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I had IVF with ICSI during the summer of this year, and i would like to share my experience.
I already have a child from a previous relationship, but my partner has fertility issues, which means that the only hope of him having a child is through IVF.
He had operations as a child, which seriously affected his sperm, so there is no other option than to have IVF.
We have been together for 5 years, and my partner makes a brilliant step father to my child.
A couple of years ago we went to our GP for various tests to see why we couldnt conceive. This resulted in my partner being told his only hope of having a child was via IVF.
My tests came back perfectly fine, as i had expected them to because I already have a child and i am in my mid 20's.
We contacted an IVF clinic in Manchester called Care, who were excellent.
What makes this story special is that i enquired about egg sharing, which basically means that i share my eggs with a woman who has fertility problems, and cannot use her own eggs.
After a long time, i decided that i knew this option was the best, as i knew the pain of infertility, and i wanted to help another person have a family.
In order to egg share, you need to have blood tests which are LH and FSH. This lets the clinic know how you are likely to respond to the fertility medication.
Mine were good results, so i was allowed to egg share.
I got matched with a lady, who i do not know, and then i was told to start taking drugs in the form of injection every day.
I was constantly monitored via scans, just so they could keep a close eye on me in case i over responded.
On the day of egg collection, i got 17 eggs. The doctor said that the average is between 8 and 12, so obviously i had done very well.
I kept 8 eggs and gave the other woman 9 of my eggs.
Because my partners sperm had very bad issues, we had to have ICSI. This is where they inject a sperm into an egg, meaning that the sperm do not have to swim, as they break the tail.
In normal IVF the sperm is just mixed with the eggs, and the sperm penetrate the egg.
We had 5 perfect embryos from the 8 that we had.
3 days later i had 2 embryos put back in my womb.
Unfortunetly this cycle didnt work for me, but when i had my review the consultant said he was very shocked that it did not work because we had perfect embryos.
I asked if the woman who had half of my eggs was successful, and yes she was. She is now pregnant with the help of my eggs. I wish her every success.
In a funny way, i would like the child to get into contact with me when they turn 18, just to see what a nice life they have.
Obviously the child was wanted so much by the other couple.
We will be having another cycle again, and will be egg sharing again after our wedding next year.
Our consultant said that on our next cycle we should let the embryos develop in the lab until day 5, that way they can weed out the poorer embryos, and put back the one that has survived.
I hope this post has helped someone.
My wife and I went through IVF, which as you can see from my profile photo, has resulted in our son, Alex, who is now twelve years old.
There are other reviews on here which go into the lottery of obtaining IVF and the cost. As we went through this a while ago, I cannot comment on the current situation. It is expensive to go private, but as I was told, it is nothing compared to what the child will cost you in the years to come!
I have read on the site are the stories of how gruelling/distressing it can be to go through for both the woman and the man and I respect their views, what I would like to put forward here is our story.
We had been trying for a family for several years, with no success. After tests, we were told that there was actually nothing 'wrong' with either of us that would stop my wife, Karen, conceiving, but a couple of factors made it difficult, one with the lining of her womb and one with my sperm. The only option was to try IVF.
At this time, we lived in Orpington in Kent, and were able to have our treatment partly subsidised, so our first attempt, in 1996, was £1000.
Karen injected herself with the drugs to stop her cycle and then restart it to produce the eggs necessary, by injecting herself in the leg each day. so we were not sure what would happen at the end. We were lucky as Karen did not have huge mood swings and we were able to carry on with our lives in a more or less normal way.
For the harvest of eggs, we went to Chelsfield Hospital, and Karen was put under anaesthetic during the procedure. They were able to harvest 17 eggs, which was far too many, as it turned out that Karen had been prescribed too much drugs.
While Karen was recovering from the harvest, I took the eggs (in test-tubes, in a special case) by train to the London Bridge Clinic, where I had to do my bit. I handed the eggs to a nurse and waited my turn. After a few minutes, I was shown to a room, told to wash my hands and given a small container. There was a choice of magizines to help get me in the mood and a little later, I handed the container back to the nurse.
Out of the 17 eggs, they managed to fertilise 14 , but due to the quantity of eggs, the quality turned out to be lower than it should have been, so we were told that they would choose the best for implanting.
Three were later implanted into Karen, at the London Bridge Clinic, and the agonising wait began. This treatment was unsuccessful and when we found out, we were naturally disappointed, but still hopeful that we would have a baby at some time.
We waited a few months before trying the second cycle of treatment. As we had got so many eggs before, the drugs were scaled down accordingly. Again, we did not have the mood swings, it was all quite normal again - I guess we were lucky. We were actually aiming to move house at the time.
This time, 7 eggs were harvested, which I took to Chelsfield Hospital for my part. The embryologist was a young female doctor, who seemed more embarrassed than me for what I was there to do, but I was shown to a room (which I was advised didn't have a lock on the door!)
End result was that 4 eggs were fertilised and 3 were grade A. Two were implanted into Karen. On the day that we had to move out of our house, Karen took the test and we found to our delight that it was positive.
After 4 weeks, we had our first scan. It showed a tiny little pulse of light, which we were told was the heartbeat. Now in 2010, we have a lovely 12 year old boy, who has indeed cost us far more than the IVF.
Looking back, we both agree that what helped get us through was that we did not keep it secret from friends and family, we were open and frank about everything and anything. We also tried to keep as much humour about the situation as we could.
A couple of items still stick in my mind -
When I told my mum the number of eggs that had been fertilised in the first cycle, she said, "Well done, son" - as though I had much to do with it!
As I had to take time off work for 'my part', when I did get to work, they gave me a sling, in case I had worn my arm out!
I know it can be a trying, difficult time for couples and I am not trying to say that it isn't. I am just putting forward mine and my wife's experience, which was far from the daunting experience that we were expecting - perhaps we were lucky.
Best wishes to anyone who is going through the treatment, or is thinking about it.
I'm not going to pull any punches here - anyone squeamish about "those" bits of the human anatomy and their functioning probably should be reading elsewhere, so I make no apology for the more graphic areas I have to touch on (as it were!)
