How to start a family in the face of adversity

As a child growing up I thought I had my whole life planned out, I’d meet the man of my dreams, get married, and have children, and never for one moment did I imagine that wouldn’t be the case.

Despite having five children, three of whom were born in just two years, having babies did not come easily to me. Having been through infertility in my first marriage, and the loss of fifteen babies to miscarriage, and our second son Joseph to stillbirth, there reached a point where I resigned myself to accepting that I would never have the family I dreamt of. I wasn’t sure that I could go through any more heartache, worn down with the constant hospital appointments and daily injections, and each devastating loss crushing our last glimmer of hope.

Thankfully, and miraculously, I fell pregnant with Eva and within two years Megan and Harry came along to make us a family of six. When I think about how close I was to giving up, I thank god that I didn’t, that I had pushed my fears aside, defeated the odds, and found the strength and determination to keep trying. For that reason, I have a great deal of sympathy for those still trying, for those who face adversity in their path to parenthood, and for those who must over come the toughest of obstacles to hold their baby in their arms.

Sadly there is a vast number of couples struggling to conceive, in just the same way that I was, and what I really want to tell them is that no matter how hard it may seem, never give up hope. There are so many options available for couples struggling to conceive, all of which have been successful for so many families.

Fertility treatment

For those experiencing infertility, there are three main types of fertility treatment

Medicines – Fertility medicines are usually prescribed to women as they’re mostly used to help with ovulation problems. But, in some cases, they may also be prescribed to men.

Surgical procedures – Surgical procedures that may be used to investigate fertility problems and help with fertility include Fallopian tube surgery, Laparoscopic surgery, Surgical extraction of sperm which may be an option for men, particularly those who have had a vasectomy.

Assisted conception – These include intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), where the egg is fertilised outside of the body and the embryo planted back into the womb.

Sperm/Egg Donation 

Same sex couples can face adversity when wanting to start a family, particularly for those who do not wish to adopt. Using a sperm or egg donor allows co-parenting with lesbian and gay couples, and this can be done in a number of ways. Using a sperm donor a female couple can undergo fertility treatment (as above), and a male couple may use a donor egg to undergo pregnancy via a surrogate (as below).

Surrogacy

Surrogacy is when a woman carries a baby for a couple who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves.  Usually the intended mother cannot conceive, or carry a child to term, due to a medical problem. Common reasons why Intended Parents may look at surrogacy are:

  • Recurrent miscarriage in spite of all possible treatment
  • Repeated failure of IVF treatment
  • Premature menopause, often as a result of cancer treatment
  • A hysterectomy, or an absent or abnormal uterus

There are two types of surrogacy, straight (where the baby is conceived via artificial insemination using the hosts egg) and host, where IVF is used, either with the eggs of the intended mother, or with donor eggs. You can read more over on www.surrogacyuk.org

Adoption

Adoption is a way of providing a permanent home and family to a child who can’t be brought up by their birth family. Each year in England alone there are over 4000 children in foster care needing a home, many being older children, sibling groups or children with disabilities.

Some couples choose to adopt following infertility or medical reasons, and for some adoption is their first choice for starting or extending their family. The process is incredibly thorough, lengthy and hard going, and yet every couple I know who has adopted assures me that in the end, it was absolutely worth it for their family.

 

 

 

 

 

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70 Comments

  1. March 22, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    Love this – we tried to conceive for 8 years, lost three babies and when I finally decided I couldn’t handle the pain and frustration anymore I finally conceived our baby Theo (due June!). It’s so hard but there are options out there – I’m so glad we finally have the chance to grow our family.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 2:50 pm

      Ahh I’m so sorry you went through all that but how wonderful to have your little miracle. It’s incredibly hard and I can totally understand why many feel like giving up. xx

  2. March 22, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    Oh my love, what a journey you have had xxx Never give up is sage advice. Sim x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 2:50 pm

      Thank you Sim, I’m incredibly grateful that we didnt! xx

  3. March 22, 2018 / 2:53 pm

    I love this post having been through both IVF and adoption. Families are souch more diverse than the media prottays so it’s lovely to see someone else being open. Thank you

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 3:01 pm

      Thanks Jules. I completely agree, and I think its important to realise that those who appear to have had it easy really might not have. xx

  4. March 22, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    This is really timely for me at the moment having just found out we have secondary infertility problems. Everything feels very big and scary and the moment and this post was really helpful x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 11:21 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that Laura but glad this was helpful. We went through infertility and it was hard but entirely worth it. Good luck to you on your journey going forward. xx

  5. March 22, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    Just read this, what a lovely informative post!

    I have been fortunate so far not to have faced these issues but it could happen and its nice to see there are so many options.

