Many, many years ago, a childless old age pensionner chanced to tell me that if I ever experienced infertility, I should accept it gracefully because God knew better than I did. Her words went in one ear and out the other because I never, in my wildest imagination, would have expected not to fall pregnant. But when a baby didn’t come along, that old lady’s words came floating back to me.
Acceptance is an unusual choice these days with the UK’s fertility market worth a cool £320m as of 2018. It’s a wretched thing to say, but infertility is big business and I’ve long maintained that the raising rates of infertility is being done to us.
According to Laing Buisson, ‘The market has enjoyed steady growth in recent years, with volume growth around 3% per year accelerating to 4.5% more recently’. The market may have enjoyed our infertiilty, but we most certainly have not.
They go on to say, ‘This is driven by…greater social acceptance of fertility treatment as a route to having a family’.
But not all of us feel comfortable outside of the old-fashioned way of conceiving a child and that’s a perfectly valid choice too. For some time Rhys and I toyed with the idea of IVF, but when I saw American Real Housewife reality star Heather Dubrow tell the camera that the nest with two eggs etched in a window of her new mega-mansion depicted her two frozen embryos, something clicked and I knew IVF just wasn’t for us, even if we could afford it.
Some time after we made that choice, my husband was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. For months, he was in and out of hospital while I struggled to care for him, work and keep the homefires burning.
Suddenly I realised God knew what He was doing when we failed to conceive naturally. They say God never gives you more than you can handle. I couldn’t handle any more. Juggling everything plus a baby or small child would’ve sent me into a tailspin. I could barely care for Rhys and myself. I don’t know what I would have done with a little one to care for as well.
Worse yet, it is entirely likely Rhys’ genetic disorder would have been passed to our child. One suffering loved one I can just about manage. Two? It’d send me over the edge.
For me, accepting infertility is the best path but it’s not easy and I’d never push it on anyone else. Each situation is different. For some, IVF and other fertility options are the right thing to do. But leaving well enough alone is a valid fertility choice as well.