Sex & Relationships

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Ask Mary O'Rourke: 'I've had enough of IVF'

Mary O'Rourke

Published 15/12/2012|05:00

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My wife and I have been trying to have a baby for a number of years now, but with no success.

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At first, we thought it would just happen. When it didn't, we started to do all the tests and have just been through three gruelling rounds of IVF.

I'm inclined to leave it at that. I've seen the disappointment on my wife's face each month when it hasn't worked.

And it is just awful to see her having to take all those hormones and drugs, and be prodded and poked.

She doesn't see it like that, though, and won't stop until she gets a result. She has become almost obsessed.

If I try to talk to her about it, she says I'm not being supportive, and if I suggest stopping the medical intervention, she bursts into tears and says she won't feel complete until she is a mother.

I feel as if my life has been taken over by tests and medical appointments.

I feel that this has driven a wedge between us, and I no longer know the woman I married. I feel terribly alone.

Damien

Mary's view:

'I feel there is help for you both'

My heart went out to you when I read your query. I know what your wife is going through and the range of emotions she is experiencing.

It is no comfort to you, but infertility is very common, and it was always so.

Many, many years ago, my husband and I went through the trauma that you and your wife are now experiencing. At that time, however, there was no IVF.

The consultations, the tests, etc – all of that is gruelling, and the tension grows. It is dreadful to see the disappointment in your wife's face every month.

I know couples who have gone through IVF. They have shared with me their anticipation every month, and then each month their hopes are dashed again.

All of this can easily strike a wedge between husband and wife.

I suggest that both of you go together to your GP and talk over with them the worry and stress in your life from the fertility treatment you are undergoing.

Ask if they can recommend a gentler type of treatment and get yourselves away from the invasive nature of IVF.

I understand there are very good programmes now that go back to using more natural methods of temperature-taking, better nutrition, more rest.

All of these sound matter-of-fact steps, but, taken together in a programmed way, they have, in my mind, every bit as much a chance of succeeding as IVF, where the success rate is just not very high.

Of course, if IVF works it is wonderful, but the two of you cannot spend the rest of your life in this state of anxiety.

There is an air of quiet desperation in your query which I feel must be addressed if the two of you are not to drift further apart – you cocooned in your loneliness and feeling shut out, and your wife cocooned within her wall of desperation, waiting for the passage of each month.

I know quite well there is nothing more consuming right now to your wife than her wish to conceive a baby, and she may dismiss all of this talk by me as mere platitudes. Let me assure you that it is not.

I have been on that road of longing myself and I feel there is help for you both – it is a matter of sourcing it, finding it and embarking on it.

Yes, having children is so important to any married couple, but you have one another and I am sure the future together will be inviting whatever the outcome.

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