The fertility treatment journey of a single mum. 

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Phrases like “emotionally tough”, and “a torturous wait”, aren’t how I wanted to start my first fertility journey blog.  I’m genuinely astonished at how much negativity like that comes up at the forefront of any internet search when an unsuspecting single man or woman starts to research routes to parenthood.  Sadly, they are the all too common one liners we read when looking into treatment.   That’s not to take away from struggling parents with genuine health issues hindering their dreams to become parents. My heart goes out to them.  But this blog is aimed at intended single parents working with donors.  

So, to start my blog, here are some positive points about fertility treatment: 

Not all women react badly to hormone injections. The needle is so small, nothing to be fearful of.  (And that comes from a girl who fainted at a covid jab).   I personally didn’t react emotionally at all to the hormones.  I had both small does during IUI rounds and maximum doses during my IVF rounds.  Just because you’ve read about mood swing side effects and watched endless Instagram reels making them look horrendous, don’t assume you will react the same.  It’s easy to get impatient and caught up in the whole appointment after appointment process and confuse these frustrations and anxieties with hormonal changes.  My frustrations with being promised early morning appointments in order to avoid having to tell my employer, which I then didn’t get booked into, were probably the worst points of my journey.  But I know the mental state this got me wound up into was unlikely hormone related.  It was brief and easily resolved. 

The egg collection process is delightful!  As soon as those small doses of anaesthetic are kicking in its like chilling with your friends having a couple of gin and tonics – but without the hangover.  You don’t care you’re in an undignified position with a strange nurse poking in between your legs.  You’re cleverly distracted by a chatty anaesthetist and it’s all over in about twenty minutes. But it feels more like half that time.  Before you know it, you are recovering with a nice hot chocolate and biscuits.  The bloating they warn you about afterwards which can last “up to two weeks” is often minimal.  

Success rates are higher for healthy single parents!  All clinics publish their success percentage rates.  These need to be considered when choosing your preferred clinic – but if your reason for treatment is not health related I.e. you’re just single, you should be assured the rate of success will most likely be better than you think.  As a single intended parent, the only health issue holding me back from an easy conception was a fibroid.   (Well, that and the fact I didn’t have boyfriend to be having sex with every night).   So, for any single women looking into fertility treatment, it is even more important for them to not be left anxious about the process by negative stories on social media etc.  It’s important to bear in mind there is a long list of health issues which can affect the success figures per clinic.   That’s not to say it didn’t take me two years to get pregnant.  But my journey involved changing my choice of treatment from IUI to IVF/ICSI due to sperm thawing issues as well as being interrupted by covid and waiting for a myomectomy.