    Erin x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 11:20 pm

      Thanks Erin, I hope that it helps others! xx

  6. Laurence
    March 22, 2018 / 6:38 pm

    Love your journey. And you have a wonderful family, so blessed. Most people especially those who have fears of getting pregnant, or even those who have difficulty in getting pregnant, they always go for Surrogation. At least there are still ways to have kids.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 11:19 pm

      Thank you Laurence. Surrogacy is such an amazing thing to do, I admire anyone who can give another couple a child. xx

  7. March 22, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    You been through an immense journey to get your family! We struggled to, but only 1 miscarriage and then not being able to get pregnant. We had treatment for both pregnancies, hence why no.2 and 3 are twins!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 11:18 pm

      Ahh Sonia it’s hard isn’t it? I went through fertility treatment in my first marriage, although that isn’t just my story to tell, and it was unbearably heard! I’m so glad you have your babies! xx

  8. March 22, 2018 / 10:55 pm

    We had discussed all our options when we started thinking about having a family because we were that bit older than most couples (our son was born shortly after my 36th birthday). We knew we’d try IVF if it came to it and had touched on adoption too. But we were blessed that we conceived only three months after starting. I can’t imagine what you (and other families) have been through in order to have your families x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 11:14 pm

      I think it’s important to know your options and sensible to do our research should that be a route you need to go down. It’s very hard to accept that your path to parenthood may not run smoothly, but the best feeling in the world when you have those babies! xx

  9. Jenny
    March 23, 2018 / 12:18 am

    What a journey to have gone through. I didn’t have any fertility issues but a close friend has just found out he can’t have children and is devastated. Beautiful article.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:57 pm

      Oh gosh that must be hard to come to terms with. Just because you physically can’t conceive doesn’t mean you can’t be a parent though, I hope that he finds a path to parenthood. xx

  10. March 23, 2018 / 1:38 am

    This is such a beautiful post, I have 2 friends who have been trying to conceive from past 7-8 years, but have not been able to due to many issues. One of them is considering IVF, I’m just hopeful that she gets through it this year and cherishes her path to motherhood.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:57 pm

      Ahh Jhilmil I really hope that they are successful with the IVF, everyone deserves to be a parent don’t they? xx

  11. March 23, 2018 / 7:22 am

    I am so sorry that you had issues to begin with but I am so happy that you kept on trying and have the family you’ve always wanted x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:55 pm

      Thank you Rhian, we have been so lucky in so many ways. xx

  12. March 23, 2018 / 8:43 am

    I’m so sorry for all of the pain you have been through. It is amazing to think how face medicine has come in recent years to help people who struggle to conceive.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:54 pm

      It really is amazing isn’t it? And families come in all shapes and sizes these days. It’s heartwarming to see. xx

  13. March 23, 2018 / 9:12 am

    I’m so sorry you have been through so much growing your family and I’m so glad you have your happy ending. You are definitely not alone and this post is great to help others experience the same thing x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:54 pm

      Thank you Kat, we have been incredibly lucky! xx

  14. March 23, 2018 / 9:51 am

    I have to admit that I have been very lucky and have concieved mine easily but I do have many friends who have struggled and had to have intervention to have their family

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:53 pm

      It’s hard seeing those we love struggle. I have friends who have never had children and explored every avenue available, it’s heart breaking really. xx

  15. March 23, 2018 / 10:28 am

    i have been very lucky in conceiving and im grateful for them all, my sister however has not been so so i know the struggles i wish you all the very best x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:53 pm

      Ahh I’m sorry to hear that about your sister, it’s not always easy is it. xx

  16. March 23, 2018 / 12:35 pm

    Oh Laura, you’ve certainly been through so much. You have a beautiful family! Adoption is a very important one. An old family friend and her husband have been trying for years. They’ve recently adopted a sibling set. A boy and girl. It’s amazing to see the joy. 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:51 pm

      Thank you lovely, I am SO lucky. Adoption is amazing, I also have a friend who adopted a little boy to complete their family and it’s just the most wonderful thing to see them together. xx

  17. March 23, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    What a fablous and inspirational post that i am sure will give strength to those facing a similar situation x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:24 pm

      Thank you Melanie, I hope so. xx

  18. March 23, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    It’s always a delicate issue but I really admire your courage. It’s true, never give up. An advice from the doctor is really essential to check whether medicine or devices are needed to treat infertility.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      I agree, there are so many options out there. xx

