Trigger warning: This post discusses pregnancy loss and miscarriage and may be triggering for some readers.
I'm 31 years old, and I recently had my first baby. As you might expect, trying to conceive is a hot topic among my friends and acquaintances. Some women I know have gotten pregnant right away, but many couples have struggled with fertility. And the more I've spoken to people about the topic of TTC (trying to conceive), the more I've realized a few things: No one's journey to parenthood looks exactly the same, far more people struggle to get pregnant than you might imagine, and many people feel extremely alone in the process.
So I asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell me about their experiences trying to conceive. Whether you're thinking of starting a family or struggling to have a baby, I hope these stories will help you realize that you aren't alone and there are so many people going through this journey with you. I'm hoping that we can all begin to feel a greater sense of community and support as we discuss issues around fertility in the open.
And to those who are currently trying to conceive and would rather avoid this topic completely, I understand that feeling, too. This discussion is here if you find it helpful. 💙
1."My husband and I tried to conceive over a four-year period. After a year of no success, we decided to seek help through a private clinic. Over the course of two years, I underwent numerous ovulation-induction cycles followed by an IUI procedure. The IUI was successful, but we sadly lost the baby after eight weeks. We were then referred to a public clinic where we started our IVF journey."
2."I'm a single woman trying to conceive. I’ve been resolute about being a parent with or without a partner for a long time. I have been trying since 2019. I got pregnant on my first try but unfortunately went through a loss at 11 weeks. It was physically and emotionally traumatic and took me years to heal from. Two years later in 2021, I had a second loss at six weeks. Aside from that, I’ve also been through several failed cycles. I’ve spent so much money on donor materials alone that I could have paid for IVF and saved myself countless frustrations and heartache. While going through all of this, I relocated closer to family and took the time I needed to be in a better place for myself..."
"After some deliberation, I decided not to do IUI because the statistical probability of success isn’t much higher than trying at home, as I had been doing. I decided to go straight to IVF. I am taking a year off to save money and then I will move forward with IVF when I'll be 35 years old. I always thought I'd have a child by 35, but I've realized that life doesn’t always go according to plan, especially things like pregnancy and fertility, and that’s OK. In the meantime, I just launched my dream business after 10 years of balancing it with a day job. I really intend to use this extended break from TTC to rediscover all the things I enjoy and treasure for myself."
3."We officially started trying in spring 2018 when I had my implant taken out. I started using an app to track my cycle and concentrate on the right times to try. We got pregnant in early spring 2019. Looking back it wasn't a terrible pregnancy (although I had PGP from 24ish weeks and was on crutches until after I delivered). We tried for number two in summer 2021. By January 2022 we were pregnant and had an early scan at eight weeks showing a healthy baby. We booked a vacation, but I miscarried at 12 weeks while away..."
4."My husband and I have been trying to conceive for nearly two years with no success. After trying for 13 months unassisted, we did three IUIs over the next six months (my clinic makes me take a month off between cycles because the medications are so hard on your body). Nothing. I'm now on a waiting list for publicly funded IVF (which I feel so lucky to have!), but because I'm in my late 30s, we're scraping together the cash to try a cycle on our own since we know it's not a guarantee..."
"While the uncertainty, monthly disappointment, and impact on my body have been awful, a surprising part of infertility has been the negative impact it's had on our relationships with family and friends. People say insensitive things all the time — 'everything happens for a reason'; 'I just KNOW you'll get pregnant soon!'; or 'are you sure you even want kids?' Friends who conceived easily have complained about their pregnancies to me and have become upset with me that I wasn't asking all about their birth experiences. I would kill to have to pee all the time and not be able to sleep because I was about to give birth. I've had to comfort people who are stressed out that they might be infertile after hearing about my experience when they've only been trying for only a few months...and then they inevitably get pregnant. I almost wish that a doctor would diagnose us as '100% never able to conceive,' because at least then I could mourn the fact and move on. I know my husband and I would ultimately still be able to have a rich, fulfilling life. But as long as there's a chance, I feel like I'm stuck in an endless loop of hope and disappointment that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy."
5."My husband and I have a toddler and are hoping to have a second baby. We got pregnant quickly with our first, but this time around has been more challenging. It took me a few months to get pregnant, and I ended up having a miscarriage. I never thought this would happen to me, even though logically I know it’s very common. We are trying again but have so far been unsuccessful. I try to embrace that I am extremely lucky to have one healthy child already, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling frustration and pain from the miscarriage. I feel ashamed to say that I used to wonder why people got so upset about miscarrying because it’s something that we know happens. It’s hard to want something and feel you are doing all the right things at the right time but still, it doesn’t work."