Ok - it's cards on the table time - I am officially a Jaffa (seedless - get it?) so I have firsthand experience of the whole IVF process, from our initial concerns, the many and varied medical enquiries, visits and consultations , through to the eventual end of the process, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to the start.....
A bit about me... I am now 45, but embarked on the whole IVF process aged 39, having been married for 4 years at that point. (I would like to point out we are still together in case I gave the impression we aren't).
We had never used any contraception, as Paula (my wife) really wanted a child. I was not quite so enthusiastic, but went along with the idea - if it happened, it happened was pretty much my attitude. Whilst we weren't at the early 20's level of hanky-panky frequency, our love life was pretty good, but every month there was no sign of the missing period that would suggest that the patter of tiny feet could be imminent(ish).
After a bit of soul-searching, we went to see our GP. Now retired (gives some idea of her profile) she didn't really have much of a grasp on the whole issue of infertility and suggested we just "kept practising." Not the most constructive advice ever vouchsafed by the medical profession, I think you will agree!
After due "practice" and still no positive result we returned and I was asked to provide the first of many samples. I duly provided the necessary (not easy to hit that little jar at that critical moment!) and legged it over to our local hospital, jar tucked under my arm to keep it at body temperature.
The results were sent to our GP and we were called in to learn of the specialist's findings. I was told that my sperm count was 5.
Out of what - 6, 66, 6666666666666666666? I still don't know, but apparently it was not good. I had done some research and found that there was a lot of advice about getting more zinc into your diet to help sperm production. Short of chewing on a galvanized bucket, I didn't know how to do this, so asked. The response was not to worry about it, keep trying and "miracles happen." Great!
We booked another appointment with the specialist at the hospital, who kept us waiting forever at the end of what was obviously along day away from the golf course. When he eventually deigned to see us, he leant back in his chair and said "Well some people to find infertility a difficult thing to come to terms with." That was the first we knew about the fact we were effectively infertile and was delivered with all the care of a postman with a package marked fragile.
My wife was reduced to tears and I was amazed by the follow up comment - "Do you have a computer at home?" "Yes" Was this a query about my interest in those slightly off-colour websites? Had he been reading my browsing history? No. Even better.
He literally grabbed a used brown envelope from his desk and scribbled a website address on it - something along the lines of www.infertilityinformation.co.uk. (Please note I am no apologist for this site nor an advocate for it - I am merely reflecting the way we were introduced to it. It is in fact a useful resource for anyone facing this situation.)
And that was it....Off you go, find out all about it for yourself. No support, no concern, no apology, no tact, no caring.
Having consoled Paula over the way we'd been handled, I then did some research. I duly cut down drinking, stopped the occasional cigarette, took vitamins, exercised more (ok exercised) and generally took the whole thing more seriously.
We returned to our GP - a new one who was more in touch with 20th century life, who applied on our behalf for funding for our now inevitable IVF treatment. Needless to say, we discovered that Paula was 18 months too old for our NHS Trust to even part fund the treatment, so we had to find the money ourselves.
My grandmother (don't worry this isn't going in any sick and deviant direction!) had died a little while before and we had inherited some money from her estate. So - no fancy holiday or fast car for us - oh no, on-line pharmacies and hospitals were the order of the day.
We duly attended a briefing at King's College Hospital in Brixton - our nearest IVF clinic and one with a good success rate. We were welcomed in with tea and biscuits (including, and this is gospel - Jaffa cakes - the irony of which I could see, but I did point out it could be construed as tactless by some!)
Having been AV repair man and made their TV work so we could watch the Public Information film about the various versions of IVF, we were escorted on a tour of the very good and friendly facilities. (The facilities were good, the staff friendly, just to clarify)
We booked ourselves in for the process and lined up our on-line drug supplies for the process. The first thing I had to do was provide another sample, so I duly turned up on time for this. I was presented with a key with a key ring about A4 size and sent to Room 102 (I think) You might as well have a big sign saying "I'm off for a quick w**k" as there is no other reason to be going to this room. The sign saying "Please follow the silver line on the carpet to the hatch" seemed a little tasteless too, although the provision of a pile of adult magazines was thoughtful (and thought provoking!)
I returned a couple of days later to get my results.
There are three things that affect one's ability to provide viable sperm:
a) Number of sperm per cc.
b) Morphology (are they the right shape?)
c) Motility (do they move correctly?)
I apparently had a low count (5?) reasonable morphology, although a fair few had two tails
or broken tails but the biggest problem was the sheer apathy shown by my tadpoles. Very few showed adequate movement.
As a result we had to go for a slightly more complicated version of IVF. No "pop it in a test tube, swill it round and pass me a turkey baster" for us, oh no. We had to go for a (then) relatively new process - ICSI ( intracytoplasmic sperm injection) In this process, the eggs are "harvested" (more of which later) and a sperm head (which has had its tail removed) is inserted directly into the egg. This does rather cut out Mr Darwin's "survival of the fittest" theory, but maybe it was more the survival of the fastest sperm the technician could catch!
Prior to the whole "jamjar and net" stage, Paula had to go through a pretty unpleasant process where she injected herself with hormones every morning to effectively induce a fake menopause. This was all after a number of internal and ultrasound investigations of her ovaries - all very undignified and pretty uncomfortable - even for a spectator.
After various checks of her status (and a seemingly endless round of visits to Room 102 for me!) she then started taking another selection of medication - all to kickstart a "super fertile" state where all her eggs came to fruition at once.
We returned on the scheduled date for the final visit to Room 102 (I'd read almost everything in there by this point, so I was glad to be on the homeward straight!) Paula then had her eggs "harvested" - a horrid term for what was obviously a very uncomfortable process where each follicle was opened and the egg scraped out of it. 19 eggs were collected and off they went to the lab to be injected with my sperm heads.
Two days later we went back to see whether anything had happened. We were told we had 6 potential embryos, but not all were good enough for implanting. We had 2 that were definitely duff (the eggs had not divided correctly) 2 that were "B" grade and 2 "A" grade embryos.
The two "A" grade embryos were implanted into Paula. We actually have an ultrasound picture of our egg being implanted - not many people see their kids at such an early stage!
