Quite a sensitive subject, but I wondered how many people there are struggling to conceive who were subject to sexual abuse in childhood. I was abused for about 8 years by two members of my family and I am sure that it will have had an affect on my fertility, although medically I am not sure how this could be. Whilst I have had other medical problems, I wondered if part of the issue was psychological ... but I guess I'll never know. It might not be a contributing factor, in which case I can stop blaming the people involved!
I haven't been abused myself, but want to add my thoughts. It could be that experiences in childhood, adolescence or in adulthood effect infertility. The psycho babble being that a person whose had bad experiences could unconsciously be telling themselves they don't want a baby, which could have an impact on their physiology. If you have faced sexual abuse, then it is a good idea to seek counselling before doing anything else if you're not already doing so. If you ask at your clinic, they're bound to be able to recommend a counsellor to you. It's easy to blame others and difficult to forgive. I think a counsellor would help you come to terms with what happened and find a way of forgiving so you can allow yourself to move on. Forgiveness doesn't mean you condone their behaviour, it means that you can let go of the past and any anger that goes with it and move on with your life.
Thanks for your reply. I had a few forms of counselling many years ago and have forgiven the people involved, not for them but for my own sanity. I actually prosecuted one of the people and they were sentenced to 3 years in prison, so that was my closure really.
My post was more around identifying if there is any link between infertility and abuse, as it's not really something that is ever discussed as part of infertility. When I have been at a low ebb with the infertility issue, the question has always been there as to whether those people played any part in the situation. Your take on it being psychological is probably very accurate.
I suppose the good news is that our first IVF attempt has worked, so the physical obviously overcome the psychological. I am currently 8 weeks pregnant and know that we are truly blessed.
I'm very sorry to hear of your dreadful experiences.
When I was 21, my brother (who was then 18) drowned on holiday. I have been wondering recently whether this has had a part to play in my "unexplained infertility". I suppose I was thinking along the lines of - because his loss was so painful for me, and 100 fold more so for my parents, that the pain of the loss of a child outweighed the pleasure of having one to love, and that maybe that was a psychological barrier to conceiving. (sorry, very waffley, but I'm sure you understand what I mean!)
Consequently, I did go to my GP, and booked in with a counsellor. She seemed to think that my mental state was fine and that the way I had dealt with my grief was "normal" and also that IVF is such a stressful time that it was understandable to have mixed up feelings. Medically, there should be no link between what happened to my brother and my inability to conceive. If a person has been unable to deal with their emotions, it can physically affect the body, but ONLY THEN should it potentially be a problem. She also mentioned that one loss can trigger thoughts of others and that maybe the miscarriage I suffered last year stirred up powerful memories of losing my brother - hence making it more of an issue than it actually was!
Although it wasn't totally conclusive, I did feel better for seeing the counsellor and have resolved to be more positive. She also told me lots of pampering and relaxation would do me good!!
Anyway, I think I remember you from the 2WW, and am thrilled to hear of your pregnancy - well done!!! On that note, I recall reading about how pregnant women seem to drudge up all sorts of bad memories - almost like a natural filter to purge you of any bad thoughts to prepare you for motherhood.
Either way Helen, you sound lovely and very much together!! I wish you a happy, healthy and worry-free pregnancy.
i didnt see your post before, hope you will read mine.I am on ivf now, due to my hubby low sperm count. and we found out that i have bad egg quality too. so.....
starting age 7 and till 10 I was moleted by my older brother. he was 14 that time. IT WAS HELL.IT was happening three times a week usually....i dont know how i survived..he was agressive too- i was scared all the time and didnt tell my parents. I still dont understand how come they didnt notice anything that he was very abusive and beaten me all the time very hard.maybe that is why i have a bad egg quality so that i have 3 failed cycles and iam only 25 years old.
Sorry I have not responded to the earlier messages.
Kirsty, thanks for your post. I guess one thing that is never fully understood is the true impact of the emotional on the physical. You are right, going through IVF is a very emotional experience and I think it can drudge up all sorts of memories.
It's really nice to read the supportive messages. To be honest, I have been through quite a lot of counselling and had a really hard time dealing with it in my early 20's. Thankfully I dealt with it early on emotionally, but I had always worried that it had caused some physical damage.
Ulyana - so sorry to hear about what you experienced as a child, caused by your brother. It sounds horrendous and I can completely and totally empathise with you. My situation was very, very similar, but was two male members of my family. You sound very strong to be in a happy relationship, where you are proactively dealing with your fertility issues. You will probably read this from other messages on this post, but if you haven't already done so I would suggest having a chat with a counsellor. Not sure where you live, but in the UK you can get support from NSPCC, Rape Crisis, via your doctor with a counsellor or psychiatric nurse. There are many charities that offer support services and whilst the counselling process can be difficult as it brings memories to the forefront of your mind, it is also an essential part of the healing process I found. One thing that I have found is that abuse thrives on secrecy and shame, which is why I am very open about what happened to me to raise awareness. I also prosecuted the key perpetrator of the abuse and he was sent to prison for 3 years.
