Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Have you ever noticed how competitive it can be in the infertile world? I know I've touched on this before in this post about the hidden lines within infertility circles but this goes above and beyond that. Sure, sometimes we find we can relate more to other women who are in a similar predicament to us (ie. been TTC a similar amount of time, similar infertility issues and treatment history etc) but some women are just downright competitive. An example? I was chatting to a friend of mine the other day who mentioned attending her first support group meeting and a woman approaching her to chat. The woman asked my friend how long she had been trying for, to which she replied '15 months' and the woman kinda stuck her nose in the air and wandered off to chat to someone more 'worthy' of her time. I think this behaviour is pretty disgusting. #1. She had no idea what the situation was that my friend was going through! 15 months may not seem as long as some people but she didn't stick around long enough to hear that they were faced with severe male infertility and there was practically no chance of getting pregnant without ICSI. #2. Who are we to judge? Just because someone has been trying less time than you, is it that easy to forget how difficult it was for us at that point? It just doesn't seem right to me that women who are all going through the same hardship can be so callous.

Ok, everyone has a different journey to get to that magical BFP but I think the competitiveness of who has it 'worst', who's been trying the 'longest', that someone is less deserving of a BFP because it came 'naturally' as opposed to through IVF, or a conception as a result of an IUI puts them into a different category than a conception via IVF, or even a conception from a first IVF attempt . . . the list could go on. Sure, feel envious (I do and have!) but it isn't a competition and I think it is sad. It's as though because we can no longer compete to be the super fertile one, we compete to see who has it the worst and who is worthy of our support and congratulations. And it shouldn't be this way at all.

We are all in this together. Have you ever come across competitiveness or found yourself snubbed? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


  1. wow, haven't run up against too much of this, luckily. i do find myself drawn more towards others doing ivf or ones who've gone through RPL, bc even though i've never (*knock on wood*) experienced the latter, i feel like it's an even worse than having to do ivf. i was pretty hurt that there are a bunch of girls who used to follow my blog and are doing iui's who've yet to congratulate me on my pregnancy. i understand that this can be tough for the ppl left behind, but at the same time, i would think that everyone would be rooting for us ivf girls, bc there is NOTHING beyond ivf except for adoption, and that's not even an option for some. so anyways, my point being, this kinda situation just stinks. i'd be aghast if someone didn't deem me worthy of a conversation bc i hadn't been trying for as long as them. ivf is the end of the road, as far as i'm concerned, and no matter how long it took us to get here, it's a shitty situation to be in.

  2. All I can say is being someone who was able to conceive before the 12 mth mark I most definitely found a certain attitude from some who had been trying for longer than 12 mths like I was less deserving of that BFP. I have seen it first hand with my sister who was ttc for more than 2 years and have been nothing but supportive to those who have to go down that road but there are definitely some people who have trouble conceiving who I have felt like I could no longer speak to about ttc or babies.
    It's really all a bit crazy and I totally understand what you are talking about. People should be looked at as an individual, not how their situation compares with others.

  3. This is absolutely freaking ridiculous! I'm so appalled and upset that people would behave that way. All I can do is send that woman love and encouragement and hope she will have a different, more empathic response the next time she runs into that situation.

  4. my personal favourite is those that get their BFP and then forget they ever had issues in the first place.

    i know what you mean and sometimes it is hard. i know that in the recesses of my mind (now that I have hit two years) I sometimes think that someone that is now only 12 months I feel removed from them but at the same time I understand 1 year is still a year and I would never be so rude and uncaring. All i know is that this whole thing friggin sucks.

  5. I agree that it can be nasty out there. I am someone who has 'only' been trying for 12 months, and is in the middle of my first round of IVF. I feel like I have to be careful to justify myself to those that are on their third, forth rounds of IVF because I am 'lucky' I havent been trying that long. Or that I wasnt trying for years before undergoing IVF.
    However, these women dont know my story. They dont know that my DH has such a low sperm count that there is no way that we are going to get pregnant naturally. And why dont they congratulate me on taking the initiative after only trying for 6 months and getting things checked out. I am so glad I did because I am young and our best chance to have a baby is now. Why should I feel guilty for not being 38?
    I get really angry with people who act that way, and because I cant keep an opinion to myself, tend to tell them they are being a dork and if they cant say anything nice then not to speak.

  6. Unfortunately, I've found that the competitiveness continues after the birth as well - how long it took to conceive (this works both ways with some looking 'down' on those that used IVF or TTC for a long time as though there is something that they did wrong (yes, believe it or not I have experienced this even from a close friend who still wants to know "what was wrong" or what I was doing to stop myself from conceiving, even though my infertility was unexplained) and others appearing to think that those who conceived quickly are less deserviing in some way or couldn't possibly love their child as much because they didn't have to try hard to conceive. It doesn't stop there, it's who used pain relief or had a c-section, who's baby is doing what first. I think as women what we really need to be doing is supporting each other and realise that we are all just doing the best that we can in the circumstances that we've been given, none of us are perfect and we all have our challenges in life.

