Note: I know that for couples experiencing infertility, there are many options other than fertility treatments. I’m also aware that many couples trying to get pregnant do not match the male/female arrangement referenced here. This post is for couples who want to try to get pregnant themselves, and feel as if they need to keep it private and/or don’t have the resources available to move forward with treatments. Apologies up front for excluding or offending anyone.
Imagine that you’re in a room with 9 other women. Take a look around you. If you’re all of childbearing age, chances are that at least one of you (perhaps it was you) has suffered from infertility. Infertility is no longer considered a privately hush-hush topic like it once was. It’s much more common than you probably realize, and it’s no longer your fate to have a childless future if you are deemed “infertile.” There are options available, but the first step in finding an answer is acknowledging that YOU are that one in ten.
Trying to conceive (TTC) is a total mindf*ck. For some, this means that you chart temperatures, examine cervical mucus, count calendar days, pee on an ovulation predictor. When that “magic window” appears, you hound your mate to do the horizontal mamba; the baby dance. Some believe that it’s best to “get bizzy” everyday (or several times a day), others think that every other day does the trick. You do what you believe works. Then comes the dreaded two-week-wait, where you count every day until the projected start of your period, wondering if you should pee on a cheap drugstore stick. Before you get a chance to get to the drugstore, however, Mother Nature answers your question and you think, “Great…another month lost.”
You mentally go over what you did wrong. Should you have started “baby dancing” earlier in the month? Should you have “done it” every other day instead of every day? Should you have laid in bed with your hips in the air? Should you have been on top? Pretty soon, you dread that period mid-month when you have to lure your mate/partner into the bedroom (and I’d be willing to bet that he dreads it, too). You practically heave at the sight of him naked, and only go through the motions to achieve your end goal. So much for spontaneity.
Well, try repeating the entire sequence I just described every single month for a year and a half (like I did). Not fun.
I’m just going to put it out there and say this: the clock is ticking against you. If you’re serious about expanding your family through your pregnancy, don’t waste precious time. Talk to your doctor as soon as you believe you’re having problems – in women over 35, most doctors recommend that you seek consultation after 6 months, in women under 35, the timeframe is a year. While you may have patience, the truth is that your body may not; even if you feel young at heart, age DOES work against you.
Too expensive? That’s where many people may not be aware of their rights. Currently, 15 states in the US have passed legislation requiring some sort of coverage for fertility diagnosis and treatment (levels vary widely and have exclusions). We’re lucky in that Connecticut is one of those states (Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia are the other states). Summary of state coverage is here:
In summary, under Connecticut law, excluding the fine print and exemptions (employers who self-insure and some religious institutions), if you’re diagnosed as “infertile,” you’re entitled to the following provided that you have been insured under your existing policy for at least 12 months:
- Lifetime maximum of 4 cycles of ovulation induction
- Lifetime maximum of 3 intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles
- Lifetime maximum of 2 in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles with a maximum of 2 embryos transferred per cycle
- Maximum age of 40
It’s important that you know your rights, explore every opportunity for coverage, and do not be embarrassed to ask or talk about it. You’re not alone in this journey – remember that at least one in that group of ten women has likely gone through the same stress and anguish that you’ve gone through. Ask your friends or join a fertility forum/board where you can share successes, failures, and ask your questions. It’s a long, difficult, and exhausting journey, but it’s worth it in the end.
End note: We started trying casually when I was 33; actively when I was almost 34. I didn’t seek treatments until I was 35, didn’t get pregnant until 36. My babies were born 2 weeks short of my 37th birthday. My point: it took us too long to admit that we needed help. Don’t let this happen to you.