Kirsikka Halonen (name has been changed)
When I started going out with my boyfriend, who is now my husband, we had the same dream. We both wanted to be parents, to have children and a family.
At first, we tried on our own. After a year, I began to suspect something was wrong. I hadn’t become pregnant in my previous, long relationships either, even when I hadn’t used contraception.
I was 29 and my husband was 31 when we finally sought help. We had two IVF or in vitro fertilisation treatments, covered by public health care, using our own gametes. After that, the health care professionals told us that pregnancy seemed unlikely, and we weren’t approved for a third IVF treatment under the public health care scheme.
We came to Ovumia and had one more IVF treatment using our own gametes. After that, we had to accept that there was something wrong with one of our reproductive systems. I began to suspect my eggs were at fault.
We tried treatments using donor eggs from two different donors. With eggs from the first donor, I became pregnant but it ended in miscarriage. Treatments with the second donor’s eggs resulted in four chemical pregnancies.
Both gametes from donors
It was time to rethink things once again. Right from the start, we had decided that if we can’t have a baby using our own gametes, we will definitely try donated ones.
My husband didn’t struggle with this so much, but I had to go through a long thought process to work out whether a child would feel like our own without either of our genes. In the end, we decided to try these treatments.
I haven’t regretted it for a single day. Whether our child has our genes or not doesn’t make us any more or less her parents.
When we used donated eggs and sperm, I got pregnant straight away. We had a beautiful girl in December, and she felt like our own child right from the start. As soon as she was put in my arms, I felt a huge wave of happiness. My spirits rose considerably.
I’m very happy also because she probably has better genes than we could have given her. There are a lot of hereditary conditions in both our families, but obviously not in gamete donors’ families.
Childlessness felt like an insurmountable problem
I’ve wanted to be a parent since I was young, as had my partner. A child was a huge dream for us. That’s why infertility felt really tough.
Both my parents have passed away, but childlessness felt like an almost harder experience. It just felt so unfair.
It really tested our relationship as a couple too. The treatments were long, and when I finally got pregnant, they ended in miscarriages. It was hard to believe I would ever have a baby.
Luckily, we stuck together. I really wondered if I’d ever get over not having a child. It was very difficult to talk about it too.
During my pregnancy, I was finally able to discuss infertility a little, which helped me to process it. Our doctor, Jarna Moilanen, always made us believe that there was still hope for us.
She also remembered to ask my husband how he was doing. Often the man’s feelings are forgotten during these treatments. The staff at Ovumia always encouraged us as a family and gave us truly excellent care.
A baby ended the pain; a little brother or sister would be a bonus
I forgot all the pain I had gone through as soon as I had my own little bundle in my arms. Although having the treatments was rough, it was well worth it in the end. My sweet baby feels so lovely and entirely my own, although she was conceived from donor gametes.
We still have some frozen embryos at Ovumia that could become a full sibling. This year, we are going to turn 36 and 37 and we intend to try for another baby as soon as possible. Because our baby was born by Caesarean section, we will have to wait a year.
At the same time, if it’s just the three of us that’s fine too. If we don’t succeed in having another baby, we will still be very happy. If we are lucky enough to give our baby a little brother or sister, it will be a bonus.
I know you can live a good life without children too. Not everyone is able to have children, or even want any. I’m just happy I didn’t give up and carried on despite the difficulties. There was a beautiful reward at the end.
Of course, not everyone is as lucky as we were. If you have the physical and mental strength to try, I recommend fertility treatments. Even if it feels hopeless, you may get your reward too.
What helped me through all the trouble and challenges was talking about childlessness, and the knowledge that there are other ways of becoming a parent too, besides pregnancy, if it came to that.
The blog writer is a customer of Ovumia writing under a pseudonym.