Then the waiting began...................... .............................................. ......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .......................................... ................................... ....................
Four weeks later, with much trepidation, we used the pregnancy predictor kit and .....
Voila - two blue lines - Paula was pregnant!
I will compress pregnancy into a couple of lines - it all went fine, a little sickness for a couple of days, a lot of kicking and wriggling, then a fairly (from my perspective, at least!) simple birth.
Despite all the evidence in the build up indicating otherwise, we ended up with a beautiful baby girl - Rowan, who is now 4, going on 14.
Shortly after her birth we did have the sad duty of signing the form for the destruction of the "B"-grade embryos - as there were substandard, the clinic has no obligation to keep them, but you do have to sanction their destruction - a sad but necessary job.
So - in summary, IVF is a great way of completing a family for those with fertility issues. It is, however, almost exclusively a process where the woman is the centre of all activity, all paperwork and all the concern and care, regardless of where the fertility faults lie.
There is a high risk of failure - at the time we went through the process, it was about a one in five chance of success, so we were extremely fortunate to be successful first time round.
There is undoubtedly a post code lottery in terms of funding for the treatment and at the time very little, or in fact no support for an infertile male. I am not the most "macho" of guys, but even I found it a challenge to my traditional role of provider to find that I was in some way inadequate in the fathering department. I still occasionally struggle with it today and feel that more attention should be given to the non-pregnant part of the equation.
Still, I now have a lovely, bright, fully functioning daughter, for whom I would do anything, so a big thank you to the staff and team at Kings College for their successful efforts.
I was watching the news yesterday and saw the article about the postcode lottery for IVF treatment and I thought I would write a review expressing my opinions on the matter.
Firstly I would like to say that I do not have any children myself as I have never been maternal and have never wanted children. Secondly I would like to stress that, since this review is likely to be controversial, this is my own opinion and is not meant to be insulting to anyone else or to demean anyone else's opinion.
Right that's got the ground rules sorted!
IVF as we all know is medical intervention to help people to have a child. I am not going to go into the technical details here as that isn't what my review is about, but what I will say is that it is very expensive. From a brief look on the internet the costs appear to be £3k to £4k per cycle of treatment.
The point that I want to make is based on the news item that I saw yesterday where they were saying that some health authorities were only allowing one cycle of treatment on the National Health whereas others were allowing up to three cycles as advised by the guidelines given by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
My main point is that given the costs involved why should the National Health be expected to pay for three cycles of treatment? Surely the National Health Service should be using their scarce resources to treat people who are ILL!
I appreciate that some people desperately want a baby and can't conceive but they are not ill in the same way that someone suffering from a life threatening disease is ill. I feel that the National Health Service should be spending it's money treating people who have become ill or been injured through no fault of their own rather than just improving the life of someone by providing them with something extra that they would like to have.
To my way of thinking this falls into the same category as plastic surgery (except for deformities) and abortion (except for foetal deformity or rape) if it is something that you want as opposed to something that you need to survive then you should be expected to pay for it.
To expand on that point - if I wanted bigger boobs then I wouldn't expect the NHS to foot the bill or if I had got pregnant and didn't want to keep the child again I wouldn't expect the NHS to pay to sort out my mistakes. In the same way - if I wanted a child but couldn't conceive I wouldn't expect the NHS to divert resources from treating someone with leukaemia (for example) just to make my life the way I would like it to be in an ideal world.
Surely for all of us there are certain situations that we aren't happy with but we have to deal with them or, if it is possible, we can pay to change things to suit us. Maybe people who can't conceive could consider adoption - that way they would get the child they want and provide an unwanted child with a loving home.
To be fair to the people who want IVF treatment I would think that just one cycle paid for by the NHS is more than generous. I also feel that the rules should be tightened and the women who are over the natural age of childbirth should not be considered. Nature has stopped women conceiving after the menopause so I don't think that we should intervene to reverse that. I also think that people who already have a child together shouldn't be considered either - just how much do some people expect the taxpayer to stump up to make their lives exactly how they want them to be?
Well I realise that this will be a controversial review and I invite anyone to comment (providing they do so politely LOL!) as we all have our own opinions on matters such as this.
By the way, before anyone comments, I also appreciate that the NHS has to use resources to deal with self inflicted injuries such as cancer from smoking for example and I also think that rules should be tightened here too but that's for another review!
As many of you may know by now, me and my husband have been trying to conceive for the past seven / eight years and we have undergone many tests and procedures to get to this point.
After several failed treatments on medications such as metformin, clomid and many Operations such as laparoscopy's and ovarian drilling, we were finally placed on the IVF waiting list.
So far we have had one failed attempt, but as it stands at the moment we do qualify for another two attempts before having to go private, which could work out very expensive indeed.
I have done endless research on the IVF procedure, It can be very daunting and difficult to take in so with my experience I have decided to write this review in the hope that it will help many women in the same situation, as doctors can ramble and you come away very confused and the internet is a great place to research but you always come across sites that are contradicting and therefore confuse you even further.
So here I am going to write a review that is full of facts and personal opinion, which I hope will help as I never found anyone one the net with the same experiences, it seemed to be full of people who were successful on the treatments and this depressed me further, although at the same point I was happy for them but wished it was me.
WHAT IS IVF
IVF in vitro fertilisation is a procedure aimed for couples who have been trying to conceive for many years naturally without success. The procedure is relatively new and the first ever success with this type of treatment was reported in 1978 in the UK.
Since then IVF has become very popular with couples all over the globe, as it is a treatment that helps infertile couples conceive their own child.
Basically the treatment allows an embryo to form with the help of fertility drugs, both the eggs and sperm are introduced together and fertilised in a lab and then replaced back into the woman's womb, in the hope that the embryo will imbed in to the uterine wall and result in pregnancy.
IVF has become the solution for couple's who can't conceive naturally, there are many reasons for this for example,
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes which will stop sperm fertilising a fresh egg.
Age is another factor as Eggs can become less fertile the older you are.
Having fallopian tubes removed can also decrease chances of pregnancy as you will only have one tube which will cut the changes of conceiving naturally down by 50%.
Males with a low sperm count also restrict the chances of conceiving naturally.
