A few of us have been bandying this about in the Random Things you Loathe thread recently, but there are enough of us talking at it that I thought it might be nice to have a specific thread for it. I suppose that some of the technology involved in reproductive assistance could be controversial enough to qualify for P&C, but I'm hoping that if we keep it to factual information and personal experiences, we can avoid anything that might cause this discussion to deteriorate.
My wife and I have been trying to have a child for the past year and a half, and it's not going well. There are biological factors at stake which we knew about - there was going to be no possibility of a child without medical intervention, but the issues were known ahead of time and we also know that medical intervention makes it possible for it to happen. Regrettably, this has made it difficult to ride out the past eighteen months, as we've seen failure after failure.
We started with some simple hormone therapy, escalated to Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI, or as I like to call it to our doctor's incredible displeasure: the turkey baster), and are now into In Vitro Fertilization. We were able to harvest and fertilize a half a dozen eggs to the point of "maturity", and we've tried two cycles so far, neither of which has taken. The first one looked good, but the second pregnancy blood test did not avail itself of anything, so I think technically it was an "early miscarriage," as opposed to a completely failed implantation.
The hardest part of this process has been watching my wife. I don't, personally, care if we end up with a child or not at the end of the process, but she really, really does. I also deal with major issues like this in a VERY different way from my wife - I just deal with steps as they come, but she needs to plan out our journey for months ahead of time so that she can see the road ahead. Part of the strain this puts on our relationship, I think, is that she feels like I'm not engaged in the process, though I'm really trying. You know that old "joke" about the husband and wife, where the wife says "I want your opinion on X", the husband says, "I don't care," the wife says, "Make a decision," so the husband does, but the wife is still furious, and it turns out that it's not about the decision, it's about "I want you to CARE about this decision, not just to make one?" We haven't hit that point yet, and I'm not sure we will, but I think that's sort of running through her head from time to time.
The part that I HATE more than anything is the "advice" you get from people. One of my personal loathes is, "Just relax; it'll happen when it happens." No; no it won't. (See aforementioned statement about medical intervention being NECESSARY for us to conceive.) If people not going through this are reading - it's very much like non-parents giving parents advice on how to raise their kids. Just don't do it. If a friend unloads on you about their issues and you haven't experienced them yourself, the only acceptable response is, "I'm really sorry to hear that you're going through this. It sounds like it must be very hard." If you're feeling generous or helpful, you can add, "Is there anything I can do?"