If you are on message boards, or you are at a support group, or just in casual conversation with someone who is in the know about your infertility, you will inevitably be asked this question: "How long have you been trying?" It can feel like a competition (I've been trying for xx long years so I have a right to complain), or a validation of success (They got pregnant with twins after 5 years of trying, they really deserved it).
I have my own feelings about this question, because the number of years I have been trying does not actually accurately present my circumstance. You sit in a support group circle and say you've been trying for 1 year and suddenly you feel like maybe you are a whiner next to all these women who have been trying for 2, 3, 4 and more years. But, everyone's circumstance is different. You can be trying for 6 months and have it be a horrible, urgent experience because your husband was diagnosed with cancer and you have to beat the clock before radiation. You can be trying for 4 years, but be counting a year of "not-not trying" and then a couple years of stretching out treatments because you're still in your mid-twenties and feel like you have the time to take it slowly. You could be trying for 3 years and have started treatment at 6 months but then could only afford a treatment opportunity once every year. There are lots of different scenarios for lots of different experiences. I don't think the number of years you have been trying really matters.
Of course, this could be because I am a 1-year tryer, and sometimes feel sensitive that my "number" doesn't give the full story on my experience. Usually people count the requisite year of trying on their own. I didn't have to do that, because we already knew from Bryce trying on his own pre-me that we were facing significant male factor. There was no need to waste time trying on our own because we already knew that wasn't likely to work out well for us. So, we started with a consultation last September and our first Clomid IUI cycle in November (because call me crazy, I wanted to wait to do a cycle until we were actually married. We had our wedding October 31st and I started meds November 2.). We ran through cycles pretty quickly, not taking any time off until after my second injectible IUI cycle in April. After we got the no-go on that cycle in early May, I scheduled some tests and then we took a few months off before starting IVF in August. Our situation is unique but probably not too terribly rare--jumping right into treatment because of a known issue only to have more issues crop up. I am SO glad that we did not have to spend time trying on our own, because between the male factor and the PCOS our chances of conceiving on our own are low, low, LOW. So, we've condensed a whole lot of trying time into one jam-packed year (so far).
It's depressing when we really sit down to really think about it--although we started out right away with wasting no time and getting right into treatment cycles, it means that we've robbed ourselves of a few things. We didn't get the exciting time period of charting and having mystical, meaningful "babymaking" sex. (For those of you who have done this and had it not work out, I'm sure it stops being mystical and starts being a chore and takes the wonder out of the process after a while, but it would have been nice to have the option.) I pretty much never get to pee on a stick--people in labs and clinics know I'm not pregnant before I do. Because of the medications I am strongly urged to NOT pee on a stick because the HCG trigger shot I have to take before procedures can mimic a positive pregnancy test, and because the blood test is so much more reliable. And, most importantly, we have spent our entire first year of marriage, our newlywed year, the year of romance and new bliss, all on this process. Our money goes into this process. Our emotions go into this process. Our time certainly goes into this process. It is draining. It is depressing. But, it will all be worth it if we can just get all the stars to converge and align and go from tired, strung-out-on-medications, cranky, weepy, discouraged, financially imprisoned, overscheduled newlyweds to tired, strung-out-on-no-sleep, weepy, financially imprisoned, overscheduled, but completely blissed-out new parents.