How DBS supported me through my 4-round fertility battle

“A swirl of emotions enveloped me, as I looked at the results from my bloodwork indicating I was not pregnant. But one particular thought rang louder in my mind than the rest.

“Was it my fault? Was it because I missed a step and tripped, right after my intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure?”

Rationally, I knew these events were unrelated. Emotionally… well, that was a whole other matter.

That was the first time my husband and I tried a fertility treatment after being unable to conceive for three years.

We kept our heads up and continued the cycle to try again – every day, my husband would inject me with various concoctions of hormones, to increase our chances of producing “good eggs”.

At the beginning of each cycle, we’d have to drop everything for a prompt visit to the doctor for medication, followed by a scan five days later to assess my body’s response. Then it was scans every three days till we hit the elusive "right" time for fertilisation.

And then, we’d wait…

Only to go on to receive two more negative results.

It’s hard to really articulate the rollercoaster of emotions that come with the fertility journey.

Apart from the 6kg I gained from the hormone concoctions, and accompanying mood swings, each negative pregnancy result triggered bouts of self-blame – simply because the doctors, nurses and my husband had done their jobs in making sure that all the conditions were medically optimal.

After four months, and three rounds of IUI, we finally decided to try In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

We were thankfully successful on our first try. But while we were extremely elated, the reminders of past failed attempts kept us “cautiously optimistic” throughout my entire pregnancy. I didn’t tell many people or buy any baby clothes or furniture until late in the second trimester, when I began showing, and all test results showed our baby was healthy.

On that same day we received the test results, I returned home and finally cleared out the drawers filled with boxes of hormone injections in our spare room, to make space for baby supplies.

On 18 January 2023, we welcomed our healthy baby boy, Dylan!

Looking back, as much as my husband and family were my biggest cheerleaders and support system, so were my manager and teammates in the office. They completely trusted me to continue to deliver on my work despite the impromptu half days off work I took for the countless doctors’ appointments.

My manager could even tell which stage I was in the fertility process, and she’d check in to ask how I was when she noticed me coming in to the office regularly. During my pregnancy, she encouraged me to only come in when necessary (we have a 60/40 work from office/work from home arrangement). We were also able to use the SGD 5,000 maternity benefit from DBS to defray delivery costs.

With her support, I was able to fully utilise the company’s six-month work from home option for new parents after my maternity leave was over, allowing me to better transition into life as a working mother, and alleviate the stress of commuting to the office and rushing to drop and pick Dylan up from his grandparents’ places.

After that, I was allowed to use my additional childcare leave days to do three-day work weeks before returning full time - resulting in a seamless transition back to work.”

Sarah Toh, Group Strategic Marketing and Communications