Why do people with infertility feel the need to keep it a secret? I cannot keep a secret. In fact, I am an altogether a pretty bad liar (probably the main reason I stink at poker), however I'll admit that when I want to, I can keep my infertility a secret. When A. and I first started trying to conceive, we told no one. We had these big dreams of calling our family and friends together to surprise them with our news. That never happened. It was only after our first visit with the fertility doctor (FD) that we told our immediate families. After a few months of failing with the FD, we told a few close friends about our struggles. After six or seven months with the FD I developed what doctors call a medium (however if you ask me it was severe) case of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). I was so ill that I was off work for over a week and did not regain my normal activities until one month later. It was because of this complication that our social circle of who was in the know expanded. A. and I felt we needed to explain why I was missing so many events and was unwell for so long, so we told. Everyone was very supportive and at the time, not many of our friends were pregnant or parents.
It is funny how people change and act towards you once they know your secret. I had friends tip toe around me, while others couldn't ask enough questions. There were some who were so frightened for themselves that they tried to avoid me like the plague (IF is contangious or didn't you know?!). And then there were the few who were genuinely concerned. Month after month people were invested in our journey and month after month they like us (well not exactly like us) were devasted with our failure. When we decided to make the transition from the kiddie fertility treatments (IUI) to the big guns (IVF) I decided that was time to regain some control over what we told and to whom. Our fertility journey needed to be private and I was CONVINCED that IVF would be the answer because isn't it for most people? So, I wanted to limit the people in our 'circle of trust' back to our immediate family. I cut the others out of our fertility journey. How? I just avoided the subject and did not offer any information about myself. Did the prying stop? Not at first, but over time it decreased.
We all know my story that none of my IVFs ever took, so now that we are moving forward with yet another chapter I am even more secretive than before. I am NOT embarrassed or ashamed that I need help achieving a dream that many people do without trying. Donor eggs is different ball game.
A. had discussed that we would want to tell our child(ren) that they were conceived using donor eggs, but we do not want the entire world to know...at least not before them. We both feel that it is their story to tell if and when they choose. We are comfortable with our decision and have had many therapy sessions discussing all of the possible scenarios and feel confident that this is the right choice for us. So, aside from our immediate families knowing, no one else knows that we have decided to try IVF with donor eggs.
As mentioned above, I am not good at keeping secrets so this has been very difficult for me. Once we made our decision to move forward with this step, I realized that I had to pull back even more. I am not sure why, but right now, I want people to think that we are taking a break from fertility treatments. Maybe it's because it is a way for us to have that "surprise" factor when we are finally expecting or maybe it is because I can't control how much information I share, or maybe it is a little of both. In any way, keeping our close friends in the dark has been difficult. I only hope that one day soon, we can stop pretending.