My name is Natalia Bielczyk. I have a passion for writing! In daily life I am a Founder, Director & Chairperson @ Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling, and an Owner @ Welcome Solutions. I am also just completing my PhD thesis within the Donders Graduate School, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

About the effects of living in a nice country

I was hesitating if to write this post because it concerns my very private matters. However, in daily life I am surrounded by young mums who talk next to me about their kids pooping, about the bleeding at delivery and all the other disgusting and private topics which I am not particularly happy to listen about. So I thought to myself: why cannot I talk about my private matters just once? So, I started to talk about what I am just going through, in an open way.

So… Seven years ago, I entered an in-vitro clinic in Warsaw. The reasons were practical; I needed to get some expensive blood tests, and they offered to do this for me as an exchange for being a donor of egg cells. A deal like any other. What was worrying though, was what they told me afterwards. Namely, even though I got quite some hormonal stimulation in order to grow the cells, only 4 eggs fully developed in the process, and for worse, they were quite deformed. This was a bad predictor for the future, and the doctor threatened me that I should probably get pregnant as soon as I can so that I don’t lose it all. I was 23, no studies finished just yet, no profession, no spare money and no partner, so I decided to hold on, and to risk doing nothing about this.

And now, in 2016, I decided to rerun the procedure of freezing egg cells, just for my own benefit. I think problems should be prevented rather than solved, so instead of waiting for the black thoughts to come, I decided to go freeze my egg cells - and then proceed to partying and meeting new people afterwards. In the procedure, I had to go through more-or-less same steps as seven years ago: blood tests, hormonal stimulation, USG, and finally the surgery under a full anaesthesia. But even though the steps were the same, it all came out differently to me. Namely, I no longer had any issues with growing cells. Even better; I grew 20 (yes, twenty) healthy cells in one cycle whereas, as I had been informed before, the expectancy was something between 6 and 18. The doctors were truly confused; they knew about my previous records, but could not really explain what had happened to my body in the meantime. But I think I know why this is the case. Namely, my lifestyle, including too many activities per day, poor amounts of sleep, a tendency to drink coffee, coke and some booze, did not change since seven years ago. Only one thing substantially changed.

One of the main reasons for infertility is the persistent, high stress level. Do you recall all these couples trying to conceive a baby who do not succeed for years and years, keep the schedule and try, and try, and try, and then, one day they go on vacation to Bali, and all of a sudden hit the target? I just reduced the baseline stress by moving to a country with much higher comfort of living, and found myself a stable income outside academia. This was more than enough to come back to form, and even get a huge rebound, apparently. 

Teaching

All these exams