  7. Katie- I am in the same boat and completely agree with you!

  8. Hi. I'm visiting early from IWCL. We have that kind of competiveness in Autism Land too...people with Low Functioning kids will sometimes poo poo the challenges of Aspergers, someone might get jealous because someone else's kid has done so well, or resent parents of typical kids. I don't see it often, but it happens.

  9. Katie I'm in a similar situation too...we are up to 20 months-we've been on a waiting list for ICSI for half of that, and we went and got checked out after 9 months and discovered low sperm count/motility and not much chance of conceiving naturally, I've felt like I've had to justify our infertility to some fertile friends(who I get the impression think we haven't tried hard enough!)and have also felt a little on the outer circle from women who have been through years of infertility and treatments,I guess I can understand that in a way, but I'm trying to take note of the way I'm feeling now and make sure that when I come across someone who's been ttc for much less time and having a rough time of it-that I'm not just dismissive of them because we have ALL been at that stage at some point and it's hard no matter where you're at!Sorry for the ramble lol...Jane xx

  10. Ive experienced similar competitiveness regarding how much money has been shelled out. Because my insurance covered part of my treatment somehow it wasnt as big a hardship?

    Thanks for posting this entry and for bringing the focus back to our common goal--children.

  11. Haidee, I think this competativeness is consuming our society.
    I have a bigger house, better car, better job lawnmower etc etc.
    What happened to people being kind and considerate, and appreciative of what others have achieved thus far.
    Infertility can be isolating enough let alone having someone judge you because of a timeline!!

  12. Not just fertility. Like others have said it is in other areas too. I have a heart child and thank goodness she had a mild conditon. She still had to have heart surgery but it wasn't a full repair and although I thank my lucky stars that it was minor in regards to other heart conditions I feel snobbed by other heart mums. Especially since she is on no meds and living a full and normal life. Who would wish a more serious condition on a child? Just like who would wish others to be more infertile? Or struggle more. It is a matter of choosing your friends with positive attitudes to surround yourself with.

  13. Oh yes, I have noticed these biases and am sorry to say I have been effected by individuals who subscribe to them. I have always wanted to blog about this and maybe someday I will but.... As if IF didn't suck enough already.

  14. I think we women always look for something or someone to compare to. Whether it is how long it took to conceive, how hard the road was, how difficult a pregnancy was, or how long your baby sleeps at night, people still love to compare and categorize.
    My favorite (evil) pastime is to tell one friend about how the other friend's baby sleeps through the night, or eats without trouble. And then the first friend tries to justify her babies action.
    What no one understands is that it is all really up to chance, and luck and God. You cannot change fate, you can only try and adapt to the situation and make the best of it.

  15. I'm with Katie. We followed the available wisdom and popped off to see our GP at 12 months (at a spritely 31 years old). A few months more for tests (privately funded) and a publicly funded fertility appointment or two and we were told that we have no chance of getting there the 'old fashioned way' and will need IVF/ICSI. So we're on the waiting list and trying to get lots of 'fun-things-that-are-easier-to-do-while-not-expecting' to fill the next 12 months.
    It's not that I don't feel for people who've been trying for longer, I really do. But we took the initiative to see someone sooner rather than later so that the frustration didn't do too much damage to our wonderful relationship.
    Even when I explain how it is, people tell me to keep trying (as if I haven't been!), coz these things happen (not when the little guys are all dead in 5 minutes from antibodies, they don't). I find it rather a relief to have sex back for recreation, rather than being tied into dates and peeing on LH sticks and all that. For us, babymaking is for the professionals and lovemaking is for us :)
    Rise above the competitiveness - you don't need people like that trying to share their negativity with you. It's your personal journey, and your life to live and love.
    Lots of positive vibes to all of you and your partners.

  16. Wow, what a relief to hear others feel the same! Afte coming of the pill and no return of AF after 6 months I went to see my GP who brushed me off with 'it might take a while for it to return' I didn't accept that, so made a private appt and sure enough there was a reason, PCOS! Thank god I didn't take her word and sorted it out quickly, so I do feel sorry for those who have been TTC for longer than us, but I feel glad I was on to it to realise that something wasn't right. Everyone has the same end goal and I feel the more we can share all the ups and downs with each other, the more we all benefit in terms of support and understanding and hopefully those who haven't experienced infertility to any degree will have a better understanding too :)