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A male insight into IVF

 
 
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I was a professional rugby player throughout my 20’s and 30’s so had put off settling down and starting a family. I was 38 when my wife and I married so we knew we we're starting a little late in the piece and didn't want to muck around.

In my 20’s I had a pretty horrific rugby accident, resulting in a major groin injury. At the time I thought nothing of it in terms of the long term impact, in rugby you are more concerned about head impacts! When my wife mentioned this to her mum, who was a fertility nurse for 20 years, she got straight onto the phone to Guy Gudex who she had worked with, insisting that I went in to get my sperm count checked out.

My wife and I were at the clinic pretty quickly and I had a bunch of tests done including an ultrasound. The results weren't good. My sperm count came back at around 3 million and we were told that anything under 20 million is considered infertile. We were pretty shocked by the result.

I had never even considered that I could have trouble in that department. It took me a while to get my head around it. But going into the IVF process didn't really phase me as I knew it was going to be pretty easy for me. I was more concerned about my wife and what she was going to go through and how I could support her. She had a lot of her friends around her getting pregnant and it was tough emotionally. I was committed to doing anything that I needed to do to make sure I supported her, and to ensure we had the best chance to get pregnant.

I’m not going to lie, it wasn't smooth sailing. There were some really horrific times for us going through IVF. Over all we had 6 rounds of IVF, with 18 embryos and 13 transfers all up. My wife was committed to giving each embryo the best possible chance. For her that included having acupuncture twice a week, cranial osteo twice a month, she didn't drink alcohol or caffeine for years, she even cut sugar and gluten from her diet during the cycles.

I remember with our first IVF treatment, my wife became pregnant straight away and I was initially thinking, “Wow, this is pretty easy”. But sadly we lost the baby very early on at 10 weeks. It was gutting.

We got pregnant 7 times in total, and I remember each one of them clearly. Our second IVF process was incredibly tough. We were really nervous about this after our recent miscarriage. The IVF treatment resulted in three embryos and we decided to have two transferred and we kept one frozen. We got pregnant with one baby from this round of IVF. But at the 19 week scan, we found out that our little girl had major brain abnormalities which meant that she was not likely to survive the pregnancy. Our baby girl was born sleeping at 20 weeks and it was incredibly tough to say goodbye.

I look back on that time and can’t believe how intense it was. Three weeks after we lost our second baby, my Mum died, she was only 60. Going through what we had been through over the past few weeks and then suddenly losing my Mum. Words can’t describe it.

A month after my Mum passed away, we did our 3rd IVF Cycle and she fell pregnant which blew us away. I can’t explain how amazing it was to welcome our little boy into our family. He is 4 now and he’s such a great little guy. My Mum would have absolutely loved him.

My wife was pretty shattered after all of this, but we really wanted another. Three more rounds of IVF resulted in three more miscarriages over the next two years.

We had one embryo frozen from our second IVF attempt which had resulted in our baby girl being conceived. My wife hadn't wanted to use this embryo, it just felt too hard to go down that road again. Guy encouraged us to give it a chance, explaining that the risks of what she suffered being repeated was so rare. We decided to give IVF one last chance. We were so nervous about the pregnancy after what we had been through before. We did additional testing and had a lot of scans in the first 20 weeks. The results were clear of any problems, and this gave my wife the reassurance needed for her to be able to relax and enjoy the pregnancy.

It’s hard to believe we now have a daughter as well. She is 6 months old and she is just a little gem, she's perfect. We joke to each other that given the timing of the embryos we used, she is kind of older than our 4 year old son. She is his older younger sister!

The team at Repromed were really cool to deal with, we felt so connected to them by the end of our long journey together. I used to give Guy a bit of crap about supporting the Warriors of course, but I felt like he always worked so hard to help us. The whole team were supportive and approachable and were there to help with anything at all.

Going through this has opened my eyes up to this whole process and how grueling it is. It was an absolute rollercoaster at times and it’s really intense, but when you see your partner give birth to your child that you worked so hard for, and put so much effort and energy and money into, it’s not even a question if it’s been worth it. I am proud of my wife. She was the strong, determined one through all of this.

A lot of guys don't talk about it, whether it’s the macho pride thing or whatever. I don’t remember if I was like that too in the beginning but it’s not my view now. We try to be really open about what we have been through with our friends so they are better prepared for it. It seems unbelievable what we went through together. We certainly cherish our two awesome kids and without a doubt, it’s been worth it in the end.

Repromed NZ offer private and public funded IVF treatment and may be able to help you with your fertility journey. All are welcome, we stand for ethnic and gender equality and are proud to be awarded with Rainbow Tick certification. You can book a free 15 minute phone consultation with a fertility doctor. Click here to make the first step