If you have read my story, you will know that we went through a cycle of IVF to conceive our first child. I am the only one that went through IVF in my family. I remember being told by every medical professional involved in the process, how lucky we were to have conceived the first time around. I spent a long time feeling lucky. That was until I got myself educated.
It was definitely a taboo subject and for a long time, I didn’t really talk about the IVF – I let people think that we had conceived naturally. It was only when I opened up and started to talk about it that I realised how many of our friends experienced infertility that ultimately ended in multiple IVF treatments. After so many stories of failed treatments I began to reflect on what was different with my experience.
My husband and I were sat in a room with eight other couples. We were given a very scientific and practical explanation of how the process would work. We were handed pages of forms to fill in, information sheets about risk factors, procedure notes and hormone packs, and told to go on our way and start injecting the drugs.
Looking back on this, there are two things I noticed. The first is it’s all about the female. We are the ones that need to be fixed, we inject the drugs. Obviously, we carry and birth our babies but, even though the problem may lie with male partner, the cold, clinical process is mostly about us. Psychologically, does this not put all the pressure and ultimately the blame and responsibility on us? There is no denying that the female contribution to conception is much more complex than a male’s, but they still make up 50% of the ‘process’.
The second issue was there was no other advice given. Nothing about why infertility can be an issue or any information about ways to combat the problem. There was no advice about how we could increase our chances of success. Granted we had already got to the stage where ‘all other avenues had been exhausted’ but I remember the GP being very quick to refer us with no consideration given to our lifestyle at all.
Which brings me on to the subject of being ‘lucky’. I now realise I wasn’t lucky at all. The only obvious difference with friends that went through multiple rounds of IVF, were the changes I made to my lifestyle. I was in an extremely stressful job. I worked hard but also played hard. I rarely had time for myself and did zero exercise. My diet was abysmal to say the least. I had no concern for the toxic environment that I was living in.
This all stopped when we were referred for IVF treatment. I stopped burning myself out at work, swapped drinking alcohol for yoga three times a week, walked everywhere when possible, started to eat more vegetables and home cooked food and began to look at the chemical contents of everything I put on my skin.
Please be assured, this is not a criticism of other couples, this is a criticism of the system, and the total lack of information given to couples who, in a heightened emotional state, will often rely on IVF treatment being the final hope. Realising that you are unable to conceive is a desperate situation to be in. The emotions that both partners go through are varied but totally devastating for every couple. I’ve been there. I have felt grief, humiliation, shame, desperation, anger and a sense of injustice.
I now believe that IVF often offers a false hope to couples in this vulnerable position because there is no consideration of the wider picture.
Considering your lifestyle is a must. Now many of you may be thinking, ‘but my friends live what is considered an unhealthy lifestyle and they got pregnant just fine’. It is definitely the case for many people but in saying this, there is no consideration of your susceptibility to environmental influences. We are all built so differently. Our experiences and family history determine how we react to outside stimuli so two people who seem to live in exactly the same way can inevitably have different fertility journeys.
I now spend my days helping couples to become pregnant naturally. Lifestyle factors are a huge and important part of this process as well as homeopathic treatment which has been successful in thousands of clinical cases.