Embarrassment is Temporary – A Family is Permanent

When I read Nancy’s excellent Killing Time Post it reminded me of a period in our lives where we moved to the rythms of the medical profession whilst being amazed by what they were able to do for us as a couple struggling to find that missing thing in our lives – a child. The image of the old magazine left lying on the table is especially poignant for me.

Lets cut to the chase… No child after 7 yrs of a normal marital relationship leads to a chat with the GP and a referral to an IVF consultant. So we go though the initial test and he says.. NP we’ll harvest some eggs and when we’ve done that we’ll need some sperm… But not right now… Eggs first.

Meanwhile we’re watching all the others going through the process – so many sad and distressed faces. So many dreams dashed because it doesn’t always work and it costs money. We had already visited the Corem Foundation with a view of adopting but were now following their advice – don’t adopt unless you have already exhausted all options of a natural child of your own.

So how does Nancy’s post fit with this?…

My good lady has her eggs harvested and a week later I have to come in with sperm for the necessary meeting with the eggs in the petrie dish. So we both turn up with the plastic jar full of what I understand is sometimes referred to a Ball Batter. Sorry – says the technician… sperm’s died on the way in – you need to produce fresh… And I get pointed to the Male Sperm Room where there a couple of beds and (this is where it ties in with Nancy’s post) a pile of magazines that a soldier from the first world war would probably have recognised and from which us men are expected to produce the necessary fluids… By the way, assistance from your partner is not allowed 😦 We often hear about affronts to a Lady’s dignity… You will appreciate that this is an affront to male dignity…

Heyy.. But the result was worth all the effort and embarrassment – at least for us. There were many other couples who were really struggling to get that joy that perhaps all of us married people need? A child? I also wonder what child lost a potential family the day that Corem sent us out to explore all avenues. We are lucky enough to have found the holy grail of a child at the end of all the difficulties…

But I will never forget the embarrassment of the room where I was expected to produce in the absense of my wife with ancient literature that was supposed to encourage me… though that pales when I consider all those for who the hopes of parenthood didn’t happen despite the best efforts of the IVF team…

…so a successful outcome for us nearly 10 years after we married and now, 10 yrs down the road I give you the Hellion…





  1. Well . . . sounds like time well spent, Martin. Thanks for sharing (and walking that fine line). πŸ˜‰

  2. such a moving post martin, all that discomfort of the room with the magasines was worthwhile for you, your son looks such a handsome healthy boy with the world at his feet, belated congratulations on his birth!!! we took part in a student exchange program when our sons were high school age, that way they enjoyed a new sister for a year, plus others who came for shorter times, and we gradually found ourselves part of families in different countries around the world, so that is another possibility for you rather than adoption πŸ™‚ best, christine x

    • Thanks Christine – We’re not looking to adopt anymore after the gift of our own Son. One Hellion is more than enough! Obviously he’s still in primary school but it’s quite likely that we may find ourselves involved in student exchange programmes as he grow older. He’s already to blame for my involvement with football and Cubs πŸ˜‰

  3. Belated congratulations, to you all Martin. Alasdair’s lovely big smile says it all!

    • Thanks Patti – Getting him to smile for the camera is almost impossible. I had to catch him off guard whilst he was joking with one of his friends on a day out.

  4. Sounds like all the trials & tribulation you both endured was well worth it in the end. You have a beautiful daughter.

    • LoL Tony – I assume you go to the same optician as the Ryman League referees πŸ˜‰ Yes it was definitely worth it although there are always times when you ask yourselves why! At the end of the day Alasdair is a bit like me – ‘a cat that walks alone’ – he picks his friends carefully and doesn’t follow the crowd.

      • Oops, my deepest apologies Martin. I did think his hair was really short for a girl.
        What threw me was the final sentence: “10 yrs down the road I give you the Hellion…”
        I thought Hellion was a girl’s name… :-/

      • LoL – No Apology necessary… I thought you were on a wind-up anyway πŸ™‚ My best mate christened him ‘The Hellion’ when he was very young – probably because he was a well behaved child! The name comes from the first track on the Judas Priest album Screaming For Vengence.

  5. Such a berautiful boy! Ithink it worthed all the embarassment and the difficulties. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Julliane – and, as you rightly said in your Story Challenge: Letter β€œD”, “now I am not sure how I was fitting in life without him.” – my feelings exactly πŸ™‚

  6. Martin, what a wonderful and heartwarming post πŸ™‚ As you say, what a result! Loved this!

    • Thanks Kate – Writing from personal experinence is both easier and harder than making it up (at least for me) πŸ™‚ I still feel for all those for whom it didn’t work as they hoped. And I’m left wondering how anyone can leave their child for adoption (and that’s hard to say without being judgmental) 😦

  7. What a heart touching store. The smile say it all, the joy and happiness he brings to your life. I hope it worth the embarrassment.

  8. A job well done, as they say.
    There weren’t those options back in our day. We adopted, twice, and lucky to do so because it was just before the adoption market collapsed. Single mothers began opting to keep their babies, something that was still frowned upon in our time.
    Alasdair was worth every bit of the effort, and embarrassment, whatever!

    • Hi Judith – Times certainly change, both in terms of society’s attitudes and its scientific advancements. You will guess by the 1st time success that the issue was a simple one which could also have been resolved by a surgical procedure. But Epi has suffered more than her fair share of major surgery in her life so we preferred the minor invasions of the IVF route. There were other complications through the pregnancy due to the medication that she must take as she has plastic heart valves and I believe that our consultant at the University College Hospital actually wrote a paper for the medical journals based on the experience of our case!

      As for the embarrassment… I wasn’t really that embarrassed – Job’s got to be done… But the magazines tied in nicely with Nancy’s original post.

      Alasdair – worth every second of the stresses involved (except when he’s being a pain) πŸ™‚

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