Infertility experience: Many make them. 1 in 7 couples to be precise. Yet, only few talk about it.
Alina is 34 years old, newly married and tells us about her experiences.
When and how did you realise that having children was difficult for you?
I went off the pill when I was 28, without wanting to have children. When I was about 30, we actively wanted children and that’s when I noticed that it was quite unusual I hadn’t become pregnant in the past few years. After all, we hadn’t used contraception since I stopped taking the pill. That’s when I started to wonder.
I tried ovulation tests and dietary supplements as a first step, like probably everyone else. After that didn’t help, I consulted a gynaecologist six months later. They advised to visit a fertility clinic.
How did you feel at that time?
At the beginning I was really relaxed. Still as of last year.
I was hopeful that if we went to a fertility clinic, everything would be fine. “They will find a cause, fix it and then everything will be fine”- that’s how I imagined it.
At the first fertility clinic they told us that everything was fine with my husband and me. We then continued to try, with ovulation tests and the usual remedies. It was probably also because of this statement that I was so relaxed. In retrospect, it cost us valuable time.
Since I was treated in the second fertility clinic, I know that I have endometriosis and coagulation disorder.
How did you feel about the treatments in the fertility clinics?
At first I felt I was in good hands in both fertility clinics. When it turned out at the second fertility clinic that not everything was in order, as assumed at the first, I lost confidence. We are still being treated at the second clinic and I am satisfied there so far.
What was your motivation to use the LEVY Fertility Code?
I feel that in the fertility clinic they don’t look any further once a diagnosis has been found. In my case they immediately said: “Endometriosis, we have to do artificial insemination anyways”. But things are not being checked holistically. There could be hormonal factors or things that aren’t in order and causing the problems.
How much money has your fertility journey cost you so far?
Luckily everything has been paid for by health insurance so far. We got married six days ago. One of the main reasons for this was the financial support that you only get as a married couple who has trouble conceiving.
How do you deal with the unfulfilled desire to have children in your partnership?
I have a stereotypical man at home. He always assumed that it would work out. When we went to the fertility clinic and his semen analysis came back, he started to think more intensively about our fertility. My husband is lucky enough to be able to talk about this with a friend. I have the feeling that it is even worse for men to get such a diagnosis than for women.
But we can also talk about it very well as a couple. We are extremely open about or wish to have children, even among our friends. So it’s not a taboo subject for us, as it so often is.
I’m lucky that my husband is a hopeless optimist. That gives us a lot of strength. Although we never actually planned to get married, but ‘had’ to get married because of the financial support, we made it beautiful and had a great little wedding.
What do you think about the fact that currently only married couples receive financial support from health insurance companies for wanting children?
I don’t understand that. We have been together for 19 years, couples who have been together for 3 months but are married would receive financial support immediately. More commitment than 19 years of relationship is hardly possible.
You said at the beginning that you talk openly with those around you about your desire to have children. What’s the response?
People ask from time to time, but it is not the main topic of conversation. It comes up on certain occasions, for example now that my best friend is pregnant. It’s a problem when I have the feeling that others are asking with pity. I’m not terminally ill and I don’t want to be treated like that.
What reaction would you wish for from others?
Difficult. I always find it important that others are open-minded and that they hold back with advice. If I had received a euro every time I said “You just have to relax”. every time, I’d be a millionaire. Just listening helps a lot more. Silence is golden in this matter, we women don’t need pity.
What was the most absurd thing that happened on your fertility journey?
There are one or two things that make me ask what I was thinking. Especially tips and tricks that are used during or after sex are just so not really romantic. But you try everything.
What was the best tip you received?
My friends always say: Live your life anyway! Don’t blame yourself for having a glass of wine in the evening or going out partying. They always pick me up and help me to continue enjoying life.
What do you miss most in the care you receive when it comes to infertility?
Financial support. The financial burden makes life difficult and financial aid is what I miss the most. Some health insurance companies pay and support, others do not. I had to change health insurance companies, and that’s not easy in Berlin and Brandenburg. Sometimes the same health insurance company supports differently depending on the region, sometimes they do, sometimes they do. It’s almost a science in itself to get financial support.
What have you often had to listen to that annoyed you?
“Just relax” or “it will work out”! “I have a feeling that next year is your year.” That’s one of the sayings that gets me particularly worked up. Who can have a feeling for that?
What bothers you about the way society treats childless women?
I have the feeling that sometimes people talk to me as if I’m terminally ill just because I have problems getting pregnant. Above all, the world is becoming more and more infertile, but very few people deal with it. For those who are able to conceive immediately, an unfulfilled desire to have children is not an issue. It bothers me so much to be labelled as “not normal”.
What would be your tip for other women who have an unfulfilled desire to have children?
What has helped me all this time is openness. It also affects other people who usually just don’t talk about it. But as soon as you are open about it yourself, other people open up too. At least that’s been my experience.
And the second tip is to really go on living life. Don’t stop making plans, like great holidays, but create beautiful things to look forward to precisely because of that. We’ve already planned two holidays for the coming year and I’m really looking forward to them! It’s a good distraction from dealing with infertility.