By having IVF treatment you can cut out all of these issues, as the eggs and sperms are fertilised within a Lab and therefore the difficult bit has been done for you, all you will need to rely on is the embryo imbedding into your womb and hopefully resulting in you baby dream coming true.
NHS IVF TREATMENT
You can get IVF treatment on the NHS as some hospitals offer it to certain couples who qualify, to qualify you will need to be sponsored by you local Primary Care Trust (PCT), who have a funding budget to help infertile couples.
To qualify for the treatment you should fit certain guidelines, the more you fit into these guidelines the better chance you have of being offered the treatment.
Currently the guidelines stand at couple's who:
Are aged between 23 and 39 years old, this does seem very harsh as age is basically being made into an issue, but as recent figures show women who are over 40 years old don't have eggs that are mature enough to complete the treatment, therefore the NHS will not cover the cost of anyone over the age of 40.
If you are 40 or above it is worth thinking about going private, yes this will cost but studies have showed that the older couples have been successful with IVF treatment.
One or both couples must be diagnosed with fertility problems or you have been infertile for over three years. This is where my problems started I have always known I have had a problem but it took my consultant nearly 5 years to diagnose me with PCOS polycystic ovary syndrome, and then the waiting list for IVF took another two and half years, so I strongly recommend if you have a problem you must be very persistent as the NHS will cast you aside before tackling the problems.
These are the standard guidelines, but in certain areas of the country the PCT have added additional guidelines to the list that you must fit into to qualify. You will only find this is the highly populated areas such as London and surrounding areas.
In highly populated areas you now get declined for NHS treatment if one of the couple already has a child from a previous relationship, which is really bad if you ask me because the partner who has the problem will be feeling even more inadequate, I can see that the NHS are cutting back to get waiting lists down but surely these couples should be placed on the waiting list.
Now the bit that will depress you further, as IVF has become very demanded by many couples the waiting lists vary. In less populated areas you can wait 1-2 years and in the highly populated areas you can wait 2-4 years.
Me and my husband live in a low populated area so we were fortunate and only waited 18 months, the main battle is getting onto the waiting list so if you have a problem and have been trying for a child for over a year, I strongly advise you go to your GP to get the ball rolling as it can take up to 4 years before you will be considered for IVF.
Before we went on the list we had to tick all of the boxes and have many tests, drug and operations as the NHS like to pursue every avenue before placing you on the IVF list as it is very costly to them.
If you don't usually have to pay for prescriptions up you can offer to pay all prescription charges and for medications which will bump you up the list a bit as you are paying, with this you will have to pay for all prescriptions and medications you require throughout your treatment, this is still very expensive but worth it if it works out.
Me and my husband have always paid prescription charges and once our specialist asked if we paid charges, he tapped it in to the computer and we went from a 3 year wait to a 8 month wait, so I have not doubt what so ever if you pay you do get seen a lot quicker.
If you are not exempt and you qualify for free prescriptions you will not have to pay a penny.
When it come to you getting NHS treatment, if you are place on the list you will be entitled to three attempts at IVF, you will also be offered the chance to freeze any good embryos that are retrieved at the start of the treatment, as only one to three embryos are replaced into your womb.
Another option in going private, this is recommended if you have failed the three HNS attempts. It is also an option for the older couples or those who just can't wait for NHS treatment.
One important factor to remember is the most fertility hospitals, even those located on NHS premises offer fee paying IVF treatment, this is basically doing it on the NHS but you pay for the medications and nominal amounts for the actual treatment, the clinic do not profit from this it only covers there costs.
These is also a waiting list for this but as you are paying it is less than a years wait, so if you have to pay prescriptions and medications on the NHS, I strongly advise you look into this option and add your self to the list and wait to see which comes up first.
IVF is very expensive and one full treatment can cost anything from £4000-£8000 pounds, this will include all consultations prior and after treatment, Drugs, medicines and the treatment. You can expect to pay at the higher end of the price bracket if you need sperm of egg donors or if you would like to freeze good embryos for another attempt if need be.
Most IVF clinics are roughly £5000 pounds a treatment, so this is a typical price you should aim at looking at, however some clinics do offer it much cheaper but there is a reason for this they are only quoting for the procedure and not the medications or consultations so if you look into going private, be sure to get a quote for everything consultations, medications. Follow up advice and the procedure.
If you find a clinic that is a lot cheaper and this does not include the medications, it maybe worth your while checking the prices on the medications yourself, as this can work out a lot cheaper.
Another way of getting cheaper treatment is egg sharing, some private clinics offer this service where you donate your good eggs that are left over after they have been retrieved, this was something I would never have considered until I found out about it, you do not donate your fertilised egg which is technically an embryo, all you are donating is one of the many eggs that have been retrieved from your ovaries at the start of the treatment.
In return you get a reduced price IVF treatment and you are giving another couple a chance, this is a good idea but after long deliberation we have decided that this would never be an option for us but it is available.
This is the procedure explained in details as I feel that couples need to be fully aware of what to expect, as it is not something to be taken lightly and it can be very stressful for everyone concerned.
STEP ONE: At the start of the treatment GNRH anolog is a drug given to the woman to block the production of both LH and FSH hormones, this will basically put you into early menopause resulting in hot flushes, nausea, and headaches. I personally had really bad mood swings one minute I was up and the next down, I can laugh about it now but at the time it was very unpleasant.
To achieve this I had to take the drugs to suppress my hormones for 21 days, I have to say these were the worst days of my life as I was actually putting myself through this, fair enough going through it naturally but I felt like a monster with two heads and my moods were foul.
Once all of your own natural follicular development is suppressed by the GNRH medications, you will then be given HCG injections. The injections stimulated my egg production and had to be administered daily for 10 days.
These injections will stimulate the follicles and produce and mature many eggs, these injections need to be carefully timed because if it is given to soon it could result in the eggs forming into cysts and ovulation being blocked.
At this point you will be scanned to check the development of your eggs, here they will determine if this part of the procedure has been successful. If you have many mature eggs you will be pre paired for egg retrieval and if it is unsuccessful you will have to start the whole process again.
