So this year marks 40 years since the 1st IVF baby was born.
In honour of National Fertility Awareness week, i wanted to share some of my experiences/memories.
Ive done a whopping 9 cycles. 3 of those resulted in no embryo transfer. Of the other 6, 3 worked. Im INCREDIBLY lucky to have such good numbers. Sadly, only 1 pregnancy made it to term. The other 2 were lost at 21 weeks.
I remember after being referred for IVF i cried. I honestly thought we’d make a baby the normal way (or as i now say, traditional way). We had no idea there was a problem at the time of referral either.
Then at our 1st meeting at the clinic we are told i have polycystic ovaries (but not the syndrome) and he has poor sperm in terms of count, morphology and mobility. We have 0.01% chance of making a baby tradtionally.
Then the wait to cycle. I think the waiting was one of the worst things for me. Youve got your head round the idea and then you have to wait. Wait your turn. Get knocked back due to clinic being full/bank holidays/clinic closing for a clean/incubators not working/hormones inbalanced/uterine lining too thin…all of those were actual reasons i couldnt start a cycle or why i couldnt have an embryo transferred.
The 1st time i was naive. I got 23 eggs, the most that day. But only 13 fertilised. Youre not warned the numbers drop so fast. I got ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome but didnt tell the clinic in case they cancelled my cycle. I was really quite poorly but i was also desperate. Itd been 2.5yrs of trying by then. By transfer day i had 3 embryos left and a touch of OHSS. The transfer went ahead. 10 days later my period started.
Little did i know itd take another 6 years and 8 cycles before i brought a baby home.
I started out shy, taking my knickers off for a scan, WHILST on my period, was mortifying! By the end, id take my knickers off as easy as most people take off a pair of sunglasses when entering a room.
I knew all the acronyms, i was a huge contributer to online communities, i read all the research, ate brazil nuts, pineapple core, avocado, whatever the lastest study revealed.
I lived, breathed and loved IVF. Im still an advocate for talking about infertility, and now, sadly, terminations for medical reasons and late miscarriage.
I went abroad, to Cyprus, for my final 4 cycles of IVF. I met a wonderful team at my chosen clinic. They blessed me with 2 pregnancies including the one who made it to term. They are like family, and i like to think im paying for thier kids to go to uni!! Haha!
They were the best of times but also the worst of times
Even now, with my miracle rainbow baby sleeping upstairs, im still jealous of a pregnancy bump.
I have 5 frozen embryos, im exceptionally lucky. But im not sure i can do anymore IVF. Its emotionally draining, its a lifestyle not just a treatment. Its scary and hard and consumes your very being.
Im so grateful for IVF. I am truly lucky to live in an age where treatments get better every year. Still, i wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy.
Love, Little Miss PMA xxx