23-29 September 2019

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Infertility in New Zealand

Infertility in New Zealand

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Experiencing Infertility

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Supporting those with infertility

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News

Billie Jean and Vili's Story

Billie Jean and Vili continue supporting each other through a long 'unexplained' journey

My husband and I began our fertility journey in March 2015 not thinking we would ever have fertility problems and prior to then, barely knew anything about them at all.

After one year of trying had passed and we had no luck, we started to undergo any necessary tests with the doctors. 

On holiday in November 2016, we found out we were pregnant and were over the moon that our prayers had been answered!

Unfortunately at eight weeks, we lost our baby through miscarriage. We had to start all over again. 

We continued with multiple tests and continued trying while carrying our hurt grieving for our lost baby.

We were then 'diagnosed' with Unexplained Infertility – This was because we’d both passed all tests, some with 'flying colours' even but there was no answer as to why we weren't having any luck falling pregnant.

Our what was once heartbreak from our miscarriage had turned into then hope, the only hope we had, that if we had become pregnant naturally once, surely it could happen again?

The hardest thing about having Unexplained Infertility meant we didn't qualify for Public Funding as we have to have been trying for a minimum of five years. Which may not be long for some - but felt/still does feel like a lifetime!!

We tried our best to continue life as normal and not let this fertility journey affect us negatively, weaken us, or worse, affect our relationship. 

We were fortunate to actually buy our first home in the meantime and even get married - I couldn't get through any of this heartache without my husband by my side. We continue to overcome every month, obstacle and test together and come out stronger at the other end.

Being told I had to wait five years in total before getting IVF through funding affected me mentally and emotionally to the point where we WANTED something to be wrong with one of us just so we could A. Have some sort of answer to our frustrations and B. Then qualify for public funding. Saying that sentence alone is sad!

After multiple tests, specialists thought I then had Endometriosis as I was presenting signs and they also then basically said that at this point there were no other procedures or tests to take.

So after now three years of trying, I underwent a laparoscopy through the public hospital in Palmerston North to remove any endometriosis which may be found - For the first time in a long time I was happy and felt we were making some progress and going to get some answers. The doctors as well as my husband and I were all hopeful that they were going to find some endometrial tissue. It be the 'cause' of our infertility, we could then remove it, then could be 'healed' of some sort and able to continue our fertility journey as we should!

When waking up from the procedure feeling all four incisions across my stomach it was a great indication tissue was found and removed so Vili and I both felt hopeful it was a success! We were then informed by the doctor a couple hours later that although they did find endometrial tissue and removed this, it was not in a position which would have any effect on infertility. We were left again without answers, no changes and the worst part, it wasn't 'enough' of a problem to then qualify for public funding, STILL.

After three and a half years of trying, we made the call to undergo a cycle of IVF, Privately.

This meant getting a loan from the bank on our mortgage. Money didn't matter at this stage for us because we were given hope again, it'd been awhile since we felt this. 

September 2018, we begun IVF. This consisted of self-injecting my stomach each day and taking pills then having scans to track our progress before travelling to Wellington’s Fertility Clinic to undergo the process of Egg Collection then a secondary procedure of the Embryo transfer. This alone felt like another journey we were on, a scary but exciting (and hormonal my husband would say) rollercoaster!

 Sadly during the process, we had only ONE embryo survive out of seven which meant that the embryo which was planted in me felt like our one and only hope, our miracle one – now having no ‘back up’. The embryo was implanted on Day 5 and just before it was time to take the final pregnancy test, we lost the baby. The embryo didn’t attach and continue to grow, The IVF was unsuccessful. We were absolutely devastated and sadly my husband said at the time, he could not go through with that again. Regardless of the physical toll my body had just gone through, we were mentally and emotionally broken.

Now in 2019, all year I have been pondering in my head over and over with different dates and when we could look at trying IVF again, this time publicly because unfortunately we could not afford another round privately. I replayed the following dates in my head:

Began trying in March 2015

Eligible for Public Funding five years later, which would be March 2020

There is then an approximate wait of 1.5-2 years to get from the bottom of that list to the top.

This would mean there's a chance we might not get IVF publicly funded until March 2022.

That's another THREE YEARS from now! I was losing sleep and becoming depressed at the thought we would continue to have no luck naturally and as well as now thinking we might not qualify for public funding until I was 30 years old - which that in itself doesn't sound too great medically? 

Knowing that my husband wasn’t ready to go through IVF again, I tried to remain positive and not put that pressure on us emotionally and financially by talking about another IVF round already however getting a pay rise at work tempted me to give Vili a 'proposal' – We could take out another loan on the mortgage and use the extra pay to cover the repayments. After standing side by side feeling each other’s pain, this small opportunity tempted the both of us to go for it again. We were desperate and agreed we couldn’t wait to try again in 2022.

We had a meeting with our mortgage broker to get another loan on our home and have recently signed the consent forms to begin our second round of (private) IVF again in November this year.

If this one is again unsuccessful, we have to sadly accept the fact there is a possibility our next IVF may not be for another three years as we’re both aware we could not afford to pay for another round privately.

Being labelled ‘unexplained’ is incredibly hard as we live day to day wondering WHY. Why we’re not parents yet? Why we can’t conceive again naturally? What’s wrong with us?

I never knew how common fertility issues were and I sure didn’t think we would ever have them. Unfortunately, it’s not until you're finally ready and the time is right to begin your own family, where you discover it’s not that easy for some. I question the criteria for Public Funding and struggle knowing IVF might help us but it’s a matter of making the ‘list’. Infertility issues is Infertility, regardless if it can be explained or not and to not be given hope and treatment because you either can’t afford it or don’t meet a specific criteria, really sucks!

We're grateful for all the support from our Whānau & friends and of course couldn’t have gotten this far without our love for each other. We feel for all of those going through their own infertility journey and can only wish them the absolute best from our hearts to theirs.