STEP TWO: After the HCG injections have been administered you will need to prepare your self for the egg retrieval which usually occurs 36 hours after the injections.
The night before my egg retrieval I was given another injection to give the eggs one last push as the consultant said, this injection basically prepared the follicles to release the matured eggs ready for collection the next day.
To retrieve your eggs you will be given a light anesthesia which will make the whole process comfortable, the eggs are then removed by ultra sound guided retrieval. The follicles, eggs and fluid are all collected into a tube and sent off to the embryology lab for fertilisation.
The procedure itself was relatively pain free and most parts of it I was comfortable, after the egg retrieval I did suffer from bad cramping and bleeding for and few days but this was just like a normal period pain so I did not worry, I was allowed to leave the hospital within two hours.
STEP 3: This is the stage where you can do nothing but wait, after the hubby gave his sperm sample, which I may add he made such a fuss over doing. At this point I could have slapped him as I was going through all of the treatment and all me had to do was spit in a cup. The two headed monster reared its head once again at this point.
My eggs were sent to the embryologist who collects the eggs from the fluid collected and they were assessed for maturity and incubated, at this point we did not know what was going on but the consultant called after a few hours and informed us that 6 mature eggs had been collected.
In the mean time the seaman sample was assessed and washed, this procedure separates the good sperm from the bad, so only the healthy sperms are selected for fertilisation.
The eggs and sperms are then introduced for fertilisation, they are placed in nutrients that allow them to live outside the body and incubated for 24 hours, after that period they are looked at through a microscope to see if fertilisation has occurred.
If no fertilisation has occurred you will need to repeat the whole process and if the eggs have been fertilised they will be incubated for 2-7 days until they grow and divide into embryos.
After a few days the eggs are looked at again and the best of the bunch are selected for embryo transfer.
After the 2-7 days in the incubator the embryos can be transferred with a catheter and placed back into the womb, this part of the procedure is painless but slightly uncomfortable, the only was I can describe is it is that it is as similar sensation to a smear test.
With women under the age of forty only one of two eggs can be transferred back into the womb depending on the embryo quality, this is to stop multiple pregnancies.
If you are forty or over you can have up to three embryos transferred back into your womb, because the specialists say the embryo quality will not be as good as a younger person.
Some IVF clinics will offer to freeze any good embryos that are not transferred back into your body, this is make other attempts much cheaper but you must remember that embryos that have been frozen will decrease in quality slightly.
After the eggs had been transferred I was made to rest for a few hours, before going home and carrying on as normal. I must stress that at this point it is very hard to carry on as normal, as you can do anything for two weeks.
These two weeks were the longest of my life, just waiting to take a pregnancy test was very hard and in my opinion the most stressful part of the whole process.
There are many factors to take into account when looking at IVF success rates, these being the Patients age, Sperm or egg quality, Failure to collect eggs either ate step one or step two and lastly the failure of implantation of the embryos.
Many believe this will be the answer to there prayers but it is a very expensive, very stressful process that is only achieve by climbing may hurdles. At any point in the treatment it can fail, so I will not sit here and say go for it because it is not garenteed to work, overall there is only a 22% national average success rate with IVF treatments.
As with any type of treatment there is an element of risk, the risks associated with IVF being an increased chance of multiple pregnancy, this happens when you have many embryos transferred back into the womb. This is why they will only replace 1-3 embryos at a time, making triplets and twins a possibility.
Another risk to take into account is ectopic pregnancy, this can occur when you ovaries have been over stimulated through the drugs and medications that have been administered throughout the treatment, this is a very rare occurrence but it is something to be aware of.
If you do not qualify for treatment on the NHS you can go to a private clinic that offers the IVF Process to NHS patients, some clinics will treat you at the same cost it would cost for the NHS therefore they will perform the procedure without any profit.
As the waiting list for NHS treatment varies drastically, with the wait times being anything from one year to three years depending on your areas current funding. If there is funding available and you meet the criteria needed to get place on the treatment list, you can expect to wait one to three years, so if going private is an option for you I strongly recommend you also look in to going private.
I have to strongly say to everyone considering IVF that this is not a decision to be taken lightly, it is very stressful for you and your partner even the solidest of couples can feel the strain when it comes to this.
Another thing to remember it that your partner is just as involved as you are, you maybe going through the treatment but they have to witness it and put up with the bad moods, tears and every other emotion you go through too, so remember they are under strain to at the end of the day they want exactly the same as you.
The whole process took us over two months to complete, without success. At the time I was devastated but I have now learned to get one with it and try again as it did not help me dwelling on the past, I remain optimistic and I am confident it will happen eventually for us.
If you have been refused NHS help remember to try NHS based clinics as these do tend to be a lot cheaper than private clinics, so you may save some money in the long run as I see it if I save it either means I have more money for other attempts or more money to spend on a child.
As I have stated I do live is a less populated area, so we did have to travel to London St Mary's IVF clinic for consultations, and all of the steps involved in the process as we live roughly a four hour drive away this was impossible to do it a day, especially when you were told to reset of be comfortable.
During certain stages of the treatment me and my husband had a short break in London, we found we had to be close by at the end of step one, and early step two which was a week long period and then we had another week at step four and five.
So remember that it is time consuming and an added expense especially it you have to travel and more often than not you will need to, so you will need to work around work and plan holidays to accommodate for this time.
I hope this has been helpful to someone out there, as it is something I think I have learned a lot about over the last few years.
I have to be honest with this review, I have felt suicidal at points in my life when I thought I would never have a child. Getting pregnant became an all consuming obsession in my life and looking back I cant believe what I went through to have what is supposed to be natural in life. Anybody reading this, if you need support then send me a message, infertility is something no person should have to experience.
I am going to post a link to a website that will give you all the technical information on IVF. Its such a personal experience I think people who may be faced with it need you know how it effects the life of you and your family. This review would be tens of thousands of words long if I went into all the details, so I will stick to the aspects that stuck out the most for me.
I have had 4 cycles of IVF in my life, and I'm only 28. I have had dozens of invasive tests and other treatments before the IVF. I also got divorced at 24, we had been through so much with failed treatments there was just nothing left between us. Please don't take this lightly, I got married when I was 20, I knew at 18 that I would have fertility problems so we started trying straight away. I loved my husband, we never argued and I thought it would last forever, so did he.
