Why my fertility is rock bottom at 22

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I have posted before about my gynecological issues (endometriosis & PCOS) but I’ve never posted about how it affected my fertility, and why at 22, I face the harsh reality that I probably won’t be able to have any more children.

I never imagined myself as a mum, and still to this day I don’t see myself as a “good” mum, and once I was diagnosed with endometriosis and PCOS at 16/17 the reality sunk in that I probably wouldn’t be a mum. At 19 I was placed on a drug called Zoladex, an injection to induce a chemical menopause to help my endo. I still to this day can’t work out the logistics of how I fell pregnant whilst my body was in a menopausal state, but that was my blessing, as Oliver came along. It was a pregnancy and labor from hell, but he was so worth it. However, my complications didn’t end there… I suffered from postpartum psychosis which plagued the first few months of motherhood for me, and I guess still to this day I feel like I missed some amazing moments with Oliver because of it.

As months went by, my endometriosis and PCOS progressed, getting more and more aggressive. Hospital admissions went on, laparoscopic operations took place (8 operations to count as it stands), and still I was SO adamant I didn’t want another baby, ever. I can’t blame myself; I was still trying to get over my pregnancy, labour and post-labour events.

Then in November 2018 the decision to remove my right ovary came to fruition. It wasn’t a choice I took lightly, but after having an 8cm cyst on my “problem ovary”, enough was enough. My gynecologist and I decided it was time for the ovary and fallopian tube to be removed. After a recent admission, it’s likely that I will at some point lose my left ovary and potentially my uterus as my endometriosis and PCOS are aggressive and resilient, and continue to grow against treatment.

Months on, I can’t help but wonder if I made the right decision. After all, I am only 22. Maybe I do want more children one day. Maybe if I get another chance, my pregnancy won’t be awful and I can live the parts I missed. Just maybe. I’ve endured baby loss, I’ve endured a traumatic pregnancy and labour but it’s unlikely I’ll get the chance to do it again, and honestly it breaks my heart.

The real kick in the teeth is unfortunately if I was to try for another baby I would not be entitled to support from the NHS, even if the partner I was with had no children. Despite the fact I have two conditions that can cause infertility, only one ovary and Fallopian tube, in addition to my only successful pregnancy being traumatic, due to NHS guidelines they are under no obligation to support me should that time come.

I still can’t bring myself to terms with the fact that I might never get a chance to have another baby, to give Oliver a sibling. I guess in some ways it makes me feel like I’ve failed as a woman. I’m unable to do the one thing that’s expected of us. However, it makes me treasure Oliver so much, because in my eyes he truly is a miracle. He pulled through against the odds and made me a mum… Something that I might never have been if he didn’t pull through.

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Endometri…what?

Endometriosis…you’ve either heard of it or you haven’t. I had never heard of it until I got diagnosed with it that it. Now I have mentioned about endometriosis before in my post on “being a chronically ill parent“… But this post is dedicated to endo, with coping strategies, tips and tricks.

According to the NHS, “Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the womb (endometrium) is found outside the womb, such as in the ovaries and fallopian tubes.”

My story with endometriosis (or endo as I prefer to call it) I guess started at 8 when I started my periods (young, eh?). I remember being so confused at that age, and I remember one thing that really upset me was not being able to do my swimming lessons at school (there was no way at 8 years of age I was using a tampon). 

As I grew older my periods became more and more painful and my mum would say; “welcome to womanhood my baby, it’s normal for it to hurt,” and one day I came on and was in so much pain that I couldn’t move from the sofa. I was crying in pain… my Nan insisted I saw a doctor who didn’t say much but prescribed mefenamic acid for the cramps. I was offered the pill to regulate my periods but my mum said no as she didn’t feel going on the pill at 13 was right for me, despite the fact that I was bleeding for 3 weeks of the month and had no pattern at all. Mefenemic acid helped to ease the cramps for a year or two.

At 16, I was admitted to hospital (yet again) and this time the paediatric doctors refereed me to Gynaecology. Two consultants came and sat with me and asked a series of questions about my periods, my sex life and my lifestyle. I answered as honestly as I could… 

“yes my periods are irregular, yes they’re painful, yes they’re abnormally heavy and yes sex is painful”

The two consultants nodded at each other and proceeded to say – “textbook endometriosis”


“We’ll need to do a laparoscopy to confirm but I think that’s what we’re looking at”… They didn’t really tell me much about the condition they just told me that I would be having surgery. Naturally, I went away and researched it myself. Endometriosis UK were fantastic at informing me, and it finally all made sense. The reason that my ultrasounds were coming back as clear is because endometriosis doesn’t show on scans; only through surgery can you be diagnosed with endo.

My surgery date approached, I counted back from 10 and the next thing I remember was that I woke up with my consultant saying, “Miss Simkins…. Miss Simkins, wakey wakey.” 

I opened my eyes to see him stood there, I tried to sit up but felt like I had been stabbed in the stomach. 

“No no no, don’t try and do that just rest!” He said. “So the operation was a success, there was the odd complication but we sorted that, I did find endometriosis but I’ve treated it, though the condition isn’t curable so it’s likely that it will grow back.” He proceeded to show me the pictures of my surgery and I saw what endo looked like – it was fascinating to see what had been causing me such unbearable pain. “So we’re going to start you on something called Zoladex and HRT and I’ll see you in clinic in 6 months.”

Zoladex was a weird one. I had a love/hate relationship with it. 

Zoladex is an injection that triggers a chemical menopause, so all the time i was going through chemical menopause I wasn’t menstruating therefore no periods = no flare ups (in theory)… BUT with this came all the menopause side effects; hot flushes, weight gain, acne etc., plus it was a tad embarrassing to be going through menopause at 16, I guess, but it helped… Massively. But, like all good things, it came to an end. The maximum amount of time that you can stay on Zoladex is 6 months, but I’ve had 3 rounds of 6 months sessions in total now.  

My periods are still extremely heavy and painful and my flare ups are now so painful I have to rely on oramorph and tramadol as well as seeing the chronic pain team for tender point injections. Though, when I have my monthlies I subscribed to a company called Pink Parcel who make my periods less stressful and I look forward to my period just for my box of goodies!

My battle with endo is ongoing, I was later diagnosed with PCOS which i’ll save for another post. I urge anyone with endo like symptoms to see their GP. Heavy and painful periods are NOT normal and you don’t have to suffer. 

On the 7th of July Sarah and I from mummykind will be doing a live Q&A session on Facebook, so if you have any questions on endo feel free to inbox us them or even comment them. I’ve made it my personal mission to raise awareness on Endometriosis, I’ve previously had a letter from David Cameron himself regarding the matter, I won’t rest until young girls are educated properly on women’s health!