Get the facts right! Or maybe it should be Let it Go!

This morning headline in the Daily Mail is NHS to fund sperm bank for Lesbians.  I find this rather upsetting as I need a sperm donor in order to have another child and was told there is none in the UK and that it has to be imported from Denmark which is expensive and takes too long and to go away and forget about it.  But how can I forget about it when there are headlines like this?
The article is actually about the NHS setting up sperm banks in the UK, only at 2 centres which it does not name.  Other papers name Birmingham Women’s hospital in their less sensational stories the Guardian and Sunday Times.  In actual fact the banks are being set up to benefit anyone who needs donor sperm, but will be of biggest benefit to lesbian couples and single women who of course can’t have children in the conventional way.
Having just been on a family holiday where there were lots of babies and pregnant women my baby longing has become stronger again, even though I know I am too old and can’t afford it.  In my case it’snot just the need for a donor I also need IVF which I have already had 3 times with only one successful pregnancy and the treatment made me very ill.  Emily makes things worse at times by pleading with me for a baby brother or sister and not understanding that it is not possible.  Our situation is rather complicated so not something a 7 year old can understand.
Our journey to having a child as with many other things was rather fraught and complicated.  We began trying for a child naturally and things did not happen so were referred to the hospital.  I have Polycystic ovaries, but no other obvious problems.  Rob’s sperm count was ok at first, then he was diagnosed with Azoospermia but with no apparent cause so we were a  bit of a mystery, but it was thought we would benefit from IVF so were put on the waiting list.  On 11th August 2005 were given a start date of Mid sept.  I remember this date clearly as my grandad died later that day.  We started the treatment which is very demanding and requires lots of medication and daily injections.  I had a very good reaction, too good though as I developed Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome which is very uncomfortable and has to be monitored closely meaning many blood tests and scans.  14 eggs were harvested in a rather painful procedure, out of this only 4 fertilised.  We had expected the standard (at the time) 2 embryos to be replaced, but on the day the Dr said due to my illness they thought one might be better and asked us to decide and left us to discuss it.  The transfer has to be done with a full bladder so we were left to discuss and I was rather uncomfortable and the transfer was finally cancelled and moved to next day when we had 1 embryo put back and the other 3 frozen.  Still with OHSS and awaiting result we joined family to celebrate my grandma’s 90th birthday, quite difficult as no one knew and I still needed daily injections of hormones and heparin.  The test date finally arrived its a very long 2 weeks wait and it was negative 🙁 We were told that we could try again with our frozen embryos so we began the process to do this.  When we were accepted for treatment the NHS funded one full cycle and one frozen cycle, but then it changed just to one full cycle and we were told that our frozen cycle would not be funded.  We appealed this and eventually were told that we could have the frozen cycle funded as it was part of the contract we had signed.  So off we went again in April 2006.  Frozen cycles are easier and involve less drugs as the ovaries do not need to be stimulated and there is no egg collection and no chance of OHSS, but still time consuming and stressful and Rob had been ill on and off for several months.  Two embros were put back this time and the other failed so was destroyed.  Another key date in this cycle the test date was to be my 35th birthday.  I had my birthday a day early just in case we were to be disappointed again.  On June 16th 2006 I was told I was finally pregnant and given a due date of February 2007.
As with any pregnancy it was stressful time, but mine was very stressful due to Rob’s mum being diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer, she had successful treatment in October 2006.  Just a few weeks later Rob was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour which required immediate surgery.  I collapsed and was paralysed for nearly 24 hours, so Rob was in one hospital and I was in another and we lived like that for a week.  Rob had his surgery the day my grandma had surgery to replace her broken shoulder.  I was in hospital for a week and Rob for 2 weeks due to complications with his surgery.  On December 22nd after many weeks of waiting we were told Rob had cancer, very unusual for a pituitary tumour and it was an unknown type so they didn’t know how to treat it!  He was scheduled for radiotherapy in April.
Rob began his road towards recovery and radiotherapy and we waited for our baby, who arrived 2 weeks early on February 5th 2007, 3 days before Rob’s 30th birthday.  My grandma who had been in hospital several months was discharged that day.  We were able to enjoy a few weeks of parenthood before my grandma (the other one) was found collapsed in her home with a stroke and was admitted to hospital with no chance of recovery.  We waited for the inevitable, grandma died on April 15th, my mum’s birthday and the day before Rob started is radiotherapy.
We had said before Emily was born that due the the nature f the IVF treatment and cost we would only have Emily.  But with all that happened and natural desire I began to want another child.  I felt that I had been denied the chance of experiencing pregnancy as we had been so busy with other things and Emily’s first few months were overshadowed by other events.  Unfortunately as Rob had had his pituitary gland removed he did not produce sperm any more, so we thought we had no options, but then discovered that he could have hormone replacement to restart production, it should take a few months to be effective.  So daily injections and regular tests began and 2 years later he had a very small amount!  Just enough to try IVF again, his sperm was stored and the medication stopped and the IVF started again.  This time we were told to try Intracytoplasmic sperm injection as it gave us a better chance of fertilisation, but of course it was more expensive!  Ten eggs were harvested in a painless egg collection due to much better pain killers and sedation.  Then began the wait for the news of fertilisation, its an agonising 24 hour wait for the phone to ring.  Finally the phone call none had fertilised, end of the road. And £5,000 down the drain just to add to the pain.
At the follow up we were told that our only option would be a sperm donor, which is expensive and time consuming and not available to most.  We were told to go and forget about it and settle for having one child. We did look into sperm donation and found that it was possible, but too involved and expensive so we eventually made the decision not to go down that road, but its still difficult to accept. I know I am blessed to have Emily, but still long for another even though I know I can’t.  So that is why I find stories like that so annoying.  I don’t begrudge anyone the chance of a child, but wish the press would be careful what they say and how they portray stories around sensitive issues.

After typing this there is more about what happened to me rather than the story.  The sperm bank will be available to everyone, based in Birmingham though I suspect that that area will benefit the most.

Its all to late for me so I have to find a way of letting it go and the words from the Frozen song are quire appropriate although about something totally different.

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried!

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all!

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry!

Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on!

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!
Copied from azlyrics.

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