K-POP From hormone injections at a K-pop concert to a...

From hormone injections at a K-pop concert to a ‘spread of endo’, freezing my eggs has been a journey | Diana Nguyen

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My fertility journey has been with me since I held my first little sister in my arms. I am a proud aunty to two little ones, my sunshines, and a godmother to three kids. In my 2002 high school yearbook I wrote that in 10 years’ time I wanted “to be married and having lots of kids. 10 sounds good enough. He he he.” Direct quote. I was obsessed with becoming a mother.

After a relationship ended in early 2019, I decided to think seriously about freezing my eggs. I was 34 years old. I went to a fertility clinic and found out my egg levels were “above average”.

My intention was to use the ticket sales from my upcoming comedy show to freeze my eggs the following May as a birthday present to myself. Then, in March 2020, the world shut down.

Diana Nguyen during the process of freezing her eggs after a breakdown in her relationship
‘I was scared to admit that I was here because I was single at 38 and my mum had been asking for 10 years, “Diana, where are the grandchildren?”’

I was devastated. I thought 2020 was going to be my year. I was going to meet Keanu Reeves. Instead, I was living paycheque to jobkeeper.

Jump to July 2023. After another relationship ended, I booked a ticket to Madrid. Now 38, I walked along the Camino de Santiago – a 1,000-year-old pilgrim walk – in 40C heat. With blisters on my feet, wiping away tears, I wrote in my journal: “I will freeze my eggs.”

I arrived back in Melbourne in September and was referred to a doctor recommended by a friend who had gone through 11 cycles of IVF. I was now chatting to many women in their 30s about the egg-freezing process, the hormones and how relieved everyone was to freeze them. I also heard stories of women’s grief from those who wanted to have families or extend their families and could not.

My GP sent a referral to an IVF doctor and two weeks later I was in his office. I was nervous. I was scared to admit that I was here because I was single at 38 and my mum had been asking for 10 years, “Diana, where are the grandchildren?”

My egg levels were now below average; it took just five years for them to drop. He sent me off for a specialist ultrasound and the technician with the wand said, “You have a spread of endo.”

A what?

“Endometriosis.”

Oh no.

“Like a spread of Vegemite” on my fertility organs. Direct quote. I sobbed in his office. It felt like I had failed in my love life and now my uterus was failing me.

I was devastated. I wanted this step to be easier. On the sunny side, my procedure was now covered by Medicare. Whee!

My next period cycle was in two weeks. Fourteen days later I was self-injecting hormones. The first morning at 7am, my housemates held my jumper up in the kitchen. Despite their encouragement, every time I was about to inject I would stop short. That morning took 4.45 minutes, but the next weeks dropped down to two minutes.

Diana Nguyen with her niece
‘I am a proud aunty to two little ones, my sunshines, and a godmother to three kids’

I am grateful for the support I had. My trip with the hormones was fine. No adverse feelings. No downpour of emotions. Business as usual. My follicle ultrasound revealed I had only seven follicles opened. My dose was increased and by the 10th day my follicles were at 16 follicles. Yes! This means 16 eggs could drop into each bag and I could have 16 eggs retrieved.

Here comes the fun times: the trigger injection. You get a date and a time to inject this hormone – it doesn’t matter where you are. Mine was at 7.40pm on a Saturday night; I was at a K-pop concert in the VIP section. I was going to run across the stadium to the toilets, but my friend said, “Just do it here, with the music.”

And I did. At exactly 7.40pm, I pulled out the syringe from my cooler bag (yes, I took a cooler bag to Marvel Stadium) and pulled the trigger.

Within two hours, I felt the full effect. My stomach was rock solid and heavy. I felt pregnant. I loved the experience and was circling my hand around my stomach. My egg-scooping procedure was booked for Monday morning at 6.30am.

I was lying down on the operating table. My doctor reassured me everything was going to be OK, but I couldn’t help but be present with the situation. Here I was, about to scoop my eggs. My future babies, frozen. Let it go.

The anaesthetist could see I was overwhelmed. She grabbed my hand and gently said as the rush of the drugs slowly put me to sleep: “Go to your happiest place.”

And there I was, back in Spain, walking the trail. The sun shining on my face. The sound of steps on the gravel and sunflowers beaming at me. Sunny side up!

  • Diana Nguyen is a comedian, writer and creative entrepreneur. Her new 2024 show Sunny Side Up is on tour around Australia. @realdiananguyen

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