transfer with your OB/GYN, a scientist or two, a nurse, an orderly and some strange guy writing notes in the corner of the room while you have your feet in the stirrups you will decide: ‘Modesty, schmodesty.’

25. But the worst thing no one tells you about when you’re on IVF is that a positive pregnancy test is no guarantee of a healthy viable foetus – so much can still go wrong from the point of conception and positive test to actually growing a healthy baby, and a miscarriage after years of effort, pain and expense is absolutely soul destroying.

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