Having come from a lineage of women who were often prone to having twins, and other higher multiples, it never crossed the mind of Tolu*, to think that she would ever deal with infertility. If you asked her how many children she would like to have, she would say two sets of identical twins (two boys and two girls), and who could blame her? She was, after all, aunts and cousins to too many twins and their siblings for her to think otherwise.
It never mattered that she had painful periods, or even bled when she was not supposed to be menstruating. After two years of courtship, she got married to her husband, but when he suggested they start trying for a baby, she argued that they were both still young and just starting out in their various careers. Her fear was that if they started trying for a baby right away, it was very likely that they would succeed within a few months, and that would definitely mess up her plans for the year. So they waited, and focused on building their marriage instead.
By the next year, they were ready and, being a detailed person, and borderline control freak, Tolu decided to read up everything she could about fertility, and how to enhance their chances of getting pregnant early. She did, deduced the exact time that she could be ovulating, and was even able to identify several endometriosis symptoms in herself, before it was later confirmed by a doctor.
For several months, they tried…but no show! Nothing happened! Aunt Flo never missed a date, and that was it. After the sixth month of clockwork ovulation charting, she decided to see a Gynaecologist, and she was given a clean bill of health, and she was asked to after a few months, if nothing had happened yet.
Even though it went against the grain for her, Tolu waited out the year, before going back to the doctor, now armed with twelve months’ worth of temperature and cervical mucous charts. This time around, a more detailed examination was carried out, and it was discovered that she had a case of endometriosis, which could be the reason why she was not getting pregnant.
While she was getting treatment for that, the doctor suggested that her husband should also be tested. He willingly submitted himself to the test, and that was when it was discovered that his sperm had low count and motility. So three factors stood in their path to becoming parents, but they were ready to bull doze their way out of the ring of infertility they had been boxed into. But not with that particular Gynaecologist.
After doing some extensive online search, they found a fertility clinic with good enough reviews, and they started their journey there. After two failed intrauterine insemination (IUIs), the third one succeeded but ended in a miscarriage at the ninth week. The cycle before they were to proceed to IVF, they decided to try IUI one more time and they got âluckyâ. They became pregnant with their baby girl.
Even as the doubts went through her mind about whether, or not, she would be able to carry the child to term, Tolu did, and today, they are proud parents of a baby girl, and already looking forward to expanding their family.
Dealing with infertility in one half of a couple is one thing, but when both spouses are fertility challenged, it often seems like all the odds are stacked against them. It can overwhelm even the strongest of couples.
Some women trying to conceive have to deal with more than problem, sometimes all at the same time. PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), other hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, blocked fallopian tube(s), etc., sometimes all seem to appear in pairs, all of which make the trying to conceive journey longer than it should be. But these sometimes pale into insignificance when the same woman finds out that her spouse also has infertility issues. It now becomes a case of whose treatment is more important and needs to take priority, especially if monetary considerations are also involved.
Daisy* knew firsthand how that felt. Age was not on her side, as she was already 35 years old by the time she got married. Daisy told her husband that they needed to see a doctor. She knew that with their advanced age, it might be an issue having kids, so she wanted to start right away. As it happened, her doctor agreed with her and recommended a good fertility clinic to them.
Her diagnosis of PCOS did not come as such a surprise, considering how erratic her menstrual cycle had always been. They were prepared to deal with this, until her husband’s test results came back, and threw them in for a loop! It was a triple row of lows; low density, low motility and low mobility.
They couple went home that day unable to say anything to each other. No one knew where to start from, but the doctor had suggested they should both undergo treatment concurrently. However, the cost would have put a huge hole in their finances, as her husband had been placed on a rather expensive treatment program.
After 5 months, his sperm quality showed significant improvement, and Daisy was placed on Clomid, to stimulate her own ovulation. They were lucky that first cycle, but unfortunately, she suffered and early miscarriage.
The next cycles of Clomid were all futile, as she was not able to conceive. They have now decided to move on to IVF, but will not be able to commence for a few months, due to financial constraints. Although Daisy would have preferred to start immediately, when both their health conditions are now seemingly optimal, the reality is that their prior treatments have left their wallet drained!
But they are not giving up, as she definitely has dreams of becoming a mom to two rambunctious babies, who will look a lot like the only man who has ever loved her.
Iâm keeping my fingers crossed for them, that they will soon be able to get the funds ready, and that they will have a successful cycle.
It is heart-wrenching, the pain that infertility can inflict on all areas of the trying to conceive couple, but then there is so much at stake in the business. We are talking babies here, and for us as Africans, having babies could seem the whole essence of a married couple’s existence, and even unmarried ones at that.
But before the babies come, these couples, and others in their shoes, will definitely keep up the good fight.
Baby dust to all.
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here.