6."My period has always been irregular (like 40–80 days between cycles). I told doctors, but they didn't seem to care or think it was a big deal. I suspected it would be difficult to conceive, and when my partner and I decided to start trying, it was. After six months, I asked for a referral and saw a doctor who diagnosed me with PCOS. He recommended I take a supplement called Inositol to help regulate my periods. It helped me with my cravings, energy, and anxiety, and three months later, I was pregnant. My partner and I had a baby in March of 2022 and are now expecting our second. I'm aware of how lucky I am, and I am so grateful that I didn't have more challenges. I wish every couple baby dust who is on this journey."
7."After trying to conceive for a year unsuccessfully, we went to a fertility clinic to undergo testing. Trying for over a year and being disappointed every month took a mental toll. On top of that, I knew many women who were getting pregnant right away or even without trying. Turns out I have PCOS. I never knew I had a condition that would impact my fertility. I likely could never pregnant unassisted. I feel fortunate that IUI worked for me and I have had two successful pregnancies now. My advice to others is to seek out fertility testing if you have been unsuccessful in trying to get pregnant on your own."
8."I always suspected something was wrong with my fertility, but I blamed it on jitters or nerves when we started trying for our first child. I couldn’t believe it when I conceived on the fourth cycle of trying, however I had a very traumatic miscarriage at seven weeks (it was suspected to be ectopic but luckily resolved without surgery). I had several tests afterwards which showed that I had lean PCOS. It's been 15 months since my miscarriage, and I still haven’t been able to conceive again, even after six rounds of taking Clomid to help me ovulate. I am moving onto Letrazole next and then IVF if we still have no luck. I'm starting to think it will never happen."
9."Our journey to parenthood has been so so hard. My husband and I started trying to start a family two years ago. I got pregnant quickly, and we were over the moon. At our 12-week appointment, we found out that we'd lost the baby. We were devastated but determined not to give up. I got pregnant again a few months later, but that quickly turned into a chemical pregnancy, and again, we lost the baby. The following pregnancy ended the same way. At this point, our OB mentioned that we might want to consider seeing a specialist..."
10."I had my IUD taken out, and luckily, it only took a couple of months for my periods to come back regularly. I missed a period a few months later, and we were thrilled, but it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. I had methotrexate to remove it, luckily saving my tube. We conceived again straight away, but I miscarried at 10 weeks..."
11."I was diagnosed with PCOS about five years ago. My husband [and] I have been trying to conceive for the past four years and so far have been unsuccessful. We were told we don't quality for help from the fertility clinic because of my weight. I am about five kg too heavy. But here's the kicker: I've alway struggled with my weight due to the PCOS. I've tried just about every diet there is. Nothing works. And it all comes back to the PCOS."
12."We decided to start trying in summer of 2018 and had my IUD removed. Within two cycles I was pregnant. I suspected it early on but didn’t actually get a positive home test until what was the seven-week mark. Unfortunately, I miscarried by the end of the week. We took off the recommended three cycles, and once we started trying again, I got pregnant again quickly. Sadly I miscarried again at the five-week point (due to the previous miscarriage, my blood HCG levels were being monitored once I got a positive test at four weeks). For the next six months, all of my home testing seemed to indicate I wasn’t ovulating normally, and we were finally referred to a fertility clinic..."
"...We discovered that not only were my hormones out of sync, but I also had a mild clotting disorder that was likely impacting the developing placenta. Our first IUI cycle with medications failed, but our next cycle took. Getting through the first nine weeks was hard, and then COVID hit, and my stress levels went through the roof. I ended up on short-term disability/furlough until mid-May. I was taking daily injections for the clotting disorder, and then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My little boy was born after a planned induction to control the taper of the blood thinners and because of the diabetes. We started to try for our second this past year. While I got pregnant that same month, unfortunately I miscarried again twice."
13."We tried for four years without any luck. I had been diagnosed with endometriosis and got a laparoscopy, but still did not get pregnant. After COVID calmed down at the end of 2021, we were able to start with medical intervention. We tried two rounds of IUI which were unsuccessful. Finally, on our first round of IVF, we got pregnant. Our beautiful baby girl was born in 2023 and is turning 1 in a couple of weeks."
14."My husband and I tried to conceive for nearly three years without success when I was 33. I started basic fertility treatment due to irregular periods but didn't find anything unusual. Ultimately, we discovered that I had a slightly-below-average egg count, but otherwise, everything was seemingly normal. We tried Letrozole for six months to induce ovulation and then moved on to IVF. For financial reasons we just decided to do the one cycle. Trying to conceive for two-plus years has impacted our sex life and made us feel like everything else in our lives was on hold. The IVF didn't work, and we decided it just wasn't meant to be. We have moved on now and are now focusing on a life without children."
15."My partner and I started trying in early 2021. We tried conceiving for months, but it wasn't working. An OBGYN found I had a polyp that might be preventing me from getting pregnant. I got surgery to have it removed along with a fibroid that they also found. I was diagnosed with PCOS, even though I had my period every month and went on treatment to get my progesterone levels high enough for my body to ovulate. The medication, Letrozole, can cause menopause-like symptoms as a side effect, which was not very fun. After months on treatment, I finally got pregnant, but when I got an ultrasound, we found there wasn't a fetus growing in my uterus. Everything indicated a missed miscarriage and that my body would eventually pass it..."
