“I'm currently 13 weeks pregnant!”
- Sarah's Story
Ok, let's start with the basics.
Sarah, female, 39
male, 43, ED (Erectile Dysfunction)
Current status: 13 weeks pregnant-successful on the first cycle
First of all, where are you today?
I'm currently 5 weeks pregnant!
What's your TTC story?
My partner and I are both immunologists, we put our careers first and only recently started thinking about children. A lot of people were asking us about family and kids, and honestly as I was approaching 40, it felt like a good time to get going. My cousin actually had some fertility issues, and encouraged us to get checked. So we did!
“I was approaching 40, it felt like a good time to get going.…”
How did you feel?
Trying to conceive was affecting both myself and my husband hugely. To be totally honest, he felt like he couldn't deliver, and I remember feeling like I wasn't enough as a woman. It's such a challenging emotional journey, and we just don't talk about it enough. My husband and I didn't really talk about it to begin with, but he was struggling with ED (Erectile Dysfunction), and we were both struggling emotionally. When we did open up and talk about it, things felt easier.
It's odd that your partner's ED was ignored.
Totally. Especially as we went straight to private care, at a really good clinic (I just knew the NHS wouldn't be the right route for us). I got tested for all the usual things (except HSG) and all results came back normal, so the diagnosis was Unexplained Infertility. My partner stated erectile dysfunction (ED) on his form, but no one ever picked it up or talked to us about it, which seemed a bit strange.
ED is a lot more common than we think &emdash; how did you navigate this?
My partner and I both knew that he struggled when ‘under pressure’. No one speaks about how much pressure there is on the male partner to perform sexually when trying to conceive, it's a really hard situation that becomes a bit of a pressure cooker, but it is so common. I feel really lucky to have great communication with my husband, we're able to talk openly about this stuff but it's still really hard. We don't have much of a time overlap when I'm ovulating, and the time pressure this puts on us has been stressful.
“No one speaks about how much pressure there is on the male partner to perform sexually when trying to conceive”
So the clinic pushed you straight to IVF?
Yes, they did. I remember asking about IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) as an option, but was told it wouldn't be a good option because the success rates are below IVF. I felt really pushed into IVF, but to be honest, I knew I didn't want to do it. In fact, I probably wouldn't have pursued treatment if IVF was the only option on the table. As a part of the package with the clinic, I agreed to see a Junior Doctor who said “have you looked at home insemination kits”? It sort of slipped out in our conversation, and I was pretty surprised &emdash; I'd never even heard of home insemination kits.
“I felt really pushed into IVF, but to be honest, I knew I didn't want to do it. In fact, I probably wouldn't have pursued treatment if IVF was the only option on the table.”
What did you do next?
Well, I started Googling. I searched for ‘home insemination kits’ and honestly at the time thought “this is mad &emdash; nothing will turn up”. When Béa popped up at the top of Google I thought “no way, this doesn't sound real, why haven't I heard of this?” I liked the idea of doing it from home, where we're most chilled. So I took the plunge and bought the Béa Treatment Kit.
How did it go with your Béa Kit?
What I liked most was that the kit allowed my husband to just leave me a semen sample in the collection pot. I could take it away and go do my thing with the kit. The kit is really well explained, although when I first saw the Applicator I thought, ‘what a terrifying instrument’. Although it was actually really comfortable to use. Honestly, my husband and I just laughed &emdash; trying to conceive with a kit really isn&emdash;t a glamorous experience, but then again neither is trying naturally… We both just saw the funny side, and got on with it.
What&emdash;s next for you?
Well, we&emdash;re 13 weeks pregnant and really excited for the future!
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