Tag: male factor infertility

NHS Funded IVF

NHS Funded IVF

There has been a lot of press recently regarding whether or not the NHS should fund IVF. 

Many CCGs have cut all funding and all but 3 of those that do provide IVF do not provide the recommended 3 cycles.

Funded IVF has become dependant on postcode. The ability to access IVF is now wealth based, not need based.

Ive been following articles regarding this subject on facebook. Reading the comments has either made my blood boil or made me weep…

‘Infertility isnt life threatening’. No, but the side effects (depression being a big one) are.

‘Infertility isnt an illness.’ Yes it is. Something doesnt work that should meaning a baby cannot be made the traditional way.

‘Having a child is a choice’. Nope. I NEEDED to be a Mummy. I NEEDED a biological child.

‘IVF shouldnt be funded as fostering/adoption is a better alternative.’ No. Simply not true. As above, for some, if not most, having a biological child isnt just a want, its a need.

‘If you cant afford IVF you shouldnt have children. Plain and simple’. By that logic there should be no child benefit, no child/working tax credits. If you lose your job your child should be taken away and given to a family who can afford them. In fact, unless you earn £X amount you shouldnt be allowed to concieve.

The majority of these arguments have been argued by couples able to concieve by the way.

Many of the arguments against funding revolve around it not being a medical need…tummy tucks, boob jobs, lipo, all provided on the NHS due to the mental health impact of not having these surgeries on a patient.

How is IVF different? A couple are not awarded funding willy nilly. There are so many hoops. Length of time trying, length of time living together, years of investigations, years of other treatments, smoker status, BMI. Its not an easy option. 

I totally agree that once you have a living child, the funding stops. However if that child is from a previous relationship i do think 1 cycle of IVF should be funded. At the moment, people are being punished for having step children, which doesnt allay the NEED for a biological child.

The other problem people have is, IVF doesnt guarantee a couple a child. Hate to break this to you, but nor does the tradtional method. Otherwise every time a couple had unprotected sex during ovulation, a woman would be pregnant.

There does need to be a national standard on how much a CCG is charged per cycle of IVF. That would help enormously as some areas are charged 3 times more than others. However, that issue should affect the patient. Ever.

The widespread cutting of funding means thousands of couples are left without any options. I was lucky. I was awarded 2 cycles. Used 1 and then borrowed money to go abroad, the rest of my IVF was funded by inheritance. I opted out of my second cycle to access better treatment abroad. That was my choice. Choice being the key word. No funding means no choice. 

Alcoholics, smokers and over eaters all have a choice. And whichever choice they make, the NHS is there to help. So why are infertile couples any different? 

They arent. 

Love, Little Miss PMA xxx

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#IVFis40

#IVFis40

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

#hiddenfaces (National Fertility Awareness Week)

This week is National Fertility Awareness Week. I really wanted to do something to mark the occassion, but im so tired.

Infertility is exhausting, we’ve been fighting it for 7.5yrs now, and it is a fight. A fight to get pregnant, a fight to appear OK when everyone around you is pregnant, a fight to raise awareness, a fight not to scream at people when they ask when youll be having kids.

Its exhausting, all of it.

The hardest bit, apart from constantly watching EVERYONE get pregnant is listening to the unsolicited advice.

Relax itll happen (no, it wont)

I know someone who had IVF and then got pregnant naturally (right, and?) 

Itll happen at the right time (its been 7.5 years, when is the right time??) 

I know someone who had IVF and it worked first time (screw you and them)

I know someone who tried for X amount of time, theyve got 2 kids now (whooptido for them)

Enjoy this time, it all changes when you have kids (no shit Sherlock but ive had 7 years to prepare)

You want kids? Borrow mine, youll soon change your mind (firstly, no i wont and secondly, do you have any idea how lucky you are???) 

We are taught from a young age that pregnancy can happen anytime, the first time you have sex even, we must protect ourselves at all costs, blah blah blah.

Not once was i told it might NOT happen at all. That i might need science to intervene, that i may have to go through the most intrusive of procedures just to have a chance. Nope, wasnt warned about that in school.

1 in 6 of us are infertile. 1 in 6. That’s huge. Yet its taboo.

When it is talked about, its always focussed on people in their late 30’s, early 40’s.

Well, we started trying at 25, so where’s my representation? 

The media seems to focus on the career driven woman who left it too late, or the against the odds IVF story. But its happening to the unmentioned, the women AND men that no one talks about. We live it everyday, and its hard and it hurts.

IVF isnt a miracle cure. Ive done 9 cycles now, 9. Yes ive been pregnant 3 times but im yet to birth a living child. Ive spent upwards of £20k on treatment, thats nearly 3 years of university fees, a house deposit, all to try and create a baby. 66% of the time IVF failed me, but on average, it fails 75% of the time.

Its not just the monatary cost, its the physical and emotional toil it takes on a couple. The up’s and down’s are severe. Hope can be dashed in a phonecall, marriages can be ruined, friendships lost. There is no end to the ripple effect that infertility causes.