"...For almost a month I had weekly ultrasounds, hoping something had changed and that maybe I just wasn’t as far along as we thought. But my HCG levels were going down, which is consistent with pregnancy loss. One morning I woke up in intense pain and thought about going to the bathroom only to regain consciousness minutes later, face down on a bath mat. I was rushed to the ER where they discovered my pregnancy had been ectopic, had ruptured, and the pain I felt was from my internal bleeding. Surgery had complications, and I ended up losing a fallopian tube. At the time, I was so grateful to be alive that I didn’t really process my loss. But as months went by, the grief would sneak in every once in a while. Someone close to me lost a baby, and it made me process my own loss. I would have been due in March. We’re still trying."
16."My partner and I have been trying for over two years. We are currently on our clinic's waiting list for ICSI as we have both female and male infertility issues. It's been an absolute nightmare. In the UK you also have to be below a certain weight in order to get free treatment, which is very disheartening for plus-size women being told they aren’t fit to be mothers because of an old scale of fitness. I’ve lost over 50 pounds and have just a few left to lose before I hit the target weight, which has been the hardest three pounds I’ve ever tried to get off. The journey hasn’t even started properly yet, and I’m already exhausted. I feel very lucky for the NHS, though."
17."We were able to conceive easily, yet our journey lasted five years. Sadly all eight of our pregnancies ended in loss. We adopted a wonderful baby who brings us so much joy, but the emotional scars from the experience are still very present all these years later. I feel like trying to conceive robbed us of five years of our lives and led to a steep decline in our mental health, which has never fully recovered."
18."My partner and I have been together for 10 years and never got pregnant. I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis and was finally referred to a fertility doctor in early 2023. We are now pregnant with a girl and due in spring 2024. We had one round of medicated IUI, and that’s all it took for us after trying so hard for so many years. Pregnancy has been extremely rough on my body. I was sick and could barely eat until week 20. My OBGYN started testing me for pregnancy-induced hypertension, and our baby girl is measuring small so I am seeing a doctor every week. The whole process has been so hard, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so excited to finally become a mom and to see husband become a dad after so many long years."
19."My husband and I started trying at 23. My OBGYN wanted to check my FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) because I had a history of irregular periods. My levels were almost nonexistent, so my doctor recommended Clomid to help me ovulate. Despite upping the doses, I was never able to ovulate. Finally, I found a new fertility doctor who diagnosed me with PCOS. After more failed Clomid cycles, I started acupuncture. After six months I had regular length cycles, and after a year I finally got pregnant. Sadly I miscarried at seven weeks..."
"...It took another two and a half years before I got pregnant again. I was 28 by the time I finally had my son. And when I tried for my second, I went on to have another miscarriage during the first trimester. I eventually had a daughter, followed by a totally shocking pregnancy with my third child, a son. Infertility was the hardest thing I have gone through. I lost friends and so much of myself while going through it. Because I was so young at the time, I didn't know anyone else who was going through the same situation, and my friends did not know how to deal with my struggles. It was very isolating."
20."My partner and I have been trying for about four years now. We had one positive test followed by bleeding a week later. I went through all the tests, checked my hormone levels, tracked to make sure I was actually ovulating, and had a transvaginal ultrasound to check for potential endometriosis. Ultimately, it turns out that my husband has been shooting blanks, and his urologist is fairly certain he has a blockage that is treatable with minimally invasive surgery. That one positive test was either a fluke or just one very determined sperm..."
21."My partner and I have been together since we were 16. We are now 37 and never wanted kids. We've always been mindful about checking in with one another to see if one of us had changed our mind. Last year we both flipped the script and decided to give it a try. I got fertility tested, and the results were not good. Still, I got pregnant the very first month. From the beginning, I felt that something was not right based on how sick I felt, but I was reassured time and time again it was regular morning sickness. I had something called a partial molar pregnancy, which is unviable and can lead to cancer if left untreated. We were told not to try again for a while because of risk, but I'm not sure we ever will. We're both now quite shell shocked."
22."I’ve been trying to conceive for almost three years. I was told at a younger age that it might be tough. I had irregular periods, terrible cramps, and bursting cysts growing up, which carried into adulthood. When I was 33, I was given an infertility diagnosis by my OBGYN. At 35 after all my testing had come back normal, but after my Clomid trial and trigger shots were unsuccessful, my fertility specialist gave me a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. I’m still hopeful, but the doctors aren’t sure IVF would be the best route since we are unsure I could even carry a baby if I were to become pregnant. And with the price, IVF is out of our reach financially. We discussed adoption amongst other things. Each month that passes is tough, but I do my best to remain hopeful."
If you're willing to share, I'd love to hear about your experience trying to conceive. Or if you'd like to remain anonymous, feel free to tell your story in this Google form.