  19. March 23, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    This is such a great post, I’m adopted and I am so thankful that people still look to adopt children who’s birth parents can’t look after them anymore.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      Yes! Our friends have adopted and it’s so wonderful to see a child have two loving parents who fought to have her. Adoption is amazing! xx

  20. March 23, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    It must be so hard for anyone facing fertility issues, it’s good that there are other options available. I know couples who have adopted &, like you say, it is so worth all the hard work & long process x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:21 pm

      It is always worth it, just so hard at the time! xx

  21. March 23, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s always great to see people being more open about these kinds of topics.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:20 pm

      Thank you for reading! xx

  22. March 23, 2018 / 10:30 pm

    Lovely post and interesting to hear about all the options and procedures there are. Very strong people go through this. Hugs X

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      Thanks Stephanie. xx

  23. March 24, 2018 / 12:50 am

    It’s not easy especially when you want to conceive so bad but there are definitely solutions. These are all good options for couples who would like to start a family. It’s all going to be worth it in the end no matter what option you choose.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:17 pm

      Yes I totally agree, everyone used to ask me why we didnt give up and its because we knew that it would be worth it, regardless of how hard it was at the time. xx

  24. March 24, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey! Despite having PCOS an Endometriosis, infertility was not one of my issue’s like it is for many others. If my husband looked at me wrong I would get pregnant.. However, my uterus was a hostile environment… I had a total of 8 pregnancies, 7 miscarriages and 2 live births (I lost my daughters fraternal twin.)

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that Michele. I was the same in terms of conceiving, 20 pregnancies and 4 live births. It’s heartbreaking isn’t it? I sympathise with anyone struggling to have a family, I know how hopeless I felt at that time. Love to you. xx

  25. March 24, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    I haven’t started trying for a family yet but it reassures me that theres other options out there if theres complications xxx

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:14 pm

      Yes I think it’s so reassuring to know that there are ways out there to really help couples have their families. xx

  26. March 24, 2018 / 10:37 pm

    It took me 7 years to get my little boy. My first child was just so easy I never thought it would be so hard. In the end I just gave up on the idea and it happened. It’s so sad what people go through to have children. Lovely post x

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:13 pm

      It’s so hard when it just isn’t happening, I honestly never thought I would be lucky enough to have one, I still can’t believe that I have four in my arms. xx

  27. March 25, 2018 / 1:19 am

    Your story is awe-inspiring! I hope this helps many out there who are struggling to conceive:)

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:12 pm

      Thank you Michelle! xx

  28. Jennifer
    March 25, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    I am glad that there are other options out there for families who have trouble conceiving. Plus, there are a lot of kids around the world who need a family who loves them!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:11 pm

      Absolutely! I think adoption is an amazing thing to do! xx

  29. March 25, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    I have so much respect for anyone going through this, I’d love to be able to adopt someday x

  30. March 25, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    If you really want a family, these are all good ways to have a family if you are struggling or unable through natural methods. Lots of kids out there need families and would love to be a part of your loving family.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 25, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      Absolutely David, and there are so many children out there needing a good home. xx

  31. Jemma
    March 26, 2018 / 2:13 pm

    I absolutely love this post. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s wonderful that there are more options out there now for families who are struggling to conceive.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 26, 2018 / 10:22 pm

      Thank you Jemma, it’s amazing how modern science has evolved, but also how we are acknowledging that families come in all shapes and forms! xx

  32. March 26, 2018 / 2:44 pm

    What a journey you’ve had. Thank you so much for sharing this to give others hope and a better understanding of how they can start their families.

    Best,

    Idora

    http://www.ajournalofstories.com

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 26, 2018 / 10:21 pm

      Thank you Idora. xx

  33. Patrice Boothe
    March 26, 2018 / 6:44 pm

    Wow what an amazing, brave person you are. I’m so happy too see you got the family you wanted in the end and you are so strong for not giving up. Xx

    http://www.pixieox.com

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 26, 2018 / 10:21 pm

      Thank you Patrice! xx

  34. March 26, 2018 / 7:24 pm

    These are all great suggestions and a comprehensive description of each. My oldest daughter has been against having her own child from a very young age and seems to be much more interested in adoption. Would you happen to have any recommended literature on adoption that you’ve written or can point me to?

  35. Chichi
    March 27, 2018 / 1:57 am

    I am so glad that you got a family eventually I know it is disheartening to want to start a family and not be able too!!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 1:03 pm

      Thank you Chichi. xx

  36. March 27, 2018 / 5:59 pm

    This is such a beautiful post and it will help so many people who are going through these circumstances in their lives. People should consider being a foster parent as there are so many children who want family and love!

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