Mr Me and I are affected by male infertility. Something thats even more of a taboo. We have, and contine to be, open about our issues. However, the focus is always on women. The focus of medical science was, in the past, on the woman. But years of research have shown that more and more men are suffering infertility. This is a bigger taboo. Men are portrayed as the tough, closed, resiliant cave man of days gone by. Infertility strips them of that for a time and the support just isnt there. It needs to change.

Infertility sucks, Ive often talked about how its made me feel on this blog, and even though im pregnant (after IVF cycle 9) i still feel like im only half a woman, i fear im not good enough, that im unable to do what essentially a woman was put on this earth to do. Have a baby and procreate.

Love, Little Miss PMA xxx

Not long now…

Not long now…

Im still really happy and positive, which i am loving. Ive redudced my antidepressants as i was getting a false high. I felt like i was about 6 foot off the floor, which was amazing after months of feeling like i had the weight of the world on my shoulders, but it was most definitely a drug induced high.

I feel good, even though ive redudced, the high is gone but im still very positive which is the main thing. I hope to cut them out completely soon but have to put myself and my mental health first, even over the potential pregnancy. Im pretty pleased with myself though, as a few weeks ago, i never thought I’d be strong enough to reduce them.

Millie’s anniversary was last weekend. It passed peacefully. We were busy with family so didnt think much about it to be honest, but when i did, it made me sad. I quickly moved on though as we have so much to look forward to. Although we didnt mark the occasion, like we did with Milo, i feel OK with that. Ive spent a lot of the last 12 months being incredibly low and sad and i didnt want another day like that, which if we had done something, it would have been. I dont feel bad about this, i would have before, as its not what is expected of a bereaved parent, but ive forgiven myself for my lack of feeling towards the babies. As cold as that sounds.

Had a bit of a panic this week. AF arrived Thursday afternoon, not in the evening as normal. Which sent me into a ‘is this cycle day 1 panic’. My gut told me, no it wasnt, friday would be CD 1, and if ANY ONE else had come to me with that scenario, id have told them with certainty that friday was cycle day 1. When its your own cycle though, logic appears to go out of the window, and for the life of me i wasnt sure. I asked around on babycentre, but UK clinics have all different rules. Eventually i gave in and Whatsapped Umit. Within 2 hours i had my answer, should have trusted my gut. Just seeing his name flash up instantly relaxed me. They really are the best clinic in the world!! This saved lots of bother as i didnt have to rebook my scan or blood tests.

Speaking of the pre-testing….what a nightmare this has been to sort. Last time my GP did the ‘easy’ bloods and i just had to arrange AMH and the Scan, which was easy, i contacted a private clinic, went in, paid, had everything done. This year, no such luck! I needed a GP referral for bloods….so had to make use of an intermediary company to get that sorted. Booked a scan at a baby scanning place (cheaper but not as good, see below) and booked a third place for the scratch. It sounds like a lot of hardwork but a babycentre/facebook friend basically found the scan and bloods for me….she was amazing….much love A. Its never been so hard to give my money away, i tell you!! 

Today has been a busy one, but not once have i felt anxious or overwhelmed which is a big thing for me. The idea of going to 2 hospitals (bloods and counselling), doing a tesco shop, changing gas and electricty suppliers for me and my Mum, changing details on a gift, calling and emailing my neurologist and blogging, all in one day, would have been enough for me to just stay in bed, but today, it was a breeze!!! Mini mexican wave in honor of me 👐🏻👐🏻👐🏻👐🏻👐🏻

So the IVF update…

32 days until we fly

My results from the greek hidden infections tests were clear (whoop). I was initally disappointed as i wanted the antibiotics in case the infection that killed Millie was still lingering. Hubby and i talked it out and we both feel that if anyone could find this infection, it would have been Serum, since they didnt, i must be clean.

Hubby is well underway with his antibiotics and vitamins, in an effort to hopefully boost the number of viable sperm, so Team Miracle have more to play with. However, this is just an extra, as opposed to a need, as we have always had enough sperm for fertilisation in the past.

Had a scan on Saturday at Babybond. Only cost £100 but wasnt as good as a fertility scan as she made no attempt to count my follicles, simply saying there were too many to count (because i have polycystic ovaries). Luckily i had the sense to ask and its a good job i did because TM came back to me and asked exactly that. So perhaps in the future ill avoid such a place for a pre IVF scan. Everything is good to go though.

Had my bloods done this morning. Was very disappointed i couldnt park at the hospital. Given its private i thought itd have a decent car park, i was wrong, it was chocka so i parked a couple of streets away. I wont get any results until all of them are back, so that will be next week sometime.

Im still on reduced caffeine and alcohol, although if i fancy a real coffee or a glass of wine, im having one. Ive abstained for months before in the past and still have no baby to show for it, so why punish myself unnecessarily?! The day i start stims, will be the day i go teetotal.

As im eating better than i ever have before a cycle, im not even thinking about fertility super foods, just carrying on with my balanced diet, im going for the relaxed approach, sod it!

Love, Little Miss PMA xxx