SP | UP THE DUFF Week 34: IVF and the chicklet.

SP | UP THE DUFF Week 34: IVF and the chicklet.

fertility post 35 part 2.jpg

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A few weeks ago, I touched on the whole fertility post-35 issue. For me, it became scarily personal around the age of 36.

After talking to that obstetrician about lifestyle choices and creating the best ‘environment’ for conception and an embryo to grow in, I dug a little deeper. I read a lot about boosting fertility. I stumbled across some amazing data about couples who took their fertility in hand, made some not-to-be-sniffed-at lifestyle changes and got pregnant naturally. I’ve since talked to many women – friends, family, other bloggers – who quietly put themselves and their partners on 3-month fertility detoxes and cleanses and got pregnant.

And, while I wasn’t obsessive about it, I certainly switched into health mode. We ate organic this. Full-fat that. Spent hundreds on Chinese herbs. Gave up my beloved bread (that didn’t last long) and seriously cut back on booze. I lost weight. Had regular acupuncture. Meditated daily. Did relaxation, visualisation, temperature tracking, ovulation sticks. Eventually we went for tests and more tests at a fertility clinic (nothing wrong with either of us).

About two and a half years after we started trying, I got pregnant. And almost as quickly – just seven weeks in – had a miscarriage. The letdown was enormous. I still don’t want to think about that sad time or the baby that wasn’t to be – and, it was a bittersweet turning point. I was convinced all the changes had helped us ‘crack it’ and I still believed, wholeheartedly, that with enough time, we could have conceived again. But after nearly three years trying, something in me didn’t want to gamble on a healthy lifestyle and a bit of hope any longer. We needed a little push.

According to this fertility facts video by the Queensland Fertility Group, the percentage of women giving birth over the age of 35 has increased to 23 percent, while 4 percent of women giving birth are aged 40+. Wow. I am part of that 4 percent.

I had just turned 40 when we started IVF. It had taken me three years to come to peace with the decision to hand my fertility over to the people who could help. It was the start of a new journey and one we fervently hoped would, this time, work for real. But I knew it wouldn’t be easy – and it wasn’t. There was a weekly schedule packed with medications to take at different times (lots of them). Needles (lots of them). Blood tests (I lost count, though my poor arm didn’t – only one arm worked in the end for finding a vein). Scans. More tests. It was hard and expensive and hormonally intense. If I could’ve turned back the clock and given us a few more years to try naturally, I would have. While also being so, so glad this technology exists and that it could help us.

And, having met many women who’d undergone multiple IVF cycles, who’d been on assisted fertility treatment for years and who still held out hope that the next time would be the blue line and the baby they wanted so badly, I am under no illusions as to how lucky we are that IVF worked first time for us.

The chicklet will be in the 1 in 25 babies that are born in Australia with the help of IVF.

And we already have a hot date with the nurses and doctors at the fertility clinic who, I think, really deserve one of the first cuddles with our precious bubba after he makes his way into the world.

horseyRC readers… what do you think about assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as clomid, IVF, IUIs and ICSI? Have any of these things helped you have a family?


Journalist. New mama. Mr Chick's missus. Blogger at The Mama Files, Reality Chick, Letter To My Ex and Rachel's List. Author of sex advice book, Get Lucky. Writer for Good Health, CLEO, Woman's Day, Inside Out, NineMSN and many more. Current fantasy: adding a rooftop hot-tub to the house.


  1. Suzanne 10 years ago

    Oh Rachel, the parallels are all there. Yes, 40 was the age I had also chosen as my ‘deadline’ for opting for IVF and we were also so incredibly lucky to have a success first time around. Our second and third cycles were not successful (but I was incredibly exhausted and not surprised when they didn’t work out), and then our fourth – and what I had claimed to be our final – cycle when I was 43 came through with our winning little lady who is now 8 months old and sitting at my feet as I type. Congratulations on all you have achieved so far and I am so looking forward to seeing what happens next for you. Also thanks for the reminder – we have ended up so incredibly busy that we haven’t taken our little gal back for the cuddle at the clinic. Time to make that appointment!!!

    • Author

      I have heard that ‘this is our final round’ story a few times Suzanne! Isn’t it funny. So glad you were able to have your lovely munchkins with the help of IVF too… incredible really. Will definitely be posting photos of the chicklet when he makes his grand arrival so stay tuned! 🙂

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