Part one: It might not happen as quick as anticipated….
This is a series I have been thinking of doing. Inspired by multitudes of my patients and addressing some issues that are related to the parenting journey in general… I am hoping that the upcoming little snippets of the journey to parenting, some very personal to me, shine a light on a topic that is rarely talked about in normal conversation. All those struggling with fertility or struggling with parenthood, just know that I see you and hope by normalising the conversation you can stop hiding your own struggles and feel open to talking to your GP.
Part 1: It might not happen as quick as anticipated…
It was a lovely weekday when Rebecca* and Sam* arrived for their appointment. They were a lovely young couple in their late twenties, and they had jumped through all the adulting milestones and were ready to be parents. Except, it was not happening which understandably was frustrating for them. They had got married, bought their house, got their large family car, and updated their health insurance for the upcoming stork delivery but it seemed the stork had the wrong address.
With the unrelenting questions of “when are you having babies?” from friends and family they had finally decided to come and see me for some assistance.
We started unpacking their presentation. They had already downloaded some apps to track her ovulation and they would have sex every day at the times when the app was saying and despite that, it was now 6 months later, and they were over the disappointment that came with the monthly period.
This was an easy one, or at least there was still room to move before we needed to refer them for specialist intervention.
First, we discussed that at their age they had 30% chance of falling pregnant with every cycle which is always interesting as most people tend to think the chances of conception are very high. Sure, if they were 16, they could have sneezed* and had an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy but usually when pregnancy is wanted, it does not always seem to follow the script as required.
Also, given their age and relative health, they were technically allowed to try for about 12 months in total before we started to investigate for medical issues that might be the cause of their difficulty in getting impregnated.
Additionally, although the ovulation apps let you know then the ovum/egg is released from the ovary, if you think of how small a sperm is and how far it must go to meet the sperm, it makes sense that if there is no sperm already at the end of the tube waiting for the egg to be released, you are already too late. Having said that, going at It like rabbits is not likely to help either as the amount of sperm in the semen is likely to reduce with time.
So as the consultation continued, I could sense their relief there were remedies we could trial before they were officially “sick”. First, they were to use the ovulation information they already knew but start the horizontal dance twice during the week and once on the weekend from about 5 days prior to ovulation until at least 5 days after the egg left the ovary. That would hopefully bring back the fun of doing the dance but also hopefully the reduced frequency will mean the concentration of sperm is maintained in the semen increasing the chances of getting knocked up.
They left my consultation room looking more hopeful than when they arrived with some homework to consider. A few months later, Rebecca arrived with smiles beaming. She had peed on a stick and saw 2 lines…
*not real names or real patients
PS: remember that this blog entry does not constitute medical advice. If you have any questions of a medical nature, contact your nearest medical facility for help.