Dr. Sarah-Anne Buckley explained to Ray D'Arcy today why she chose to voice some of her most personal thoughts in public, charting the course of events she and her husband have followed over a two-year period.
Sarah-Anne recently wrote a piece in The Irish Times about living with the loss of successive miscarriages and the arc of that emotional journey: "Getting upset is a part of it. I think that’s why I wrote the article, to just have a bit of closure, to move on. There is a release in that."
The Cork academic married her husband Adrian, a nurse, in 2015. Around a year later they decided to try and have a family. Fast-forward to October this year when Sarah-Anne had the fourth in a series of miscarriages. She decided she’d had enough – for now at any rate.
"Physically, after the last one, I decided that you have to have a point where you self-preserve."
Sarah-Anne kept diaries during her pregnancies and miscarriages. She shared parts of these deeply personal documents in her Irish Times article.
Ray raised one of the extracts with her, in which she imagined the future in detail with a prospective child, as she examined a positive pregnancy test. Sarah says she thinks this is common: "I think that’s what women and couples do. I think the potential child exists for them, for however long that is there."
Sarah-Anne’s reasons for sharing her experience of infertility are personal, but the impact of her words has reached far beyond her experience and her husband’s. She has received many letters and emails from people at different stages of their own fertility journey. She says people who are affected seldom draw attention to it.
"As a group, people suffering from infertility are not going to be the most vocal. They’re not going to be on the streets, because they’re probably whispering stuff on-- like, you go to internet blogs. That’s where you read most of your knowledge. You read these sites and it’s got a funny, covert feeling to it."
Sarah-Anne offers one piece of advice to anyone looking for guidelines on how to talk about fertility:
"First of all, don’t ask anyone if they have children if they look over the age of 30 and they haven’t volunteered it. I think that’s a good thing for us to start following."
Sarah-Anne Buckley talks extensively about the issue of state support for fertility treatment and testing and where Ireland is now regarding fertility issues in general in the full interview here.