My wife was supposed to be starting her first round of IFV hormone injections this week. For the uninitiated, these “turn off” her ovaries, so they stop releasing eggs and do some rather complex hormonal stuff which I won’t go in to here (because I don’t understand it). Once that round of drugs has happened, they then bang her full of a different set of hormones, which essentially supercharge her ovaries and make them throw out eggs like there’s no tomorrow. They harvest these (not sure how, would one of my female IVF readers care to enlighten me? Or is it better to remain ignorant?), fertilise them (Aha! This is where I come in!) and shove one or two back inside her. Babies are thus produced.

With me so far?

Right, because this is where it gets weird. Remember that bit where I said they’re going to turn her ovaries off? Using hormones?

Basically, for a month, I get to live with a wife having a mini menopause. In her thirties. A “try before you buy”, if you will. A glimpse into the life of the Lost Astronomer in twenty years’ time. Holy hell, if the dim prospect of being a father wasn’t enough, this is terrifying.

We were supposed to be starting this process a couple of days ago, but due to the Christmas break the Follytown GP wasn’t able to process her last blood tests in time, and due to the non-negotiable schedule of Mrs Astronomer’s uterus we wouldn’t have got the drugs in time to start the course this month. So, on the upside, my sanity is preserved for another month. This does, however, come with several downsides – any potential pregnancy is pushed another month to the right, obviously. We’ve just spent the better part of a fortnight or whatever having pointless protected sex, because google “what happens if you have unprotected sex during the month of your hormone treatment” and you get lots of pages of “Woman gives birth to Octuplets”. I’m not on a salary to support octuplets, and also I like sleep and sanity and I think Mrs Astronomer would also like some form of womb left when she’s done. Now that we’re not doing hormones this month, condoms can get stuffed back in the sock drawer where they belong. Another problem of waiting another month – quite a damn large problem, in fact – is that the potential delivery date clashes almost exactly with my sister in law’s wedding at the end of the year, at which my wife is matron of honour. Additionally, said wedding is in Wales, nowhere near where we live, and therefore rather throws any childbirth action plan into disarray. Rushing to the nearest maternity ward doesn’t sound like fun, but when you have to google where the hell it is first, I’m guessing it adds a whole other layer of complexity to the issue (“Darling, slight problem – do you have 3G?”). Now, I’m hoping that any potential offspring of mine will be a chip off the ol’ block and run two weeks overdue like I did, but that may be asking a little much. Also, Mrs Astronomer will probably hurt me if I wish for a late delivery when we don’t even have a baby on the way yet.

On the plus side, things are a little less stressful than they have been in recent months because at least things are moving in the right direction. Okay, there’s only a 40% chance of success (which is actually pretty damn high, when compared to natural conception on a month by month basis) but at least things are moving in the right direction. So, we have this month’s period looming again, but hopefully it should be easier this time around the buoy – we know that she’s not pregnant this month. If she is, I officially give up trying to understand biology, and will stick to stellar nucleosynthesis and exoplanets (google ‘em, they’re awesome). On the plus side, once she starts her period this month, we should know exactly what date we can start the hormones, and we can start to plan our lives.

This also gives me plenty of time to figure out how and where, exactly, I’m going to run for cover when the mini menopause strikes.