By Bunmi Sofola
Getting pregnant seems like a lottery sometimes where anxious people dying for a child come up with the booby price. For close to six years, Rele and her husband had been desperately seeking for a child. “We tried everything”, they said, “Lawrence, my husband, had the right sperm count but I had a blockage in one of my fallopian tubes and there was no reason why the other one shouldn’t work.
In desperation, I relocated abroad and was able to go through two cycles of IVF on the National Health. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, believe me, yet nothing happened.
“When I came back, I didn’t feel like sex because of all the disappointments and trauma I went through,
Lawrence must have felt the same because he didn’t pester me for it. Or was he getting it somewhere else? I didn’t really care, I’d had it. A few months later, I had to go on a business trip and got together with another man from our sister firm who I’d corresponded with frequently but never met in person. He’s years younger than me and was so out-going that I found him very sexy. One night, I went up to his hotel room for some business chin – wag and the urge to sleep with him was incredibly strong.
“He must have felt the same because we found ourselves entwined on the bed in minutes, making passionate love. I regretted what happened almost immediately, but the sex was good, I told him later how solid my marriage was, that what happened was a one off, and we have since reverted to our official correspondence. Then I found out I was pregnant. I couldn’t believe how cruel fate could be.
After trying for years with my husband to get pregnant, I had a one-night-stand with a total stranger and got banged up! I now have two options – get rid of the baby or have it and pass it off as my husband’s. And I would be a fool to get rid of the baby – not after all I’d gone through to have a child. Right now, I’m praying for a solution that’ll not make my husband feel he’s been used and dumped ..”
Unfortunately, Rele’s situation is more common than we think. It’s a typical case of mother Nature at her most mischievous. Getting pregnant didn’t work with Rele’s husband, so she latched on to a delicious candidate – a young, virile, macho man, oozing testosterone and very healthy sperm indeed! With her hormone raging because of lack of sex, it was inevitable that the longed-for pregnancy would spring up a surprise appearance.
Because of the desperation of most women to get pregnant, a whole baby-making industry has sprung up, offering a range of items from sperm-friendly lubricants to soft-cup, a disposable cup that can be used to cover the cervix after sex to keep sperm inside. Temperature charting is another recent method to use to find out when you’re more fertile. A highly accurate digital thermometer comes in handy here.
Alternatively, you could purchase an ovulation monitor kit, which tracks certain hormone levels in your body to identify your most fertile time. There are also herbal remedies, ‘fertility-boosting’ acupuncture and CDs that promise to put you in the right frame of mind to conceive. Before you start searching your favourite chemists’ or placing orders through your foreign contacts, you need to know what, although, individually, these products cost less than treatments such as in- vitro fertilisation (IVF), they are not cheap – and costs soon add up.
But are that worth the bother? Neil Mc Chire is professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Queen University in Belfast. According to him, using a softcup is unnecessary. “Some sperm always come out, but those that remain swim in the fertile mucus around the cervix and stay there for several days.
Sperm-friendly lubricants also get the thumbs up. Nature designed it so that sperm swim in the fertile mucus and extra lubrication isn’t necessary, what about ovulation monitors? These too, are a no-no.
They can reassure a woman that she’s ovulating, but most women with a regular cycle don’t need them. The advice? “It is best to have regular sex around every two or three days, to maximize the chances of conception, making sure you have intercourse just before ovulation. Sperm live inside a woman for several days but the egg only lives for 12-24 hours. Having sperm waiting maximizes chances”.
For whatever it is worth, here are some period protection products now promoted on sites such as www.thefertilityshop.com: Softcup Claim: Women are inserting these after intercourse to help keep the sperm chose to the cervix. Clearblue Ovulation Text kit – 7 sticks. Claim – test can indicate the days closest to when the egg is released from the ovary. Zital West’s Relaxation CD – for preconception. Claim: Listening to this CD on a daily basis will help to prepare you mentally for conceiving successfully.