As for the connection between abuse and infertility, I really don't know whether there is a connection. However, another male member of my family was also abused and he had problems with his fertility and they had to use IVF to get pregnant, which they did after two attempts. It seems a bit of a coincidence to me, but I am guessing there have never been any studies or statistics gathered on the subject.
What are your plans for the future? Are you going to attempt another cycle or will you consider egg donation? Whatever you decide, I truly wish you the very best for the future and hope that you are blessed with a baby in the future, everyone deserves the chance to be a Mum.
I have often wondered whether trauma contributes to infertility, in which case your abuse theory could very well be true. I miscarried 5 years ago, and then 2mnths later my younger brother was killed in a car accident. I had wondered whether our failure to concieve was a psychological response to loss. fear of it happening again perhaps? I really think I'm past the grief but don't understand why we never concieved naturally again.
I remember reading an interview with fertility expert Michael Dooley in which he said something about people under tremendous duress - I think it might have been torture or something - stopped ovulating or producing sperm.
I'll look it up when I go into work tomorrow and let you know, but the gist of it was that the body stops being fertile when it's under emotional and physical pressure - things shut down.
I'm sure the body must have a reaction to intensely traumatic episodes such as child abuse - there can't not be some kind of physical reaction to all that emotional and physical stress.
Hope that helps - I'll come back tomorrow and post what exactly he said - it was astounding to me, anyway.
I have not been abused but my heart hurts for your experiance.
I have been trying to conceive for several years and last year was taking the 21 day progesterone tests to see if I was ovulating, at the same time I was seperated from my partner as I had moved into my mothers house to care for her after she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
She had been given only a few weeks or several months at the most to live so it was a very emotional and stressful time, I was on my own and my partner had taken a job in abroad to supplement the loss of my income which meant I did not see him for months at a time, this was also very upsetting and lonely. I had little or no support in looking after my mum who suffered paranoid attacks due to the aggresive cancer and she forgot at times that she had a daughter thinking I was a burgler, at times she would look at me in complete fear begging for help to keep me away convinced I should not be there.
Somtimes I would kiss her and tell her I loved her and she would tell me she loved me then ask me who I was; it was like a knife through my heart but I could not show her how I felt.
All the time I was alone, and taking all the tests the doctor would give me, they all came back negative. My doctor felt that the stress of my situation would negate any tests and I think that upsetting events and times of stress can greatly reduce the ability to conceive, even if they are from the distant past, if somthing terrible has happend in a persons life if they have not resolved it completly in their own head I really think that it can affect you in later life especially with somthing so delecate as conceiving.
Sorry to hear you have been through such a hard time and without the support of others. You know what they say, what doesn't break you, makes you stronger and you sound like an amazingly strong person to me. Are there counsellors you can go to for support?
Reading all of the messages it highlights that emotional stress can cause issues with fertility. Recently I went on a hypnobirthing course (not sure if I mentioned that we were successful with IVF) and we were put into hypnosis and taken through a 'Fear' session. In this we had to identify all our fears in relation to Giving Birth. This involved imagining being in a room with a white book which represented your life, in that book there were all the issues and fears which were related to childbirth. Every page I tore out for most of the session was related to my two abusers and other people like my Mother, who failed me badly. Under hypnosis I kept thinking, why am I thinking about my childhood when I should be dealing with the fears around childbirth. It dawned on me that the fears and things which had inhibited me actually getting pregnant were related to an abusive childhood. These were the key issues that I had to deal with before I could then move on on an deal with issues such as fear of pain in childbirth, intervention etc. etc.
One thing this session made me realise is that although I felt I had dealt with all my history and abuse, truly it is still a big part of my life, which creates a lot of issues for me both emotionally and physically.
Both my husband and I came out of hypnosis with tears running down our cheeks. He had been physically/mentally abused by his father as a child and he went through the same thing under hypnosis, these were his true fears which had to be faced before dealing with the fears around childbirth.
There are many techniques to help with fertility, most of them medical (!), but there are a couple of things I have heard of recently 'Hypnofertility' and 'Emotional Freedom Technique'. Having looked into both of these only recently, I wished I had found them when I was trying to conceive as I feel that they would have definitely helped.
It's such a shame that the focus on fertility and trying to conceive tends to always be medical. Maybe if doctors took some time to dig a little deeper and offer alternative therapies to patients, it would reduce either the IVF numbers or simply improve the success rates.
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