Grieving for the family I never had: When fertility treatment fails – Yahoo Sports

Sam Walsh wants to encourage women to talk openly about the heartbreak of knowing they will never be mothers. (Supplied, Sam Walsh)

How does it feel when fertility treatment fails and your dream of motherhood is shattered? Here, Sam Walsh, 44, a retail manager from Sevenoaks, Kent, shares her story

"Whenever you see someone going through IVF in a film, they always walk away with a happy ending. But life is not like that. A lot of the time, fertility treatment does not work and thousands of women face the heartbreak of knowing they will never be mothers.

"Its not something we speak about often and that needs to change.

"I met my husband Liam in Ibiza when I was 21. We were a real party couple, always clubbing and out with friends. Children were not on our radar for many years. It was only after we married in 2005 and I was approaching 30 that we wondered about having a family. We had no idea what lay ahead for us."

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Sam Walsh's ovaries were damaged during an operation to remove her fallopian tubes. (Supplied, Sam Walsh)

"After three years of trying, we discovered that the problem was with me.

"At 25, Id had some abnormal cells removed from my cervix but this had caused an infection in my fallopian tubes. Id had no idea at the time.

"Doctors suggested that it would be safer to remove the tubes if I was to embark on IVF and we agreed. But the surgery went wrong and both my ovaries were damaged during the operation.

"It was devastating but we had to hope. I was only in my early thirties and you hear about peoples miracle success stories.

"But during our first round of IVF, very few eggs were retrieved. The second round was the same and I was said to be a poor responder, a label I hated.

"My body was letting me down through no fault of my own."

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"Over the course of three long years, I endured hormone injections, scans and tests. When our third round failed in 2012, we were told our only hope was donor eggs.

"Its hard to describe the emotional rollercoaster of IVF.

Story continues

"All our friends were having babies, moving on with their lives and ours was on hold.

"It was funny how, before having IVF, I was never sure I wanted children. But once I was told I couldnt have them, I was desperate for them.

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"Liam supported me with everything but he was finding it hard too.

"Wed been lucky enough to have three rounds on the NHS and thought about going private and a cousin even offered to donate her eggs.

"But after many painful conversations we decided to walk away from fertility treatment. My body and my emotions could not take anymore. Wed already put off so much in our lives on the off chance that we could be called up for a scan or a test.

"I was in full blown menopause by now thanks to premature ovarian failure (POI) and my hormones were all over the place.

"I could hold my emotions together at work but at home Id get up in the mornings and cry while I was in the shower and in the evenings, I withdrew from Liam. He wanted us to return to our old lives, going out and clubbing together and having fun. But I couldnt.

"We drifted apart and separated in 2013. We divorced two years ago.

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'I used to hate my body for letting me down so now I ensure its as strong and fit as it can be,' said Sam Walsh (Supplied, Sam Walsh)

"Walking away from IVF was the hardest decision Ive ever made and even now, I look back and think: Could I have done more?

"Its still hard. Ive got a dozen schoolmates and between them they have 20 children. Were still great friends but I feel like I live a Peter Pan existence, never really growing up.

"Ive coped by finding a community of women in the same situation. I set up a Facebook group called The Non-Mum Network which now has 1,100 women like me, most of whom are childless not by choice. Its a place where we vent without being judged.

"In the last few years, Ive really started to take more care of myself. Ive stopped smoking and seven months ago I quit drinking. Ive also focused on having more of a purpose, doing different things like blogging and Ive taken up exercise. I used to hate my body for letting me down so now I ensure its as strong and fit as it can be.

"Over the years, Ive been through all the stages of grief shock, anger, acceptance.

"Its taken a long time to come to terms with the fact Ill never be a mother and while Im still not 100% at peace with it, Ive learned to live with it and Im happy."

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Grieving for the family I never had: When fertility treatment fails - Yahoo Sports

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