On Friday 12th January, I bit the bullet and went back to my Doctors surgery for an appointment to discuss my fertility. At 27 years old, I hate that this is even a worry of mine, but unfortunately this is my hand in life. And I choose to make the most of what I have, instead of bluffing my way through.
The first time I attempted to discuss this with my GP (at the time), I was practically laughed at for being 23 (2013) and concerned. The doctor didn’t seem to consider trying to conceive for 3 years as a problem due to my age. I left the initial appointment in tears, feeling humiliated, misunderstood and with a referral for a blood test. The blood test is to monitor whether I ovulate as I should. I was also advised that my husband needed to be referred for a sperm analysis.
I made the appointment and they took my blood. I was told that the results would be with my doctor within two weeks. After 2 weeks, I phoned the surgery and my results weren’t there. Finally, four weeks later, my results are in when I call. I try to make an appointment to discuss the results with a doctor and to discuss moving forward, however the receptionist tells me this isn’t necessary and read me the results over the phone. One again, I am left in tears. I am confused, frustrated and embarrassed at having to discuss my fertility with a receptionist who has no medical training. I am told by the receptionist that the results are normal, meaning that I ovulate each month as I should. The receptionist couldn’t advise the next step in the process or how to move forward, yet she would’t book me an appointment.
My husband then attended an appointment at the same surgery, but he saw a different doctor, and was referred for a sperm analysis. This consists of depositing his sperm in a tube and handing it into the hospital at an agreed appointment. So, basically, he has refrain from any sexual activity for a minimum of three days before, do the deed at home within an hour before the appointment and keep the sperm at body temperature. Whilst at the doctors appointment, the doctor was lovely and spoke to us both about the next steps and gave me some swabs that needed to be handed back in.
For reasons that evade me, it took my husband 14 months to complete his sperm analysis. My understanding is that he was worried and kept putting it off. It caused many arguments, I was constantly going on and pushing him to book the appointment.
In February 2016, we were told (over the phone, again no appointment) that my husband has 52% active sperm and that he needed to repeat the test in three months after improving his lifestyle. He wasn’t ridiculously unhealthy, but needed to quit smoking and lose a small amount of weight. As you know, from my previous posts, the second test wasn’t completed due to issues within my marriage – which has a direct link to these test results.
Back to 2018… We moved doctors surgery’s last year (2017) as we lost all faith in the surgery that we had initially been registered at. A few times, I tried to make an appointment for both of us to be seen at the same time, however this was proving difficult, and we were advised to start with separate appointments and then when we have the results, they can link it to a single appointment for both of us.
I visited the doctor and she was AMAZING!! Such a positive experience and a world away from the first time I attempted this. I went into the appointment extremely anxious. Upon explaining to the doctor that we’d been trying to conceive for seven years she immediately starting asking the right questions;- how much sex do we have a week, whether we had previous children, whether I’d been pregnant before etc. After listening to my previous experience with fertility testing, the doctor explained that she would redo the blood test, I needed to redo the swabs and she would book me for an ultrasound (external and internal). She also explained why these were being done. The blood test is for ovulation, the swabs are for STI’s/BV/etc and the ultrasounds are the ensure that there aren’t any blocked Fallopian tubes, cysts, abnormalities with the womb, ovaries or tubes/etc. She went on to explain that my husband would need to make an appointment and be referred for the sperm analysis again and that once we had all the results, and depending on what they reveal, we could be referred to a fertility consultant and go through our options.
This was the first time the entire process had been explained to me by a medical professional. I had researched it myself and thought that this was the process but it was reassuring to hear it from the doctor. She also said that the ultrasound etc should have been done by the first doctor that I saw.
The ultrasound is booked for 24th January… wish me luck!