Sexual Health

The impact of infertility

The views of young women late adolescence to mid-twenties

Vignette 2: Kate, age 26

For Shauna, the early emotional disruptions in childhood and issues associated with repeated surgery, alongside support from her family and hospital doctor, seem to have given her a determination to adapt to the condition, to think about infertility and to move forward. Shauna was also young enough to have growth hormone treatment Buy Kamagra online and to be part of a somewhat more optimistic milieu of assisted reproduction that implies more choice for adult women with TS. For Kate, just a few years older, growth hormone had not been available. As Kate did not attend the hospital clinic she did not have the early hospital counselling opportunity to talk about the lack of control over the body that she experienced in her childhood and adolescent medical reviews, or even to talk over teasing and being short. Sinason writes about the alienation of some people from their bodies when there is a trauma to the body of a physical or social kind. She postulates that after the primary trauma, there can be a secondary trauma, which may have been present for Kate in her mid-twenties as a result of not speaking about or understanding the original insult to her body.

The perspective from adult women mid-thirties to sixties

To explore the place of fertility from a longer perspective, I invited adults with TS from the VTSA, through their newsletter, to a semistructured group discussion on the topic of fertility. Five women accepted. They ranged in age from mid-thirties to early sixties; two were married with adopted children, one was married with no plans for children, a fourth was unmarried, and a fifth was engaged to be married and interested in IVF.

Fertility began to matter to the women in their late teens and early twenties although three had learned about it in their early teens. Of these, one woman said it mattered to her after the end of her first marriage at 24; two others said it mattered to them at 17 and 19 years. The other two women had only learned later about their syndrome (at 16 and 20 respectively) and infertility mattered to them straight away. But even then, as one woman said:

  • It was not on my mind a terrible lot, I thought I’d cross that bridge when I come to it – it was a mighty bridge.

The five women said, looking back, infertility impacted on their self-worth, self-esteem or on making new relationships. One woman referred to TS impacting on sexuality:

  • It’s more unsureness about the missing X chromosome. Am I a full woman? Can I have a full sexual relationship?