I’ll admit it, I like a drink. Not in the sort of way that means I should be heading to an AA meeting (although they do say denial is part of the problem) – it’s not like I start my mornings with a slug of vodka, or wake up with the shakes or anything. It’s just that – like most single people my age – my life revolves around social occasions that generally involve booze.
I meet dates for cocktails, or friends for dinners accompanied by a bottle of wine, I go to the pub after work with colleagues. I drink. And, when I’m having a tough time with something, whether it’s a bloke being a twat, work being stressful, or my family driving me up the wall, I do find life normally looks better from the other side of a glass of wine.
So in the midst of the sort of hormone-induced emotional maelstrom that is egg-freezing, you’d expect me to be finding solace in a glass of something alcoholic. But I’m not. And, I’ll be honest, I’m not convinced that this abstinence is entirely necessary.
I’ve checked, and there are no known interactions between any of the drugs I’m taking and alcohol. But, when I saw the nurse who talked me through all the injections, she advised cutting out coffee and alcohol. “You want your eggs to be in the healthiest state, don’t you?” she asked rhetorically.
Now, my poor old eggs have been with me since birth. If they were going to be pickled, they’d have been pickled way before now. That particular ship has, one would think, sailed. I just kind of assumed that because alcohol consumption is associated with a lower likelihood of conception, and because most of the women she sees are doing IVF and hence trying to get pregnant, that was her stock advice.
But I wasn’t trying to get pregnant, I was just trying to get a few eggs out of my body and nobody seems to have done any research into whether alcohol affects that – in fact M, the person I spoke to about her experiences of egg freezing wasn’t advised by her clinic to stop drinking. But, when you’re spanking four grand on something, and a medical professional tells you it’ll probably go better without booze, it’s hard to ignore them. So, about ten days before I started my first cycle, I stopped drinking.
This time around I decided I was only going to lay off the booze while I was actually injecting the hormones. I’d asked my doctor about it and she told me that as the liver metabolises both alcohol and the hormones, if you’re asking it to deal with booze, it won’t deal with the hormones as efficiently. And, I guess that means that you need to inject more hormones to get the same effect. And when you pay per unit of hormone – I pay £100 for every 300IU, I’m on the fifth day of injections and so far I’ve injected myself with 850IU – or nearly three hundred quid’s worth – of Gonal-f – I don’t really want to be using more than I really need to.
So I’m off the booze again. Last time, it was January. I had the perfect excuse, everyone was doing dry January. This time, it’s already proving a bloody nightmare. Last week I’d planned to host a party, hoping that I wouldn’t have to start injecting until after it. But my period came bang on time, and I spent the night surreptitiously filling up a champagne flute with Appletise and pretending it was Prosecco. FFS. I guess this is how women in the early stages of pregnancy must feel. Oh. The. Irony.