As I think I might have said earlier, one of the reasons that I wanted to write this blog was because I didn’t feel there’s any information out there for the likes of me. Which seems mad. Because I’m not the only person in this situation. Many of the friends that I have told know someone doing the same thing, but nobody’s talking about it. (Alright there is a woman talking about – she’s even written a book about it – but she’s American.)
I suppose what I mean is that, with the exception of a few Americans who are donating eggs, most of the women in the world currently injecting Gonal-f or Cetrotide are women who are part of a couple trying to get pregnant. So when you Google “do I have to inject my Gonal-f at exactly the same time every night?” or “is it normal that I have a really itchy, nettle-sting like rash where I injected the Cetrotide?” or “can I drink while taking Gonal-f?”* most of the forums you come across are full of women who have the support of a loving partner and are planning a family.
They’re not women who never normally make plans to be home by 8pm but are suddenly having to be, because they’ve got an appointment with a refrigerated syringe of Gonal-f; they’re not women who are having to make excuses not to sleep with the bloke they’re rather fond of, in case he sees the bruises and puncture marks dotted over their stomachs; they’re not women who – in the absence of a ‘fab hubby’ or a ‘lovely boyf’ or an ‘amazing DH’ (sorry, I’m sure not all women having IVF are morons who use this sort of terminology, but most of the ones who post on forums seem to be) – have to suck it up and stick the needle in themselves or reassure themselves they’re doing it right.
So that’s who this blog is for. Because it’s hard enough to do this anyway without feeling like a freak because you’re doing it without a partner. And it’s not just the forums that make you feel that way. I don’t know if all clinics are like mine – my suspicion is that they are, because I don’t think enough single women are freezing eggs to make it financially viable to just do egg freezing – but because most people there are doing IVF, that’s how it’s all set up. My pre-printed protocol form that the doctor filled in is headed ‘IVF Protocol’ and the note printed after the final day says ‘We wish you luck for your pregnancy test in two weeks’. Of course it’s not a big deal, I understand why it’s like that, I’m not seriously offended, but would it really be so hard to do a special sheet for the egg freezers?
Would it really be so hard to remind people, like the anaesthetists, that not everyone is, actually, part of a couple doing IVF? But then if they’d done that, you wouldn’t have got to hear one of my favourite “if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry” anecdotes about the moment, on the day I was having my eggs removed on the first cycle, when the anaesthetist walked into my cubicle, saw me sitting in one chair and my coat on the back of the chair next to me, and asked “Where’s he gone?” That day I laughed – another day I might well have cried – but that day I just laughed and said “No, it’s just me…”
*(By the way, if you were wondering, I think the answers are “as long as it’s within a couple of hours it’s fine, they just say ‘the same time’ so you don’t forget”, “yes, but it soon goes away” and “this is a whole other blog post which I will get round to very soon” respectively – although I’m not medically trained so you should probably listen to someone who is instead.)