Rationalists argue that the reason sex exists is basically to make babies, and most of us take our fertility for granted. As small children we imagine ourselves grown up with children of our own. For some it seems so easy to conceive — the 'I just have to think about sex and I can get pregnant' category. Some make the decision to stop contraception and after a year of unprotected intercourse around eighty to ninety percent will be pregnant, but others are not so lucky.
So what happens when conception can't happen the way Nature intended? What sort of impact does it have on a relationship? Finding out you're infertile is another prominent landmark and it is invariably an emotional and sexual rollercoaster as expectation gives way to frustration, passion to tedium.
The reality of infertility dawns slowly. Doubts start to creep in after a few months. Alison told me, 'At first it was quite euphoric. After years of study and work and saving, we had made this big decision to start a family. The sex was really passionate ... better than it had ever been. We seemed to have this excitement every time I knew I was ovulating that this could be the one that did the job! The first couple of periods we thought, "Oh well, it's a disappointment but it's fun trying anyway." When it got to about six months I was starting to lose patience. I found myself checking my underwear about ten times a day when I knew my period was due and when it would come I would be quite cranky for a few days. I know I took it out on David, which was unfair because he was just as upset as I was. I went to the doctor and he ordered a sperm count for David. That was normal, so he said to wait until we had been trying for a year before we had any more tests done. Another six months seemed like an eternity but I was really hoping that we would manage it by then. When the year rolled around I had to accept that we would need help.'



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