My Infertility Journey Part 1: Trying on My Own
By Claire Lee
12 March 2022
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be any form of medical advice. Please seek consultation with a Physician if you have queries on fertility treatment.
My husband and I have been married for more than 10 years. We married in 2011. Moved to the US in 2013. Tried on our own for 3 years. Well, we weren’t successful. This article journeys our DIY attempt at TTC (trying to conceive).
Saving up before family planning may bite you if you delay it for too long
For the first two years of our marriage, many people urged us to hurry and make a baby. Many commented on the potential of a super cute kid because my husband was from a foreign race. Well sure, that may be a bonus but all I ask is a healthy baby. But hubby and I were more focused on making money and saving money. We wanted some sort of financial freedom, well more like financial comfort, before we started planning for a family. Plus we thought we were young. I was 25 when I got married (Yes I’m 36 this year, the year of the Tiger 2022) and he was 28. We thought we’ve got loads of time, or so we thought.
In Dec 2013, he had an opportunity to fly to the US. He asked me if I wanted a break from my 80 hour a week work routine (Well, I work 7 days a week). I was with Singapore airlines back then and had a chance to visit San Francisco, the place where his opportunity lies. San Francisco was lovely. Modern world in an old town. Seals lazing on the deck at fisherman’s wharf. Less than two weeks of rain a year and everywhere felt like it was air-conditioned. So YES! I wanted to experience living in another country! Biggest bonus was he said, we can start trying for our little one once we settle down there. In this marriage I’m probably the one who wanted the kid more than him. Many of you probably have experienced this before. Your husband is like “Try lor…”, “I don’t know if I can be a Daddy…” and many other lukewarm reactions. But every girlfriend who shared this lukewarm reaction of their husband to me also shared about how the baby is now the new love of their life instead of them. This little one, half you, half him. Personality and look, half of each. To me, it is sort of like a piece of you reincarnated. I wonder if that’s why every parent gives their best to their kids. Everything they could afford, every opportunity they can give, every experience they can let them have, everything they could let them learn. I see it as a second chance at life. To give everything you can to your kid you could never had for yourself.
San Francisco: Relocation has its pros and cons. You may delay family planning if you are not too sure of your long term situation.
Tip: Start testing your urine every morning from Day 7-10 of your period
So for three years there, we didn’t have the best health care. Healthcare there was (in the United States) as messed up and more expensive than in Singapore. Or worse. There wasn’t a GP doctor we could see for mild symptoms. The pharmacy had everything you needed to self-medicate. Clinics and hospitals don’t carry medication either. You can get a paper prescription to go get it from clinics. Deductibles, co-insurance, co-pay, premiums, limit this and that. We had no idea. This was really confusing to the layman. Insurance in the US is a lot of DIY. I really appreciated having a Singapore Insurance Agent here. Hubby was working in a start-up so our health insurance was actually travel insurance. So we really had no idea where to get help. But hey, we don’t smoke or drink. Sure, we are not the healthiest nut around. But I believe we were both in good health. I don’t think I have any menstrual issues. A pretty long cycle of about 35 days. But nothing serious that I knew of.
So I did some research. And here are the tips that work for many women, starting from the most basic to more effort required. Lowest cost methods for trying to conceive because for those who started their fertility treatments, we know they don’t come cheap and easy.
Get a fertility app and track your periods. The app averages when your ovulation will be after a few months of data. I use Ovia to do it:
You can use any app you like. I tried a few and I preferred this because of the specificity of the data I could input in the app.
2. Tracking your Basal Body Temperature
Yi TCM has also designed an excel sheet. Click on file> make a copy to have it in your own google drive. All you need to do is input your temperature and the excel/google sheet would chart your temperature data for you. Just make sure to fill the red boxes only and let the sheet do the rest. There is a sheet per cycle so just use a new sheet every time your period comes. Make sure you fill in:
a. Date of Day 1 Period
b. Temperature for the Cycle Day
c. Intercourse done or not
Everything else is secondary. But the sheet does not predict your ovulation. The chart simply provides the data for your medical practitioner to observe and advise accordingly.
So this basically helps you to decide the best time to do your “homework”. I call it homework, because it becomes a routine. It’s not that fun anymore. It really becomes homework. Good gauge would be every other day during the ovulation window. Someone once told me they told their husband “Let me know when you are ready.” Believe me, I understand. Nobody has time to foreplay every single time they are doing it. It isn’t Valentine’s Day or your first time everyday you know.
3. If you have the budget, get some ovulation test strips. You can just pee on them and wait for your double line to appear during ovulation. It is easier than an ART test.
It is crucial you take your first morning pee as that is the sample that is most concentrated with the LH hormones, should you ovulate.
4. If you tried for 6 months with the above and still ain’t successful, its time to spend some money to get a more clear understanding on what is going on. Important tests include1. Semen analysis for men2. Hormonal profile for women3. Ultrasound and Vaginal scans by gynecologists to see if you have anything odd going on inside your uterus
Check out our video below to find out more about the tests you have to take for fertility.
5. If you need lubricant for your homework, make sure that the ones you use are sperm friendly, such as Pre-seed.
6. Ensure you take care of yourself this period and take essential vitamins and supplements, especially CoQ10, supplements containing ubiquinone.
7. Also if you have issues ovulating, ask your Physician if you could get ovulating medication such as clomid or letrozole. Don't worry. It's wallet friendly :)
Ovulation medication to help with ovulating will increase your chances
So for those of you new on this journey, I hope this article would be helpful and give you some insights into family planning. This journey isn't easy. Trust me. I know. Part 2 of this article, I will be sharing my experience with all the different gynecologists I've met on this journey. So perhaps you can have a comparison with your existing gynecologist and determine if you've found the right one for your family planning. If you like this article, please do share with others and back link this article. Thank you for reading and I wish you best of luck if you are TTC (trying to conceive)