I’m In Closer Magazine: The Tragic Cost Of Failed IVF
I was contacted recently to ask if I’d be willing to share my story in Closer Magazine, on the topic of failed IVF and the potentially disastrous effect it can have on a marriage. Whilst it is a painful and highly personal topic, I immediately agreed as I think it is important to speak about it in order to break through the stigma that is still attached to having fertility problems, and as a cautionary tale for other couples who may be considering treatment and wondering what impact it could have on their relationship. Liam and I were together for 11 years prior to treatment and I considered our relationship to be absolutely solid, yet the pressure became too much. Here is our story…
“I met my husband, Liam, in 1998 in Ibiza when I was 22 and he was 20. We married seven years later. We started trying for a family when I was 30, and I assumed it’d be straightforward as it had been for all my friends. But after a year without any success, I visited my GP. Tests eventually showed my fallopian tubes were blocked and that our only option was IVF.
I was utterly destroyed – it felt so unfair. Liam was disappointed too, but really supportive. We had to wait two years for treatment but, in 2009, we started our first cycle of the three we were entitled to on the NHS.
We were so hopeful our baby dream would finally come true – and devastated when the first attempt failed. Liam did his best to comfort me and keep me feeling positive. Looking back, I think he bottled up his feelings to keep strong for me. By the second round of IVF, it had taken over our lives and the romance in our relationship was non-existent – neither of us felt much like being intimate. We started to row, largely because of the hormones I took for the treatment – and we were so focused on becoming parents, we didn’t think about “us.”
After the second round failed, we had our third and final attempt in August 2011. Despite our hopes being pinned on it, we found out on our sixth wedding anniversary that i wasn’t pregnant. I felt hopeless and didn’t think I’d ever feel happy again, but we decided not to have more treatment as we couldn’t risk further devastation. We did talk about adoption and fostering, but both decided we were no longer in a good enough place. We were exhausted and I became depressed. Without a common goal of a family, Liam and I lost our focus and began to drift apart. We struggled on for the next 18 months. I wanted to shut myself away while he wanted to go out with his friends. I had counselling, but he refused.
A DIFFICULT DECISION
In December 2012, we finally decided to split up. We were both so sad about the collapse of our 15-year relationship, but seeing each other every day was just a reminder of the grief we felt. I suspect we’d still be married if we hadn’t put ourselves through IVF, but I’d have regretted it if we hadn’t tried. Today Liam and I are still on good terms – he has had other relationships but doesn’t have children. We meet up occasionally for dinner.
I met my current partner, Andy, who is 35, there years ago and he has two young daughters, who we see regularly. He doesn’t want any more children, but I love being around his girls and I don’t find myself feeling jealous. And my sister has a three-year-old son, Hayden, so I’m an aunty too, which has helped me come to terms with the fact that I’ll never become a mum. I try not to dwell on what might have been and have found purpose in other areas of my life, such as travelling and blogging about my experiences of being a childfree woman. Finally, life is good again.”
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