Taking control of my fertility challenges

After spending most of 2020 wishing the year away like I’ve never done before, we’re now into the second month of 2021 (albeit still in lockdown).

The beginning of any new year gets us thinking about new year’s resolutions and what we want to achieve in the year ahead. For some, it may be weight loss, quitting smoking or changing jobs. For me, the only thing that I want to achieve in 2021 is pregnancy.

When it comes to fertility, time is never on our side. At 42 years of age, like many of you, I was devastated when my treatment cycle was delayed for months in March 2020 due to the clinic being shut. When the clinic re-opened in July, I was one of the first to resume treatment. However, after two more unsuccessful cycles in the remaining few months of 2020, I felt heartbroken to be no further forward in my journey.

During a much-needed festive break, I spent a lot of time mourning over my last few embryos that just didn’t stick, wondering about the ‘what ifs’ and thinking about potential next steps.

But the question remained, what did I need to do to make it happen in 2021? What was I going to do differently?

Eventually, the one thing I decided to do in 2021 is take back control.

For years, my fertility challenges left me feeling helpless. I bumbled along through investigations and treatment cycles, full of hope, but not truly knowing where the path was taking me. I was reactive, not having the drive to be proactive. I allowed others to dictate my journey without asking relevant questions and making my own informed decisions. My fertility struggles play on my mind 24/7, yet I’d often stayed silent on the topic, with not even my husband knowing of the turmoil going on in my head. I wasted time procrastinating and thinking positively about getting pregnant, yet I wasn’t getting pregnant, staying pregnant nor holding that baby in my arms.

This is all going to change for me this year – I’m empowering myself to make it happen. Having made a decision about the next stage of my fertility journey, I’m pushing hard to get it moving. I’m also about to bravely seek fertility counselling to help me deal with my emotions, overcome past experiences and explore the future. 2021 is going to be my year!

Now, over to you…

What do you need to do to make 2021 your year?

I totally appreciate that if you’ve been stuck feeling helpless and unempowered for a while, it’s difficult to get back into gear, lift yourself up and take action. The thing that got me to take control was that issue of time I mentioned earlier. I’m turning 43 this year, I’m desperate to become a mum and I realise that, despite the wonders of modern medicine, I am the only one that can make it happen.

Perhaps you could start by asking yourselves these questions:

• What decisions do you need to make?
• What obstacles are preventing you from progressing?
• How are you going to take back control?

Then, create a checklist of the small steps that you can work your way through, for example:

  1. Order a semen analysis for my husband
  2. Read up on the differences between IVF and ICSI
  3. List out all the questions I need to ask my fertility advisor/doctor
  4. Book a consultation with a fertility advisor/doctor
  5. Contact a clinic to discuss costs and possible financing options
  6. Dedicate 30 minutes at 8pm every evening to do something for myself

You may find that this checklist will grow over the next few weeks, but it will feel so satisfying when you tick an item off as done. Remember… these small steps are progress in the right direction to making this year your year!

Author: Hema Wara

About Fertifa

Fertifa is the UK’s leading fertility and reproductive health benefits provider that delivers a bespoke, flexible corporate programme for employers of any size, leveraging its in-house telehealth innovation and medical expertise to make fertility care more accessible and affordable for all.

With decades of medical, benefit consulting and HR expertise, Fertifa are on hand to answer your questions. Get in touch today.

Fertility journeys: Every fertility journey is unique. We spoke with a group of people in the UK about their fertility struggles.

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