We got up one day, the morning I was due to start injections for the next course, he looked at me and said "I don't think I can do through this again". We separated a week later, there was no bitter end, no fighting, no cheating. We just came to a fork in the road, and it was one that we couldn't go down together. I honestly think if we had never faced this problem we would have still been married.
I met my partner just before I turned 26, we were friends for a few months and he knew everything I had been through. When we began our relationship he knew we might never have children naturally, we discussed everything we wanted from life and made a decision that if I got to 30 we would apply to join the adoption register.
I'm going to tell you about the last IVF cycle I went through, which resulted in the gorgeous boy in my profile. I had long since used my NHS entitlement, this varies depending on where you live. So Christmas 2007 I open a card from my partner, inside it is an appointment for January 2nd with a private consultant and a note from my partner to say he had the money saved for it, £3000.
This happened pretty quickly, I had all my tests repeated a few months previously. This includes blood tests at 3 points in your monthly cycle. A procedure called a HSG, this involves laying on a table with your legs in stirrups, they put a dye into your fallopian tubes and take several x-rays to check your tubes are clear. This can feel a little like period cramps, and is embarrassing. The staff are brilliant though. They have done this loads on times and really put you at ease. I also had an internal ultrasound to check my ovaries. My partner also had to give a sample to check everything was OK on his side.
All my tests showed that I was not able to ovulate naturally. I had previously tried drugs to stimulate ovulation, they worked in that I did ovulate, however I didn't get pregnant.
The stages of IVF can vary depending on your diagnosis but this is the stages that I went through, I have taken this from the official government website I linked to above, I don't think I can word it better than they can.
Boosting the woman's egg supply
You will be prescribed drugs that will help to control when your eggs are produced. You will also take drugs to increase the number of eggs you produce. This means that more eggs can be fertilised and the clinic will have a greater choice of fertilised eggs to use in treatment.
Checking on progress
The clinic will carry out vaginal ultrasound scans to monitor your developing eggs. They will also do blood tests to chart the rising levels of oestrogen produced by your eggs. This helps to track how your eggs are maturing. 34-38 hours before your eggs are due to be collected, you will have a hormone injection to help your eggs mature.
Collecting the woman's eggs
Eggs are usually collected by ultrasound guidance, which takes around 30 minutes. Your doctor will insert a thin needle through your vagina into each ovary. The eggs will be sucked into the needle. Very occasionally, eggs will be collected by laparoscopy (a small telescope with a light attached). This procedure involves making a small cut in your stomach and extracting the eggs with a fine needle, as before.
Collecting the man's sperm
Around the same time that the eggs are collected, the male partner will produce a sperm sample. This will be stored for a short time, and the sperm washed and spun so that the healthiest sperm can be used to fertilise the eggs. If you are using donor sperm, this will be taken from the freezer and prepared in the same way.
Fertilising the eggs
The eggs and sperm are mixed and left in a laboratory dish for 16-20 hours. They are then checked to see if any have fertilised. Those that have (now called embryos) are left for another 24-48 hours before being checked again.
Preparing for pregnancy
Two days after egg collection, the woman will be given progesterone to help prepare the lining of the womb for pregnancy. This is given with pessaries, injection or gel.
Transferring the embryos
Two to five days after the eggs fertilised, the healthiest ones are selected to be put back into the woman's womb. For women under the age of 40, one or two embryos can be replaced. If you are 40 or over, a maximum of three can be used. Remaining embryos can be frozen in case you have further IVF treatment.
After the transfer you have a two week wait to find out if it has worked. I have to be honest I had such bad stomach cramps I was wearing tampons for 2 days as I thought my period would start any minute. You cant use a normal home pregnancy test as the drugs you are given can give you a false positive result. We went for the blood test in the morning then spent several very long hours waiting for the news.
I cant begin to describe how I felt when I got the news, I didn't believe it until I went for a scan two weeks later. Fertility treatment is an emotional roller-coaster, and the hormones I took did turn me into a crazy person. I had to remind myself constantly that my partner was going through this too, people do tend to focus on the woman in all this, and its just as stressful for men.
I can say now that it was worth every second, but if you are facing the prospect its good to know what you are going into. Try talking to people who have been there. I have one friend who decided to adopt after 3 failed attempts, she has a beautiful little girl now and knew that adoption was the best decision for her.
You spend your gettng drunk and partying years worrying about getting pregnant but you never think there is a possibility that you cannot actually concieve. Unfortunately this is true for so many women, like myself. I was a bit of a party animal and didn't meet the right person until my early thirties. I had never really thought about children until then, I was just interested in going out and having a good time.
I met my partner on a blindish date, he is my best friends husbands best mate! Children couldn't have been furthest from my mind over the first year or so but then I realised that he was definately the ONE! and we should maybe think about starting a family. So we started trying after being together for a couple of years. After about 2 years nothing had happened and I must admit it still didn't register that there might be a problem.
Friends kept asking me if I had been to the doctors yet, I just shunned them at first and replied yeah yeah I'll go soon. Eventually I made the phone call to make an appointment with my GP. I was quite nervous but the doctor was very helpful and started with some basic tests, it's a good few years ago now but I think the first tests were for my thyroid. I was also told to bookin for a blood test to checki f I was ovulating (this has to be done at a certain stage of your cycle) I booked in for this test and the results came through that I wasn't ovulating. I was prescribed I think 6 months of tablets to hopefully help me ovulate. Whilst taking these tablets I had to keep going back to have blood tests-The tests showed that I was responding to the tablets so I was really hopeful. I took these for about a year but still nothing.
I was then referred to a specialist in another town. Once again I had numerous blood tests, examinations and swabs taken. Still no reasons as to why I wasn't getting pregnant. The time was flying by and I wondered if it was ever going to happen. About four or five months later I was booked in for an anaesthetic to do a laparoscopy which is where various incisions are made in your abdomen, including one right through your belly button to have a look inside (like keyhole surgery in a few places) I was in hospital for just the day which wasn't too bad but it was my first time in hospital least alone any anaesthetic-so I was very scared. However I was in and out in no time and was relatively pain free. The surgeon came round to tell me that he had found a small fibroid, he hadn't removed it because it was only small but told me that he would put me on the IVF waiting list - and I should hear from the clinic in the next 8 months.
