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14-year infertility struggle becomes a unique new musical in Vancouver

06/03/2015 09:58 EDT | Updated 06/03/2016 05:59 EDT
Scheduled sex might sound fun, but when you struggle for 14 years to get pregnant those schedules, IVF bills, and mounting pressure to conceive can really put a damper on time in the bedroom.

But for Gil and Sarah Jaysmith, lying in bed one night reflecting on their struggle to get pregnant, infertility turned into inspiration...in the shape of a new musical.

One Plus One: A Ticking Clock of a Musical delves into the perspectives of a wannabe mother and father, detailing the emotional costs of the whole process of trying and struggling to get pregnant.

"There's this saying in musicals that when emotions are too strong for speech, you start singing," said Gil Jaysmith.

"It was very difficult for me," added his wife, Sarah. "To the point where when family and friends got pregnant they weren't sure how to tell me because they knew I would be happy for them but it was so difficult.

"It seemed it should be easy and natural. And it wasn't."

Hard journey, happy ending

The Jaysmiths say they tried for a couple years to get pregnant before starting to see a specialist and attempt various treatments.

Eventually they tried in-vitro fertilization and now have a baby boy, Galon. He was born six weeks early at only three pounds and 10 ounces, but is now doing well.

While the couple feel fortunate, they don't want their happy ending to take away from the real struggle they based their play on.

"I'm very happy that both the show is being done and that we've got Galon, but I wouldn't want it to subtract from the credibility of our feelings during the process [of trying to get pregnant]," said Gil Jaysmith.

"You're definitely not guaranteed a happy ending and we don't at all want to imply that you are," added Sarah Jaysmith.

They acknowledge IVF is an expensive option for couples, and even if people can afford it, it still doesn't guarantee a pregnancy, with only about a 40 per cent success rate.

"It makes you feel even worse if it doesn't work to an extent, because you've had the two weeks of thinking, well I had an embryo in me, and then it got washed away by my body. Great. Thanks body," said Gil Jaysmith.

Advice for couples

The couple hope their show will give people an opportunity to talk about a subject that so many keep to themselves and offered their advice for other couples struggling to conceive.

"Try to tell people about how you feel and just how immensely stressful it is," said Gil Jaysmith. "We were not as open as we could have been, particularly early on.

"If you don't talk to your friends about it then you will have absolutely no one, and you may not be able to predict how they can help you. You need emotional support."

Sarah Jaysmith adds its important to continue talking to your partner and also to not let the struggle take over your life or stop you from doing the things you want to do.

"You can spend years not going on vacation, not going in a hot tub, not having a drink ... and then 15 years later you might never have done these things you want to do."

One Plus One: A Ticking Clock of a Musical opens on June 3 and runs until June 13 at the Revue Stage on Granville Island in Vancouver.

To hear the full interview with Gil and Sarah Jaysmith, listen to the audio clip labelled Musical about infertility.

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