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Hannah and Manu's story

We never thought Infertility would be a word we would use on a daily basis. We never thought having a family would be so hard. Infertility was never on the cards.

We met in February 2015. After 1 month of dating we were engaged. 3 months later, we were married. It felt right and we knew it was right. Throughout our talks about the future, we knew a family was definitely a plan. We both loved kids and couldn't wait to have our own in the near future. After a year of marriage, we decided it was time to try for a baby. So many of our friends and family were falling pregnant and we felt surely our turn would be next.

Month after month passed and nothing happened. We saw baby after baby being born and still we had nothing to show for all our trying. After a year of trying, we decided we should see the doctor to make sure everything was ok. Following that appointment, we were referred to a fertility specialist.

Our appointment with the fertility specialist changed our lives forever. Prior to our appointment we had done some tests. We went over the results of those tests and found out the reason we hadn't yet conceived. We had male factor infertility. Neither me or my husband even knew what that meant. All we knew, was that our journey to starting a family was going to be harder than we thought. Our hopes and dreams for a big family came crashing down as we realized the size of our family would be dependent on how many IVF cycles we could afford. We never thought our family plans would not be our choice.

We were placed on the waiting list for publicly funded IVF treatment. The wait at the time was 12-18 months. This was so disheartening for us. We had already had a year of nothing, only to be told we would have another unknown length of time to wait. Nevertheless, we went on the list and waited for our time to come.

Over the time of waiting, so many babies have been born to family and friends. With every bit of joy we have for those we know, an equal bit of sadness holds heavy in our hearts. Over time, the sadness gets so overwhelming that it is hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

We try not to let our infertility affect the way we interact with those we love. We try to remain positive and supportive of them. At the same time, we struggle silently and behind closed doors. Over time, it has been hard to be involved in baby conversations. I personally have found myself leaving the room or walking away. Pregnancy talk finds me being excluded accidentally. Seemingly light hearted jokes from friends regarding our lack of babies cuts deeper than intended. Innocent daily conversations regarding anything baby related suddenly seem so much harder.

Our relationship has strengthened through our wait. We only have each other to rely on in this process and only we know what infertility brings and feels like. We don't have many people that we know of who have dealt with infertility and certainly no one in our immediate families have experienced it before. While we have their support, it's hard to talk to them about what we are feeling because how do you explain infertility? It's not about words-it's feelings and emotions. It's thoughts that others can't comprehend. It's personal in a way that only those who have dealt with it know how to help.

We have come to a point where we now only have each other. We strengthen, support and encourage each other through this journey. We lift each other up and comfort each other. We have become stronger as a couple in every possible way because of the struggle infertility has created. It's a hard realization to come to but it is true. I don't think we would have such a relationship if we didn't have this struggle.

We have recently received our letter to advise we are nearing the top of the waiting list. It is almost our turn. We are one step closer to our dream of becoming parents. As of now, we are 2 and a half years into our infertility journey. We are lucky we chose to see someone when we did. If not, we could be even further away from our chances of having our family.

Infertility changed our lives. Infertility is no longer a word for others. It is ours. It is us. But, we will not let it beat us. We will beat it.

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