Why I decided to (still) undergo fertility treatment during a global pandemic.
It is plain crazy. Probably should be unthinkable right now. Some would say an irresponsible thing to do in the current state of the world.
But the reality is, as a 40+ woman I know (because every single male doctor reminds me constantly) that my “best before date” was 35 and if I want to have another child, EVERY single month counts.
There is really no time to lose — even if we are in the middle of a global pandemic-.
It was March 2020 and most countries throughout Europe were going into lockdown. When the pregnancy test came out negative I was secretly relieved.
This is probably not the best time to get pregnant, I thought. We can wait until the summer when things might start going back to normal (funny that’s what we all thought at the beginning of the pandemic).
I could do with a rest from all the hormones and maybe it would happen naturally.
But as the summer came, it became clear that Covid was not going anywhere. And I simply could not afford to keep waiting for things to ‘go back to normal’, for the uncertainty to pass.
The joke at the beginning of the first lockdown was that 9 months later there would be a boom of births everywhere around the world.
But instead of babies, lockdown brought about the breakdown of many relationships and marriages.
Couples and families went from seeing each other for a few hours a day (in some cases a week) to being together all day, every day.
Little fissures that might have taken years to cause any real problem in those relationships, perhaps even heal over time, suddenly cracked wide open for everyone to see.
And as the economic consequences of the pandemic became visible, the aim became survival, work with what you have and make it through.
For anyone thinking about starting a family, the idea was immediately postponed, the right thing to do was to ride the pandemic out, wait until things got back to normal and then think about it again.
More lockdowns and more waiting
The months rolled on and summer arrived. Weddings were postponed, people held on to jobs they were desperate to leave (because ‘they were lucky to have one’), others escaped the cities and any ‘non-essential’ plans were put on hold.
Non- Essential Travel
Non- Essential Procedures
Depending on your country, we all got new and different definitions of what “non-essential” meant.
Surely fertility treatments fell squarely into non-essential procedures. After all they are not life saving, even if they are life giving.
And even though we had been on this journey for a while, it still seemed crazy to even be considering this next step during a pandemic.
The conversations then were “why would anyone want to get pregnant now?” instead of ‘yay let’s have a baby’.
The logical thing would be to wait the pandemic out… but for how long? 6 months, a year? 2 years?
No one knew how long it would take.
To wait or not to wait?
Putting aside the mental and physical toll that more fertility treatment might have, there were now other issues to consider.
Were fertility procedures even allowed? Could we travel outside the country if we needed to? What safety procedures had to be followed? Would we need to be constantly tested for Covid?
We knew undertaking fertility treatment would be no ride in the park, but doing it during a pandemic took things to a whole new level.
And then realising that if we were lucky and it worked, we would have a newborn baby in a world where we couldn’t see our parents and social distancing from friends and family would still be a thing.
Part of me wanted to wait, we had been hoping for this baby for so long that I wanted to enjoy it. To have a babymoon, enjoy a baby shower with friends or at least not have to wear a mask while giving birth.
And none of these were going to happen during Covid. But what was the alternative?
To wait it out? And if we did for how long?
A year for someone in the thirties would be just a year, but for someone over 40, a year could make the difference between healthy eggs and no eggs.
The doctors had already made it clear before, there was no way of increasing egg production and every single month counted.
We needed to make a decision and fast. Because as I soon found out, it can take months between making an initial contact with a fertility clinic to actually start treatment.
Then one day I had a realisation. This time my hesitation didn’t come from thinking I wasn’t ready or it wasn’t the right time. My hesitation was because I wanted everything to be perfect. For the struggle of the last 3 years to be overtaken by the joy of having a baby and enjoying all those picture perfect moments I had created in my head.
As human beings we seem to spend a lot of time waiting for things to be perfect. To get the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect partner… thinking that there will be a better moment, a better time to do whatever it is you wish to do.
And in the meantime you are just waiting, living a life on pause.
This is exactly what the pandemic has shone a light on… the waiting. Because all of a sudden we weren’t waiting out of fear or hesitation, now we had been forced to wait. And when that ability to choose gets taken away from us, we get crystal clear on what we DON’T want, what we can and cannot live without.
The reality is that (pandemic or no pandemic) we cannot pause life, we still have a finite number of years to live and regardless of what we choose to do with those years, time continues to pass.
I didn’t want to wait anymore, my perfectly imperfect moment to start had arrived… and so with the click of a button my zoom guided fertility treatment began.