"What are you even doing here?" the fertility specialist asked begrudgingly during my first appointment. She had a point. I was 26, single and using birth control. I wasn’t even trying to get pregnant – yet.
Why on earth was I attending an infertility appointment?
I’ve heard many people’s stories of infertility through friends, TV and podcasts over the years. I even spent a year interning in a fertility lab, watching couples walk into the lab every day, struggling to conceive.
It didn’t hit home until I caught up with an interstate relative who I had not seen for over a year thanks to COVID. She had been secretly trying to get pregnant for years; I had no idea. It made me worry about my own chances of conceiving.
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Like most millennials, my journey for more information started on the internet which told me to order an AMH test. An Anti-Mullerian Hormone test is a relatively cheap and accessible blood test which can indicate a woman’s ovarian reserve.
My GP told me I was the fifth person to ever ask her for one. My result was lower than we both anticipated so I took the test again with a similar result. I’m lucky enough not to have any health problems but despite being her fifth patient with AMH results, she had never seen a score as low as mine. Not knowing what to do, she referred me to a fertility specialist.
"So, tell me why you are here again?" the specialist repeated sternly, secretly convinced I was just another hypochondriac wasting her time. Her frown turned into a gape when she looked at my low AMH results. Then into one of panic when I didn’t have any of the chronic conditions which would have easily explained my low egg count.
After some expensive – and uncomfortable – tests. The specialist confirmed my ovarian reserve was in the bottom 10 per cent for people my age. I was 26, but I had the same number of eggs as most women in their late thirties.
There’s nothing fun about being told your chances of conceiving naturally sit at about five per cent. It’s hard to keep your emotions in check in front of the doctor. It’s even harder to control afterward when you’re sitting alone in the parking lot.
In short, the doctor gave me two options. The offer to freeze my eggs or to start trying for a family sooner. I need to hedge my bets on what could be the biggest gamble of my life; having children.