pregnancy

"IVF is not elective. These 90 days count more than many will ever know."

This post deals with miscarriage and fertility struggles and might be triggering for some readers.

It's been one day since I heard the news that IVF would be taken away as an option for my husband and I to conceive a baby.

In case you missed it, elective surgeries and procedures have been suspended in public and private hospitals in Victoria to cope with rising COVID-related admissions.

As part of the change, IVF appointments and procedures were considered "elective". 

Although the Victorian Government has said they will resume services as "quickly as possible", the blanket ban could last for 90 days.

When you hear something, particularly around motherhood that doesn't sit right with you, there is a lioness response that can set in. Even if you haven't met your baby earthside yet. The motherhood journey for many of us starts well before a pregnancy.

For me yesterday, anger arose. 

Then being a practical, quite positive person, activation kicks in. 

"What can I do to fight this?"

Watch: Emotional pleas amid IVF treatments being halted in Victoria. Post continues below.

Video via 7NEWS.

So I posted a video online showing the injections and appointments and tears of my miscarriage and overstimulation. It showed my husband holding up my top for me to inject myself - just one of the 30 or so injections we have done. 

I encouraged those who may or may not be affected to plead with the government to reconsider deeming this harrowing process as "elective". 

I felt defeated. Desperate. Embarrassed. Fury.

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But today, I woke up, and I felt numb. Nothing really changed?

My menstrual period continues to move closer and closer towards me (the first day of my IVF cycle is the first day of my period). And after some of the dust settled from yesterday's outburst of emotion and devastation, it all started to shift. 

The numbness subsided across the morning, the protective emotions of rage and action started to fade and all I was left with was hurt. 

How could any person believe, even in a health crisis, they have a right to deem conception as elective? 

My husband's cancer was not elective. The timeline on which I met him was not elective. How Sarah's body is able to receive a baby is not elective. Tim's low sperm count is not elective. Georgia's unwell Fallopian tubes are not elective. Candice and Natalie's same-sex love is not elective. Phoebe's Endo or PCOS is not elective. Their devastating unknown infertility is NOT elective. 

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Not everybody wants kids, sure. Not everybody needs to care about your kids or how you conceive your kids, also sure. 

But when a woman's body becomes a public health conversation, isn't it an issue for all?

Not dissimilar to abortion and surgeries for illnesses like Endometriosis. The list goes on! There seems to be a common thread here... and that is women's health. 

Politicians don't choose the suburb you live in. Or the football team you follow. Or what you eat for dinner. These are fundamental rights we have day to day, as we should.

Just like a couple having sex in that ovulation window after the third episode of Succession. You might be tired, but it's your choice to try! 

Why is that right taken from people because they are unwell? 

Ben my beautiful main man was 38 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, a freak finding that saved his life. After intense, heartbreaking years of recovery for him to regain function, unfortunately, the one thing he couldn't change was his inability to ejaculate. 

I laid wide awake last night trying to find a loophole. Could I pledge a case that the issue is my husband's infertility due to cancer, and it was actually a male issue? 

The feminist in me felt sick for even thinking such a thing. But desperation is a funny thing. 

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Listen to Get Me Pregnant: IVF interrupted and birthing alone: Pregnancy in the time of Coronavirus. Post continues after audio.


I have called the Department of Human Services numerous times over the last two years to enquire about the changes and to figure out whether or not  I was allowed out of my house at different stages to receive fertility treatments.  

I was constantly told that it had to be a "life or death" situation.

So who gets to decide what life looks like to some and what death looks like to others?

For me, life is the potential of exactly that… a life. The human right to make babies with someone you love. The right to make babies on your own if that works for you too.

And death in this instance represents the death of a family people never get. The death of the children who were not formed. Not given a chance. 

Thankfully, I can hold my two-year-old son tightly tonight. Others do not have this privilege. 

I empathise with the predicament the healthcare system is in; I do. This is not about not wanting to protect the health care workers or not feeling utter devastation for them and what they are faced with. But one lot of devastation doesn't cancel out the other. 

There has been time to figure this out. But it is bigger than this pandemic. 

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We have had decades to figure out that fertility treatment is not a fad. It's not a thing you do to "choose the gender" or "make things happen quicker". 

Fertility treatment shouldn't be in the pillar of elective, giving any political party the option to move it around in the first place.

My body doesn't pause. 

My cycle doesn't pause either. 

I don't stop ageing.

This is happening in real time and these 90 days count more than many will ever know. None of this is elective. 

Would you choose any of it?

Stacey June is an author, broadcaster, coach and yoga / meditation teacher. She is running a conception circle in the coming months to support couples trying to conceive. Head here for more info or listen to her podcast where she shares about her fertility journey with her husband Ben.

If you would like to sign the petition, calling on the Victorian Government to restart IVF treatment, click here

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24-hour support line on 1300 072 637.

Feature Image: @staceyjune