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Am I right to panic?(9 Posts)
I'm 34, about to be 35, and I am really panicking about my ability to conceive and timelines. And also that I'm going to drive my boyfriend away with panic. Please help.
I ended up basically being a carer for two people with cancer (my ex boyfriend and my dad) from 30 - 34, and so didn't really have the time to think about children although I knew I wanted them. I did try and talk to my ex-boyfriend about it but he said that it was unfair in the context of him having treatment and so I basically didn't mention it again despite it being a big worry (he then dumped me straight after my dad had died and when he was well again, so this did me no good, and I still feel angry for him at this but that's another story).
I'm now about to turn 35, and very much feel the biological clock ticking. I have a lovely boyfriend (of 8 months) who definitely wants children but not for a few years (he's 31 and says he needs to be in a more financially stable place which I think is fair enough). We don't even live together yet, although things are moving at a nice steady pace. I also know it would be wise to let our relationship establish more and ideally probably just have fun for a couple of years and try and forget the s***show that was ages 30-34 (I think I still have a mild form of PTSD from multiple traumas and losses).
The problem is that I am very panicked that by the time we start trying for a baby I'll be too old, and/or that we'll split up and I'll have to do it on my own. I know this puts a horrible, heavy pressure on the situation and I know that what I need most of all right now - let alone him - is just some fun, carefree time feeling in love and happy for the first time in a very long time.
I have been looking into egg freezing as a fallback, which I hoped would make him feel slightly less pressure, and I haven't pushed him in any way to commit to any kind of timeline with me (although we've had the conversation about when we would ideally want children), but because I'm thinking about this a lot at the moment and generally stressing about my own timeline / the freezing process etc (see below) I cannot have a conversation with him about this without coming off as desperate and pressurey, and because I know this I keep talking about it anyway (in some weird, fatalistic 'dont think about the elephant' way) but whilst I'm quite upset and in a real tizzy.
He's very understanding, and says that my problem is his problem and reassures me we would probably be fine fertility wise (also, I got pregnant twice accidentally in my mid twenties), but I feel awful that I'm putting him under so much pressure so early on and worried I'm going to ruin everything. We've not explicitly said 'I want to have babies with YOU' but we do talk about it indirectly - talking about names, what we would dress our children in, etc. And he reassured me his family is very fertile so he at least hypothetically sees me as the one he wants to have children with and he has said he would like to have two children by the time he's 35 (in four years time).
I went for fertility testing a couple of weeks ago to see what my reserves are and investigate egg freezing and the doctor was incredibly rude. I told him that it was a bit early in my relationship to be asking my boyfriend to test his sperm to reassure me and he said 'If a woman like you asked me to get my sperm tested after 8 months into a relationship I'd run a mile'. This was really upsetting and I think has partly spurred this weird period of upset.
The doctor said the success rates for freezing then thawing eggs when taken at this age was close to 50% but it seems this was wildly inaccurate and official figures are more like 8%? I don't know who to believe.
They also tested my antral follicle at the peak of ovulation. The doctor said 12 was a good number, and then the nurse afterwards told me that was actually a bit low considering my amh levels (26.2) and that that was why there were probably less - they were hiding behind the mature egg and also they die off during the cycle. I don't understand why the clinic let me have the testing if this is the case? I feel like I've spent 100s of pounds for incorrect information (I have since lodged a complaint, at the same time as talking to them about egg freezing and I'm worried they're going to treat me badly because of it). If they had tested on days 1-4 I could had a higher egg number and not felt worried. Also, as I was pretty sure I wanted egg freezing they should have just told me to go ahead with the tests for that as they are the same anyway and included in the package - it's been a complete waste of money which really makes me worry that they just don't care about doing a good job and will sell me anything.
On the money front, I've saved so hard the past few years and have just enough for a very modest house deposit on a two bed flat in London. I'm seriously considering not spending this and instead saving it for the potential IVF I may need a a few years down the line. I know this is last-ditch planning but I would just feel so sad and angry if timing meant I couldn't have child and I've somehow convinced myself I can't keep a relationship and will push this one away as well (I've had a few in my life - ironically, I've ended most of them so I don't know where this insecurity comes from. I guess I felt very rejected and abandoned after my last one).
I'm also incredibly worried about the egg harvesting process as I know I react very strongly to hormones. The pill sent me near suicidal, and I tried a few. I'm very worried about working during the process (I'm self employed and lose money for days off).
All of this came out in one garbled, crying mess to my boyfriend this morning, and I worry it's all very unfair and heavy for him and going to drive him away. But I've become near obsessed. I was all for freezing asap but have since read those statistics and probably need to think again.
I know life is impossible to plan - life has taught me that over and over again recently - but I'd appreciate your thoughts. What would you do? Freeze now and get it over and done with, or wait till I'm maybe feelng less panicked and do it in a better state?
