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  • Writer's picturebabycraving

Plan A: Too Late? First Fertility Appointment

I'm 28. I stand outside the fertility clinic and take a picture of my feet. This is a big moment and I want to document it somehow, but I'm embarrassed about taking selfies in public. Then I take one anyway - half of my face covered by my mask, so I don't feel too daft.

A view from above of a woman's feet. She is wearing a navy spotty dress and white trainers.

I am greeted at reception and sit down. I look at the woman opposite me and wonder how she's feeling. Is she excited to be here? Possibly not. For a lot of people this isn't step one.

My name is called and the first needle of the journey is pushed into my arm to take my blood. It is the first appointment for my general fertility check-up and they are testing for AMH - anti-müllerian hormone. I'm in and out in two minutes, heading through the rabbit warren of hospital corridors and out into the sunshine.

A cotton pad taped to a woman's arm after blood test.

A week later, I take a second picture of my feet. A lovely doctor talks through my levels and explains that they are healthy, then gives me a transvaginal ultrasound. I nerdily enjoy the novelty of getting to look at my ovaries. Everything is fine, I'm told. These results hold for a year.

I'm given a pile of papers about treatment options, and read them on the bus home. My plan is to apply for an egg donation programme. I have plenty of time!

A view from above of a woman's feet. She is wearing a pink floral skirt and white trainers.

I'm 29. It's been a busy winter, but things have slowed down a little. My results are valid until August, and I'd like to freeze some of my eggs and donate half. I'd read about this arrangement in a story (The Two Week Wait, Sarah Rayner) and it turns out it's real! I love the idea of donating eggs to someone who wants to have a baby as much as me.

I send an email to enquire, and get a call back to talk through my options. The person on the end of the phone is lovely, and explains that although my levels are healthy, they are just shy of high enough to share and freeze my eggs. My heart sinks. I know there are any number of reasons to be ineligible, but didn't imagine that I'd struck out before I've even begun. That it might already be too late for some things.

But wait. A quick levels check, a word with the doctor - other factors are good enough. They're going to let me apply.

I'm not yet 30, not quite ready to be a mother yet, and have been unexpectedly presented with the evidence that my body doesn't have to co-operate with my plans. Plan A almost failed at the first hurdle, and still has so many potential pitfalls ahead. My brain, my body, my genetics, my health, my height, my weight, the untold mysteries of my ovaries and how effective they are are their job. So many things coming into question.

But at least they are still questions, and I'm now going full steam ahead on what feels like a very precarious track. It's not the end of the world if I can't donate my eggs. It would be a great thing to do, it would be a cool life experience, it would help financially. But if Plan A fails, there can be Plan B, C, D. I have wanted this for 20 years, and the point of all this testing is to have time if they find issues.

I will cross my fingers, I will go to my appointments, I will have all the tests, and wait it out for the results. I am nervous, but also so excited to be doing something!

Shit is about to get real.

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