I find talking about PCD and fertility a bit odd. One affects you throughout your life and the other only at a very particular time. Simply put, you don’t really think of fertility as a thing until it impacts you.
When I was young, I had medical professionals mention as a footnote ‘you know that condition with your lungs is likely going to impact your fertility, right?’
Like most, I suspect, growing up I had other things going on and didn’t really think much about reproductive health. As I started to head towards my 30’s and conversations of starting a family with my partner started to come up, so we decided to check my fertility. It was then that we found out there was virtually no chance of us conceiving naturally.
While our plans to start a family were a few years away, pandemic aside, there is a lot to think about if you can’t fall pregnant naturally. Like, what does our journey look like, can we afford it and most importantly can we handle the emotional rollercoaster that fertility treatment will bring.
We started our IVF journey in 2021 and, so far, have been incredibly fortunate. For us, this started with a referral from my PCD team to a fertility specialist. After being assessed and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) recommended as the route, we were able to secure funding and went on to have assessments and treatment.
I can’t stress how much weight having our treatment paid for takes off the intensity of this whole process and we’re incredibly grateful that the provision is available.
Now in 2023 and hopefully by the time this comes out, we’ll be welcoming twins to the world. We are, of course, over the moon about our outcome but getting to this point has been tough and far, far tougher on my partner who has received the treatment. Each step has so many unknowns to it and there are so many gates to get through before getting to this point.
Something we didn’t expect from this whole process is the amount of time that it takes. For people that don’t have to go through IVF, idea to baby can be 9 months. For those that do IVF, it can take years and might not result in the outcome you hope. What sped up the process for us was two things; speaking to our PCD clinic first and having gone private for our very early fertility tests. If you’re thinking of starting a family and want to know what the next steps look like for you, this can give you a great base and cuts through a lot of the processes that other couples might face on their fertility journey.
Just like how everyone’s PCD journey and diagnosis looks different, we’ve found the same to be true with fertility. While you may not know yet what yours will look like, or what the outcome may be - know that there are many positive stories of families being made in all sorts of ways despite PCD being a factor.
- names have been changed to protect identity of the writer