I think it was about 8 months later that I had my First appointment. To be honest tis is where it all goes a bit blurry - trying to get pregnant by then was kind of taking over our lives. We had argued a lot, mainly about the change in lifestyle I thought we needed t maximise our chances. I had stopped drinking alcohol completely and reduced caffiene intake to next to nil.
At first I was put on tablets for polycystic ovaries although they weren't sure this was the entire problem, and told me I was "borderline" Again nothing-so I was started on the IVF treatment which entails lots of visits to the clinic and injections. I remember the first injection, we were on a short break in Liverpool and it took me about 45 minutes to eventually put the needle in I was so aprehensive.
I went through the first few weeks of injections and had the scans as I went along to check the treatment was working, I then went onto what they call hyper-stimulation-which was when the problems started. I went in for another routine scan check all was ok, but the doctor found that my fibroid had grown and that there were numerous others there. They said the fibroid was quite large and that it was blocking my tubes to an extent that ther was no point in carrying on with the treatment. I remember crying and thinking - well thas it then. Thank god the doctor told me that once i was removed I SHOULD be able to start the treatment again. Ther was still some hope.
I was booked in for the surgery but was told, when I signed the consent form, that if they found a more complicated problem or there was serious blood loss then I had to agree to having my uterus removed (I was only in my thirties !) but if it was going to save my life .....
My partner wasn't allowed to stay with my in the ward on the morning of my surgery when he dropped me off. I sat on my bed and cried my eyes out. In no time at all I was in the line for my op. I wasn't too bothered about being knocked out, more so about what they were going to do while they were in there!
I came round in agony and didn't know where I was I couldn't see or hear properley and was petrified. I could just make out someone saying don't panic everythings ok just blow into this tube when the pain is bad-which it was! I couldn't understand or even blow at that stage (apparently the end had fallen off the tube, there is usually a button to press for pain relief-but I had to blow!) I had been in theatre for 5 hours! there had been complications that I still am not aware of (maybe best not to know) I had about 6 cuts-5 little ones and one big one right across my abdomen. The surgeon did his rounds and told me i had one large fibroid removed plus a strange cyst on my ovary which had ossified (almost turned to bone) any way my womb was still intact! It took 3 months off work to recover.
I started my IVF treatment cycle again about 6months later. Not so aprehensive this time. Same injections, same tests BUT unfortunately same results at same scan - MORE FIBROIDS!! I came out of the scan balling my eyes out thinking that I either had to stop again or that was the finish of it all. After your scan you have to go back up to the ward to see the consultant about your results. I met one of the consultants in the corridor, he recognised me and asked me what was wrong. I showed him the results and he went out of his way to help. He asked me to wait while he spoke to someone else, I was then referred to another department where they used a camera to view the fibroid. After about another hour the final decision was just to go for it. Forget the fibroids and just hope they don't cause any problems (by the way fibroids are benign (usually) growths that are attatched to the lining of your uterus) - I had about 8-9 more of them.
I'm sure your all bored to tears now so basically I finished the treatment, argued constantly at home due to the pressure, almost split with my partner, had my eggs collected, he produced his sperm, the eggs were fertalised overnight, there were 2 viable eggs, they were put back in a couple of days later. I've never done so much praying during the following 2 weeks as I did then.
I did the took the pregnancy test.
I screamed and danced and shouted (at half 5 in the morning!) the test was positive - I couldn't believe it, in fact I didn't believe it and had to do another test 10 days later.
After nine months of constant worry, and 3 months of agony with symphasis pubis dysfunction (your pelvic ligaments loosen for birth but mine went so lax that the front of my pelvis moved too much-PAIN !!) And after a very scary caesarian which I had to have due to the previous surgery weakening the wall of my uteus - my gorgeous baby girl was born.
As you can see from the picture she is GORGEOUS (well I think so) So it was all worth it. I know we were lucky and it worked first time, but it wasn't exactly straight forward and without strain and pressure on our relationship. The whole process took over our lives for just over 2 years.
Please don't leave it too long before you seek help and certainly don't, like I did, assume tht conceiving is straight forward all the time.
I cannot praise the University hospital where I went enough-they were absolutely great.
I feel for anyone who has been unsuccessful and don't take my daughter for granted at all. My sister went trough one course of IVF which failed, unfortunately she wasn't strong enough or rich enough to try again which is so sad and I have cried plenty tears for her.
Good luck to anyone who is about to embark on treatment - all I can say is listen and follow all the advice given to you. x
Ok please if you read this and are thinking of having this treatment do not be put off by my review. This is just my personal experience.
MY SISTER THE REASONS
My sister was always poorly if it wasn't one thing it was another.If something went around she caught it, This included meningitis TWICE, Whooping cough, Measels, Mumps, Chicken pox and croup!
We are about 4 years apart and i must admit she got on my nerves most of the time she was very clingy and she also obviously had a lot of attention and she was a bit of a madam.
When she was about 8 years old her primary school teacher was a bit worried that she wasn't growing the same as the other children. We always thought she was a bit small but we just thought she was petite. Anyway she made up with it with her gob!!! She was sent for tests and was diagnosed with a growth homone defficiancy called Turner's syndrome. I will give you a brief outline. Basically when she was born instead of having XX chromosones which all females have she has only X. She had to have lots of tests and was put on growth hormone injections. Initially i didn't understand what was wrong with her and just thought she was a short arse! She is not a dwarf and with these injections she has grown to 4ft 11 and half (don't for get the half).
After about 4 years she went to the hospital for her routine check up and i remember my mum coming home with her and my mum just burst into tears and my sister just went out to play. It was later explained to me that she could never have kids. You see she another symptom of Turners is she has no eggs and also she had to go on the pill to bring her into puberty or she would go straight to the menapause she would also have to take drugs for the rest of her life to prevent brittle bones. At that age it really doesn't affect you and we carried on with our lives. Also at that time there wasn't any other real options IVF was something we hadn't really heard off.
