22 August 2010, by Tan Yi Lin


Since I started blogging about us choosing to go for fertility tests in mid-June, it’s no secret that we haven’t exactly been producing a stellar report card in the conception department.

We knew that sooner or later, we would have to tell people, especially those whom we come into close contact with, about our choice to go for IVF. In fact, I wanted to have my immediate family members and close friends know what we were going through, because it would really be nice to have some cheerleaders rooting for us and giving us all the emotional support we needed during this trying (no pun intended) time.

But how have people been responding to what we tell them? Responses can be generally categorised into the six broad categories below:

1. Noted With Thanks

This is a standard reply I receive in response to alot of the work emails that I send to my bosses. Basically, it’s clear that the recipient doesn’t need to know more, doesn’t want to know more, and most certainly will not be asking any further questions. Case closed.

In the context of responses to IVF, while this isn’t the exact phrase used and the tone of the response is less officious and abrupt, it’s obvious that the people in this category don’t need detailed reports of my reproductive health. This response is pretty typical of my male friends. The point is noted and the conversation moves on to a different topic. But we’re glad to report that most people have been gracious enough to thank us for letting them know and to wish us luck. Well, thank you for listening.

2. I Don’t Want To Pry, But…

Next are the people who want to know more but are afraid to ask for fear of being seen to pry into a private affair. For Dan and I, while we’re not amenable to broadcasting IVF updates over Facebook and office lunches, it is not an issue to be shy or apologetic about, especially since we are comfortable enough to blog about it here. But just because we don’t initiate deep conversations about our reproductive organs at the dinner table, it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to talk about our IVF experience. We just don’t want to assume that everyone else is interested in the latest episode of Tubal Tango or Follicle (not the hairy kind) Folly. We’re just as happy discussing the latest movie release in California, as we are sharing a detailed account of Dan’s release into a container. So shoot! (the questions, I mean. I’m not talking to Dan here…)

3. Curious Kittens

These are mostly my younger female colleagues, for whom marriage and children are on the cards, but not in the immediate future. These girls are genuinely curious about what IVF involves and why even young couples like Dan and myself have to resort to this medical procedure. While they have no qualms about asking many questions to feed their interest, they are aware that infertility is a private matter for most couples, and handle the topic with sincerity, tact and sensitivity – which I am most appreciative of.

4. Concerned Carers

Many of our friends, upon learning about our IVF experience, have offered kind words, like “take care”, “don’t stress”, “rest well”, etc – mostly wishes relating to physical health. A caring few go a step further – to recognise that IVF can be an emotionally and psychologically-trying experience for couples, in that the procedure might not yield the positive results that everyone is hoping for. From this group, I get heartfelt messages to be optimistic (which I am!) and that they will be there for me if I ever need someone to talk to. Awww, thank you.

5. Help Lines

My friend Jennifer, upon learning about our decision to go for IVF, offered to introduce me to her friend Agnes – mother of an IVF baby – so that I could have a mentor and friend to share IVF experiences with. We met over lunch at Agnes’ place and since then, both girls have warmly offered to bring me homemade cupcakes and their cheerful company to save me from boredom while I’m marooned at home on mandated bedrest next week. Their visit would help take my mind off IVF for awhile – to keep me mentally sane – while I await news of the success (or failure… *gulp*) of the procedure.

6. Rude B*st*rds

So far, all the reactions to our revelation have been generally positive. Until I decided to let a senior male colleague in on the news. Initially, I had no intention to provide him with details, but thought that it would be easier to explain my 14-day absence from the office at the end of this month, if I revealed the reason for it.

And he replied: “I guessed as much it’s a pregnancy thing. Can’t you do it the normal way?”

How inappropriate. Insensitive. Ignorant. And downright rude. No, obviously we can’t conceive normally, can we now? Idiot.

Reactions like this, I can do without.

So if you are ever given the opportunity to respond to news of IVF, the rule of thumb is (at least, according to us) that it’s okay to ask – after all, the couple already trusts you enough to tell you. Questions are most welcomed. All we ask for is a dash of E.Q, a handful of tact and some support.

Questions, anyone?


Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

February 14th, 2013 at 11:54 am    

Hi angrybird,

Thanks for leaving a note.

Yes, I qualified for the government’s co-funding scheme for Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) treatment. We made a conscious choice to have our IVF treatment done at a public hospital so that we could take advantage of the grants.

The subsidies certainly went towards helping us manage the cost of IVF treatment. We would probably still have gone for IVF even without the grants but we might have had to delay the treatment if we had needed the time to save a larger amount of money to finance the treatment.

You can find out more about the co-funding scheme at: http://www.heybaby.sg/havingchildren/art.html

Hope that helps!


February 13th, 2013 at 3:21 pm    

Hi Yi Lin
Did you qualify for the government subsidy?

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

August 26th, 2010 at 9:12 am    

Aw, thanks you both for being my cheerleaders. Hmmm… no category in particular, actually! Which really doesn’t matter 🙂

Yeah, the IVF is always at the top of my mind, altho I try not to think about it all the time. Can’t be helped tho when you’re looking at needles every day. And this is my 1st (and hopefully the 1st successful one, with more to come) cycle. My heart goes out to those couples whose 1st didn’t work out, and are on their 2nd or 3rd one already. Bravo.


August 25th, 2010 at 9:47 am    

I guess IVF is never a psychologically and emotionally easy process for couples going through it. It stems from a lack of awareness amongst the general public.

Anyway, from a stranger here, I am giving you my blessings in your journey towards parenthood. (so what category would stranger be in?)

Celine Yeo

August 23rd, 2010 at 12:34 pm    

Awww…which category do I come under? I’m rooting for you all the way 🙂

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