Early signs of later fertility problems and being diagnosed with PCOS
I think I first realised I would have some sort of issue pretty early on. I've never had normal periods and I was put on the pill at a very young age, I think from my second period when I was 14. That was because they were irregular and quite lengthy and I had quite heavy periods as well.
So when I was in my mid-20s my partner and I decided that we - well, I decided I wanted to try and regulate my periods without the pill and that's when I first went to see a gynaecologist about what I could do to get them regular. When I seen the gynaecologist he advised me that I had PCOS and that to stay on the pill until I wanted to conceive, so that's what I did.
Trying to conceive in a previous relationship
About a year later my partner and I decided we would give it a try and try and conceive. So I went through the process of getting off the pill and going on various medications to regulate my periods and also fertility tablets and things like that. Throughout that time with the gynaecologist, I'd see him probably three times a month. We'd do examinations, internals, ultrasounds, things like, to try and pick the best dates and that sort of thing to fall pregnant. So after maybe two years of that I - of us trying I had enough and I said it was too much for me and I was getting too - I think I was getting too emotional and it was just becoming a chore and not really a happy thing for me to do. So then I decided to stop. Then my partner then and I split up not long after and so then I went back on the pill and didn't try.
A new relationship and deciding to try IVF
So since then I've got a new partner and in the last year we've been discussing what we would do if we would like to conceive and we both decided that for my mental health it would probably be better that we seek help and look at maybe doing IVF because I don't want to - I just didn’t want to go through that lengthy process again. Now that I'm 33 this year it's getting to that point where I don't have a lot more time left to have good eggs, so we are going down to [city name] in September to start the process of going through IVF.
Challenges of accessing gynaceological care living in remote Australia
I think I was 24 when I found out I had PCOS. The gynaecologist's words exactly were, he said, "Your ovaries look like a rat's been at them". That's how I knew that I had - and I didn't know what PCOS was. He said to go and Google it and do some research. So that's how I found out what it was. Since then I have seen other gynaecologists in [remote town name], however they only come up a few times a year and it's quite hard; you're waiting six months to get an appointment and I haven't really had a lot of luck with them.
When I've spoken to them they've said, "Oh, by the sounds of your - it sounds like you might have endometriosis,” however - I've never been diagnosed with that. But just, I think because I have such painful periods and things they say, "Oh, you probably have it". So I don't know whether I do or not. I'd like to think I don't but I don't know. So that's sort of my only interactions with gynaecologists. So I haven't had a good sort of run with good bedside manner, if that's the word.
Expectations of IVF success and thoughts about adoption
We've never said we'd only do it this many times and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But I do think that maybe after the first time that if it doesn't work then we would discuss what the boundaries are. I don't want to do it - I don't want to send ourselves bankrupt trying to have a baby. I would much prefer to say, "Look, let's spend the money on looking after ourselves and having a holiday and cleansing ourselves and then go and adopt or do something like that"
I feel like I haven't worked so hard my whole life to kind of then have to put all this pressure on myself and then not be able to have the baby. I know of people that have done that. I've watched, documentaries on people that have been through IVF and pretty much sold everything they have just to do it one last time. I just - I really don't want to do that. It would be devastating and if it doesn't work, yeah, of course I'm going to be really upset. But I don't want to, I don't want to sell my soul for a baby kind of thing. I think you can be happy without having your own biological children. Well, I - I hope so. I don't know but I - I assume you would be.
If it doesn't work I said - I've always been open to adoption even if I did have my own children I've always been quite open to that idea because there are a lot of kids out there that need, stable homes and stuff. So I have mentioned that with him and sort of said if I can't - if we can't have our own children that's definitely an option. I just think because it's an endless pit of money. You can spend all - every cent you have and still not have a baby and - and I don't really want to do that either.