The Infertility Professionals: Guesswork and Bad Advice

The Untold Stories of IVF

The Infertility Professionals: Guesswork and Bad Advice

July 14, 2017 Firsthand Experience 0
Different Shores blogs from Dublin, Ireland. She has raised questions about clinic business motives and explains how data obfuscation interferes with informed decision-making, noting: “When you are starting out you hit up the online message boards, ask around and hope for the best.” She shares her IVF experience in the following essay for our #UnmaskingIVF campaign. If you have a story please write us at info@reprotechtruths [dot] org.

When I think about my infertility saga in Ireland I still have moments of frustration about how dubious it was. I can’t recall a single professional that inspired confidence in me.

At 34, I knew that something was wrong but not yet that it was stage 4 endometriosis. When I spoke of the agonising pains that ran down my thighs and my ominously scant periods, Dublin Well Woman clinic merely told me that pain was a good sign – it meant I was fertile – and that I was ‘a lucky girl’ not to have to spend so much money on sanitary protection.

In 2010 another female GP told me:

“Pain usually means things are working”.

The first IVF doctor we saw was hectic and odd: she snapped at us not to ask questions or take notes during the consultation. We left.

Sims Dublin were smooth-talkers but seemed to be shooting in the dark. They advised max-dosage IVF that failed spectacularly before transfer. But the one time that they simply manually ruptured a cyst for me (to prepare the way for another, experimental protocol), I became pregnant and miscarried. I always had large ‘leftover follicles’ and had long suspected I had a problem releasing eggs.

See also  The Side of IVF You Won’t Hear About in the Media

If they did that kind of monitoring every month, with hormonal support, wouldn’t that be more effective than another big €6,000 nuke attack?

No comment from them: the only follow-up was an invoice for 40 euro for the pregnancy test.


In the meantime I saw a professional counsellor. I was agonizing about whether to continue with treatment or accept a life without kids.

She gravely told me I needed ‘a Plan B’. But how, what, when? I asked in desperation. Her one suggestion:

“Have you thought about a book club?” 

And when I pondered whether life would be so bad without children:

“Well, I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have my daughters” (Visible shudder).

So, I then drifted in the direction of Dublin’s current donor-baby god, an affable Kiwi gent beloved of the women of the message-boards. I had a fairly bizarre experience with him. He knew I was doubtful, so he opened up to me a bit.

Notes from my diary, 13th May 2011:

“We got a 51-year-old woman pregnant with twins. It was OK; she was a young 51. But we got a 53-year-old pregnant and I wish I’d told her not to bother…. she was old, you know, she was tired. Donor is a big decision. You don’t do it unless you’re desperate”.

He then said that he and his second wife had been “trying for number two”. Advice from his wife?

“Get a dog instead”

Something made me google him later. He had a Facebook page, and had posted up a desperate plea: he was looking for the children he’d had with his ex-wife, but she had turned them against him and he didn’t see them at all now.

See also  When IVF Clinics Deliver False Hope

The irony slapped me in the face: the donor-baby god estranged from his own biological children.

That was when I started to stop. The clinics didn’t seem to know what they were doing. The donor-baby god, newly installed in Dublin’s flashiest private hospital making menopausal women pregnant, was keen to take my money but made me question the point of it all.

I just wanted out. It was crazier than I was. Couldn’t I just eschew all the madness, stop giving these shady characters our money, and live a normal life?

It seemed like a sensible Plan B.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.