What is Infertility?

After taking a hiatus from Baby and Bump last week, I logged back in to read a private message and noticed a new post in my journal. I found these three posts (plus a couple of nicer ones from a different user). Apparently these were the edited versions.


These posts were from a fellow lesbian couple who have been trying via artificial insemination for a year or so and are now moving on to other fertility treatments.

I was shocked to read these things, and as were some of my other followers judging by their reactions. I was also very upset, so I thought rather than taking out my rage on someone who is clearly also struggling with their fertility journey, I would come here and talk about what the meaning of infertility is to me.

Let’s start with the definition of infertility. The dictionary defines infertility as…

When a woman is unable to bear a child, either due to the inability to become pregnant or the inability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth she would be classified as having primary infertility. Thus women whose pregnancy spontaneously miscarries, or whose pregnancy results in a still born child, without ever having had a live birth would present with primarily infertility.

And Wikipedia defines infertility as…

Infertility is the inability of a person, animal or plant to reproduce by natural means. In humans, infertility may describe a woman who is unable to conceive as well as being unable to carry a pregnancy to full term.

The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK defines infertility as…

Infertility is when a couple cannot get pregnant (conceive), despite having regular unprotected sex.

And most Primary Care Trusts in the UK consider a couple to be struggling with infertility when they have been trying for twelve months without a live birth, or six months if they have a diagnosed fertility problem.

Now, let’s look at Amy and I. I know we have had a couple of breaks, and although our first attempt at conceiving a baby was almost three years ago, we haven’t actually partaken in three years’ worth of trying. I totted up our total number of cycles and it came out at seventeen. That is well above the twelve month “targets” that would mark the point that most doctors would begin infertility testing. Infertility being the key word here.

So, I had infertility testing and was diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome, which is a recognised fertility problem. In order to combat the fertility problem, I have been prescribed metformin. After three months on metformin I will be starting clomid. What does clomid treat? Infertility!

Now, I know there are varying types of infertility. I have a feeling that what this particular poster was saying was “at least you know you can get pregnant”. I appreciate this sentiment, I’ve been there. I’ve longed to know if I could actually concieve. I’ve had those fears that I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever conceive. However, I still have those fears. I know I can achieve a positive pregnancy test, but what good is that if I lose the baby? The point of trying to conceive and why we all join this crazy roller coaster is to end up with a live, take home baby.

Infertility is a bitch. I don’t judge people on who is more infertile than anyone else. I don’t understand how anyone could. It’s not a competition. In my mind, someone who has had multiple miscarriages but conceives easily is suffering from infertility. Someone who has been trying for a year naturally without success is suffering from infertility. Someone who has had one or more failed Fertility treatments is suffering from infertility. Essentially, anyone who is struggling to conceive is suffering with infertility.

As for the fear – that overwhelming fear that it will never happen for you. The fear that you will never hold your firstborn in your arms. That’s part and parcel. I wonder every day whether it will happen for us, and I imagine most people struggling to conceive have similar fears. This fear overtakes the positivity. It’s easy enough to say “be positive”, but we are all different people. I find it easier if I mourn the loss of each cycle. I have to have a little bad few hours after I get my period every month. That’s my coping mechanism. I know lots of ladies don’t just immediately move on to the next cycle. It is difficult to. Your body is not doing what you want it to and nothing you can do makes any difference. You still just have a stupid twenty percent chance per month.

The point of me sharing these comments was that they really highlighted one of my thoughts about some parts of the trying to conceive community. Trying to conceive is not a competition. Infertility is not a competition. At the end of the day, whilst we are still waiting for our babies, we are stuck under this big stupid infertility umbrella together, so we might as well support one another. We might as well be kind to one another and not post bitchy comments. At the end of the day it sucks. Infertility sucks.

This entry was posted in 2014, infertility, PCOS, pet peeves and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What is Infertility?

  1. Ab75 says:

    I also saw the comments on bnb and think it is disgusting that someone would put something like that in your journal. Hugs to you and hope you are doing ok xx

  2. lesbemums says:

    Absolutely disgusting comments – what do they know? You’re absolutely right about the different meanings behind infertility. Just because you “fall pregnant” doesn’t mean toffee until you reach the destination, generally.

    Couldn’t agree more about the support. Although people shouldn’t bullshit and sugarcoat everything – who needs the “it will happen” and the “just relax” comments – no-one needs to hear such negativity either. We’re in this together.

  3. Aditi says:


    I also saw and commented for the comments in question. You shouldnt have to justify infertility and its various degrees to anyone. Cause or inexplained, the failure we see in a period every cycle is heartbreaking. I hope to catch up here on your blog instead of BnB since you are on a break there.


  4. Ah thats awful, I hope it happens for you soon x

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