After having 3 children without any problems in my 30s, it was a huge surprise to me wanting another baby at 41, having a miscarriage, and struggling with fertility issues. Then I read the statistics for my age group.
Statistically only 1 in every 20 of my ovulation cycles (once every 2 years) would yield an egg with DNA healthy enough to make it to conception and beyond into developing into a baby, if I was lucky.
Despite being a herbalist of 17 years experience, and having treated hundreds of women for reproductive health issues, I reasoned that given the ugly statistics for my age group, and given I was literally running out of time, I had to try IVF first and consider natural therapies second. I was feeling the panic set in, time was my enemy and, like many other women before me; I felt the overwhelming need to force life into my body, even though it was clearly telling me it was not ready to conceive or carry a baby.
So I sought the help of IVF.
IVF treatment is an important and essential arm of infertility treatments, and the technology and skill of the program is of a very high standard in Denmark. It's also a program that is the only option for a small group of men or women with physical or genetic problems that make natural conception impossible.
I started IVF with the decision to try 3 short treatments. IVF treatment is no walk in the park. It is both physically and emotionally demanding. Treatment involved injecting follicle stimulating hormones into my belly or bum fat every day, to artificially stimulate my ovaries to grow lots and lots of follicles (eggs) to harvest for the IVF procedure, where technicians mix the egg and sperm together, grow it in the lab, and put it back into my womb and cross fingers. The harvesting procedure was painful and I never made lots of eggs, but they were viable and healthy and 5 days after harvesting the eggs, I was back in the IVF clinic having embryos placed in my womb in the hope they would grow into an established pregnancy. But they never did. I was not successful with IVF treatment and didn't want to continue with a treatment that I felt was really tough on my body.
I also began to feel a power struggle with my body, like I was forcing it to fall pregnant, forcing it to grow 20 more eggs a cycle that it is designed to do and I was feeling my life had become overly medicalized where my everyday was about appointments or injections or thoughts on pregnancy. It just didn't add up in my head that this forcing and pushing and power struggle was the way to treat my body and certainly not the way I was wanting to create a beautiful baby.
So I got really brave and decided at 41 it was ok to get off the medical treatment merry-go-round because I wanted to stop with all the stress of trying to conceive. It was an unwanted companion in a life process that should be about joy. But it wasn't, it had turned into a power struggle with my body. I chose to commit to preparation and nourishment. My husband chose it too.
We began a gentle and easy health plan that involved improving our diet, reducing stress, having more fun, and targeting egg quality and sperm health with specific herbals and nutritional supplements. I also started seeing an acupuncturist for specific fertility treatment which were easy and relaxing and I bought a series of relaxation CDs aimed at supporting infertile women.
6 months into our health plan, we conceived naturally and I had an uncomplicated pregnancy and at age 43 gave birth to a perfect healthy boy.
Natural fertility care and preconception care were pivotal in our success with conceiving Noah and I strongly encourage all couples to commit to a preconception care plan before starting IVF or ICSI, or attempting to conceive naturally.