As you read this, one in six Aussie couples trying to conceive are riding the emotional rollercoaster of infertility, with a huge one in three couples predicted to be affected by infertility in the next ten years.
These figures, however shocking, do not even begin to tell the story of heartbreak, loss, guilt and blame that each and every couple trying to conceive feels. Many couples, in their desperation, spend precious hours and hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on treatments, without knowing exactly how the treatments work, what the possible side-effects are and whether there is any scientific evidence to back them up.
This was Angela Hutchins' experience during her six-year battle to conceive. Angela, in her passion to share the knowledge from her extensive research on infertility, has written a handbook for couples that provides all the information you could possibly need about fertility and falling pregnant. Angela has listed methods and products to help you identify when you are most fertile, detailed products that can adversely affect your fertility (including aspirin!), and outlined a number of medical and natural approaches to treating infertility.
This is the one-stop book that deals with all sides of infertility, from the cause and treatments to the emotional aspects of overcoming grief and loss. Ultimately Angela has written a book that has the perfect balance of science and facts and personal insight; Angela has managed to illuminate the minefield of infertility the way only someone who has battled infertility (and won) can. Angela I. Hutchins
spent years researching and compiling notes after realising, through her own personal struggle with infertility (Angela foundsuccess through Chinese medicine, after exhausting trials with IVF), that there was little information available in Australia. She now resides in the Hunter Valley with by her husband and two children. This book is the result of Angela's tireless research. Experts have contributed to lend weight to Angela's work.
Author: Angela I. Hutchins
Interview with Angela I. HutchinsQuestion:
What inspired you to write The Infertility Handbook?Angela I. Hutchins
: Before I wrote the book I spent several years collecting information, in an effort to better understand why we couldn't conceive. So the initial motivation was to learn about our own unexplained infertility.
As time wore on I would share information with friends and people I'd met online. I suppose the inspiration came when it dawned on me that many of us felt lost and alone with our infertility. I wanted to create something that filled that gap
To offer support and information to women and men so they could face the years ahead. When you personally know how hard it is to live with infertility you feel compelled to reach out and help others in similar situations. Question:
How hard was it for you to write this book after your struggles?Angela I. Hutchins
: It was hard in the respect that I had to reconnect with some deeply upsetting experiences and emotions, but I only had to visit these past feelings and I could space them out if I needed to. You don't have that luxury when you're living with infertility it's a daily, monthly, yearly presence of sadness and grief. While it was hard there are people out there coping with much tougher situations.
And while writing is challenging at times, it's also liberating as you give a voice to all those things you don't give yourself permission to say, which is a release. Writing was part of my intuitive therapy when I was infertile.Question:
What did you ensure you included in The Infertility Handbook?Angela I. Hutchins
: Really my vision was to include absolutely every topic that related to or impacted infertility, however I wasn't able to include them all due word count restrictions.
Out of all of the topics I think the chapters 'emotional impact of infertility' and 'support for loss and grief' were among the most important to cover. People need to know they're not alone
Infertility for many is a very isolating experience, cutting many off from their usual support networks and even our partners can become distant. Making sure people have loads of support options was very important to me.Question:
Why was it important that you included personal insight in this book?Angela I. Hutchins
: I think people need to know where you're coming from and what you've been through. People tend to be more receptive when they know that the writer has personal insight into a particular issue. The only way to truly achieve this is to share pieces of yourself. Infertility in general and the medications to treat infertility can make you feel emotionally on edge. Reading how another person copes or doesn't cope for that matter, can help. Perhaps it's a human trait, we feel better when we read that someone else experiences things in a similar way. Question:
Can you tell us a little bit about your infertility story, including your success?Angela I. Hutchins
: I spent many years avoiding the fact that we were having trouble conceiving. I don't know whether it was denial or stubbornness, I just wanted to get pregnant like everyone else I didn't want my fertility to dominate my life. We had conceived before so I believed that it could happen, both of those pregnancies however had resulted in miscarriage.
At 36 I finally went to the Ob/gyn doctor to get some answers, we'd been trying on and off for many years and I had to face the fact, there was a problem. The testing revealed nothing every test came back normal, some results were boarder line but we still fell within normal range. It was very frustrating.
From there we progressed to IVF we did 2 medicated IVF cycles and one frozen embryo transfer - FET, all of which failed. I found the emotional side effects of assisted reproduction - ART very difficult to cope with; we decided to discontinue ART for the time being. We opted to re-evaluate and come back to ART in the future if need be.
A decision was made to explore naturopathy and natural fertility management, which was a pivotal step both emotionally and physically. My one regret is that I didn't explore this avenue 5 years earlier, but 'such is life' I wasn't aware of it then. In the several months I consulted with my naturopath I learnt so much about my body, reproduction and reproductive issues. Understanding how your body works is an empowering experience and I made sure it was included in the book. I felt it was very important to provide a detailed explanation of both the male and female reproductive systems and the endocrine system. Infertility represents a complete loss of control over your reproductive system; knowledge is a way of reclaiming it.
Unfortunately we did not get pregnant using Naturopathy but I think the changed diet and coping strategies did impact on our success when it did finally happen.
Our success was with Traditional Chinese Medicine - TCM; the practitioner explained that I had a blood flow issue to my uterus, which he diagnosed as a cold uterus. I was to take 30 TCM tablets four times a day until I conceived; he anticipated that I would be pregnant within 6 weeks. I was very skeptical but when we were pregnant at 4 weeks I was astonished. I gave birth to my daughter Olivia 2 months before my 39th birthday.
While alternative treatments aren't for everyone and they may not be able to help every situation. If you've run out of finances, emotional reserve or faith in your current treatment direction, the do offer an option and it could be the one that works.
Interview by Brooke HunterBuy it now at