And how do I talk about this with my boyfriend (who wants to know what's going on) without making him feel under huge amounts of pressure and pushing him away? The anxiety about doing that is ironically making me even more clingy and weird about it all and I'm very embarrassed. I'm pretty calm and cool otherwise!
Sorry for the garbled spiel. Haven't slept properly in two days due to this worry, which seems to be getting worse as 35 approaches next week!
Would appreciate any views / reassurance / blunt truth at this point. Am I being overly panicked? How do I relax about this?
I would have an honest conversation with your bf. Be clear with him that you want to have children and ask him what his timescales are (hard to say but with such big decisions I think it is worth asking).
I think your amh sounds fine (but other fertility experts feel free to disagree!) - I am nearly 30 and mine is 23, and the fact you have fallen pregnant naturally before is a good sign.
It sounds like the dr you saw was a numpty and another clinic might be better.....perhaps try somewhere else? I have no experience of egg freezing but can answer qs on iui/ ivf if that would help.
My gosh you have really been through it. I remember having the conversation about children very early with my partner as I was close to that age. I don't know much about egg freezing tbh but I do think under the circs I would probably get it done (depending on cost) as an insurance. The problem is we don't really know until we start trying and it sounds like you've had very mixed advice. That doctor sounds horrific, that is not the way to speak to someone, especially about such a sensitive topic. Is there a way could could cancel the complaint until after treatment/go somewhere else. More for you, that you wouldnt have to be seeing them.
You are way, way overthinking this.
You don't have any reason to think that you, or your boyfriend, have any fertility problems. You're young enough that you have time to try, when you're both ready, and still have time for alternatives if needed (which you have no reason to think they would be).
I will say, though, if dude has some plan of having two children before he's 35, then he does need to recognise that the timescales involved mean starting not that far in the future. So you may want to actually have those conversations directly.
Mainly, though, I'd say you might benefit from some counselling. You're becoming incredibly distressed about this and to be honest, I see that as a bigger problem for you right now then possible future fertility problems.
I really feel for you, and I understand how you feel having been in a similar-ish position at 36 when my then bf of 2 yrs left me because I wanted children and he didn't. I agree with the pp that you should talk honestly about how you feel with your bf, including how you would feel if you weren't able to have children in the future.
If you do decide to proceed with having your eggs frozen, I agree that perhaps you should look at another clinic. You need to feel confident that they are acting in your best interests and I don't think you will feel that about your current clinic. IVF is stressful enough without any additional worries. Also, if you can afford it now, then having tests re-done at another clinic might help reassure you/give you more accurate facts. I also saw a counsellor who was really useful at that time as someone with whom I could discuss issues, so they didn't mount up quite so much, and who helped me with thinking about what having children meant for me, why it was important and how I could have a good life with or without children - which helped to take the pressure off (to some extent).
At 36 my relationship ended and I felt very similarly to you...always wanted children so I too went to see a fertility clinic with the aim of freezings some eggs.
From what I remember I think you could be right about both your stats - because an egg is a single cell only about 50% of them will properly defrost after freezing ready to be fertilised. Overall I think the live birth rate from a frozen egg is about 8-12%.
Don't give yourself such a hard time for feeling the way you do. Be kind to yourself. You're not acting crazy. There are a lot of statistics around age and fertility.
I have to agree with what others have said in that it may be worth having a conversation with your bf.x
Talk to him and make a plan which is a bit more solid. If he wants to have two children by the time he is 35 then really you would want to be starting nowish - considering that a pregnancy is 9 months plus 6-12 month window for TTC and assuming he is not thinking 2 within 2 years or so (might not be possible anyway if you plan on breastfeeding).
Fertility is not as much of a cliff edge at 35 as "they" say but it is likely to take longer to get pregnant at that age plus you are more likely to have miscarriages, so you might want to mentally assign a window of 8-18 months to TTC, rather than 6-12 months (most people under 35 can realistically plan 4-8 months, 6-12 is cautious and allows for off months/a miscarriage) and if you're waiting much longer then err on the side of caution with a 12-24 month window.
This is good though it's a bit simplistic. www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9ryP0UyO5U
Meant to add, 8 months would be a bit early for me in a relationship to TTC, but not too early to have a conversation about fertility issues.
No. You aren't right to panic. You've got a pretty fantastic amh and a really good afc for mid-cycle. It's good that you're thinking about these things, but panic? No. You have options and a plan, of sorts.
You never know how fertility is going to go until you start ttc. There was absolutely no reason for me to think that when I started ttc at my 32nd bday that I would need ivf and would have my first child (and only, she's 5 months) at 35.
I had some counselling when it looked like things weren't going well, and it really helped to have someone impartial help me sort through my feelings. All fertility clinics must have access to patient counsellors, so that might be an avenue for you to explore.
I agree with above. He wants two within the next four years?! Get cracking!!! And remember that when you start ttc, when you do fall pregnant, it's still 9 months until you have a baby (at least). Most people start ttc when they're ready for a baby now, not in nearly a year...