Dear infertility

I find it hard to describe the amount of anger and sadness I feel when I think about you. When I was younger I had no idea about how destructive you would be to mine and my husband's life.

I am only realising now, in the last few years, the loss and mental pain that have been inflicted by your cruelty. An example, which is understandable I suppose, is that it hits you when you least expect it. Sitting in a doctor's surgery, seeing a woman who you just assume is another patient waiting to see the doctor. When she leaves, she's carrying a basket with a baby out of the door. In that instant, despite how mild mannered you maybe as a person, you hate her! "Why can she have a baby and I can't? She doesn't look healthy, maybe she's not but she has a chance and a future as a mum and she has a family. She doesn't feel pointless and isn't judged by society to be redundant. I admit I'm feeling worse due to needing to go on HRT as the symptoms imposed by menopause and the necessary womb ablation have brought me here to see my GP.

The effect on my husband was to leave him feeling completely emasculated as we found out nearly ten years ago that he was infertile too. He suffered with anxiety and worried so much about his health that he stopped eating foods which he thought he was allergic to. He stopped wanting sex, he gave up work, we didn't tell anyone. We couldn't go out as we didn't have the money as my salary and his savings just paid for bills and the mortgage and our money had been taken by ICSI treatments as we'd paid privately to try to get pregnant. Going out wasn't an option when your husband wouldn't drink or eat foods which were affecting his body causing pain and low mood. Some money went on private tests to see what possible health conditions he may have and if so, did these also link up to not having normal sperm which were also too few in number to get me pregnant.

Our shame in being infertile meant we couldn't tell anyone, though my colleagues at work knew because I had to have time off for treatment. My husband would get upset and shout at me if I dared to walk out the door with a yellow sharps box of used needles, in case the neighbours saw it. I'd used these to inject myself each morning with hormones to get my ovaries to produce ripe follicles ready for egg collection. I was congratulated with black humour by the nurses at the fertility clinic on the spectacularly dark colourful bruises on my thighs from the injections. All of the procedures and treatment and condescending pep talks from the consultant didn't result in a baby.

I'll never be able to walk out of the doctor's door with my baby in a basket, never be able to help my daughter or son with their first steps or their stressful GCSE's. I won't be a Grandma and be able to sit being photographed with my grandaughter on my knee in a sunny garden or be able to teach her to dance.

Thanks for nothing infertility!