Life can be really cruel sometimesi was never the maternal one, but yep i got pregnant at 24 i remember being nervous telling sis but she was brilliant. My eldest boy was born well and healthy and very long!!!Then 2 and half years later i had my youngest son who, thank god was also healthy. Sis was and still is very close to my boys. She was there when both of them were born and never showed a second of being jealous.
By now my sis had a partner who she was serious about. He knew all about her condition and she gave him the chance to go but he loved her and stayed. By now IVF was an option and it was possible to have egg donation.
I had offered in the past but she had always refused and then one day out of the blue she asked me if i would. To be honest i really didn't know much about it and jumped at the chance.
She had to have a scan to see if she could carry a baby and we were quite suprised to find out she could.
I talked it over with my other half and he was fine about it. And so she informed the clinic and we went on the waiting list. In the meantime she got married and we just waited.
Ok i did do some research but i didn't want to know too much as i just wanted to take each step as it came.
she was told she would get the first go free (or buy 1 get 1 free
as my mum-in-law said!!).
So after about a year after they got married we got an appointment for conselling. You have to have this in order to check she isn't holding a gun to my head and making me do it!!
I must admit when i first went to see the counseller i was very cagey as i thought it was a test. So i said all she wanted to hear and didn't really listen. I had to go away and explain to my kids what was going to happen which we had already ,not all the ins and outs but what they could understand and they were fine with it.
Then we had to have blood tests, lots of them, I will explain something at this point i have a very bad needle phobia so this was the bit i was dreading.
The tests were for the usual things to make sure i was healthy it was then you start to think that millions of women get pregnant and don't even think about all these different conditions.
We then had to wait for all the results and then we had to fill in loads of forms. I had to sign a lot of consent forms to say that once i had, had the eggs removed i had no right to them. Then my brother-in-law had to do his bit which was a bit embarrasing as they were all talking about what he had to do while i was sitting there. I still can't look at him without laughing! Especially when they discussed his lazy swimmers!! by this point i was hysterical!!
To be honest i really didn't think of the eggs as mine anyway. I'm sorry if this sounds crude but this is something that i get rid of every month anyway. A lot of people who knew we were doing this thought i was very good but to be honest i didn't think about that i just wanted her to be woken at 4am with a screaming baby!! ( yes i know im warped).
So that lot took about 3 months and then we had to go back to sort out my cycle.
MY CYCLE LAID BARE
It was then i started to feel like a poked and prodded pin cushion!! Everyone was talking about my folicles!! I didn't know id had them before now.
So first they had to get the right time for me to start the drugs so my cycle was dicussed at length. Timing is very important so they worked out the correct time and told me when to start the drugs.
I must admit up till now it was all exciting but now it got serious.
The drugs consisted of a nasel spray to slow down the reprodutive system and injections to produce more eggs. Now i wasn't told much about the side effects so i didn't think there were many HA!!
First i had to take the inhaler 1 sniff in each nostril twice a day for two weeks and then go back for a scan.
I must say at this point i have the most wonderful and supportive partner and he was brilliant. Also i had 2 fantastic friends 1 in work and 1 outside of work and the definatly kept me sane!! But the inhalers gave me headaches which is something i do not usually suffer with. I did try not to moan about them but it was quite bad and i took it out on him. I did still go to work but just kept my head down and stayed quiet. They also gave me moodswings which was worse than the usual pmt. My partner still tells everyone the story about me losing it after he ate my cookies!!!!
After 2 weeks i went back for the scan and then i went on the injections and only had to use the inhaler once a day.
The injections are in a pen with the dosage on the hospital tell you the dose. I had to give myself the injections in my leg!!
I was trying not to complain as i didn't want to make my sis feel guilty but it was hard to be all cheery when she came round because naturally she was with me a lot.
On the last day of the injections you are given 1 last injection at the precise time they tell you for harvesting the eggs. That one did hurt and i wimped out and let him give it to me.
BYE BYE EGGYS
So the next day we went to hospital and it was time to have the eggs taken out. They do this under general anestetic so i can't tell you much as i was asleep!!
When i woke up my mum told me they had got 10 eggs i was so happy so was sis. Brother-in-law had gone to do his thing!!
So that was my bit done i went home and slept for about 18 hours and had stomach pain for a couple of days after but i was ok.
Sis had to have special drugs as well to prepare her womb and get her body ready in the hope the eggs would hold. Then 2 days later she went in to have her part done. And then you are told to go home and wait for 2 weeks before you do a test.
I must admit that is the hardest bit we were all phoning her checking if she had any symtoms. When she said her boobs were tender me and mum were constantly on the phone disscussing it. Then the 2 weeks were up and YES!!!!!! she was pregnant.
I was estatic it come close to the feeling i got when i had my babies. My partner kept telling me not to get over excited but i couldn't help it, I just couldn't believe it worked.
THE WORSE DAY OF MY LIFE
She held onto those eggs until she was 7 weeks and then she lost them when she was on the phone to me. It was the most horrific experience of my life. I suppose it was poetic justice i was there when they were given to her and i was there when they were taken away. And it broke my heart i will admit i went home and just sobbed, My partner was there to pick up the pieces and had to be strong for sis.
I must admit the hospital were not very sympathetic. "Well if your going to lose them it's better you lose them early". I could of killed them. We were all devastated. We went back to the hospital and talked about what happened and what we could do different next time.
THE SECOND GO
We talked about it and decided that yes we would try again.I had to go for another session of counselling and it took all my strength not to scream at them OF COURSE I DON'T WANT TO DO IT AGAIN! But how could i tell sis that.
This time they decided to give me a higher dose of drugs and they changed sisses drugs. So great more tantrums ,This time it cost her £4000. We went through the motions and this time i also put on quite a bit of weight and my IBS went balistic. But if it worked then it would be worth it. The extra drugs didn't have much effect and again they got 10 eggs and again they fertalized 2 and implanted them into sis. And again she lost them not as horrific this time but still a loss. To be honest i had hardened myself and supported sis with love and cuddles but inside i had just frozen my emotions.
Then the consultant told us he would not let me do it again because i was now 35 and he didn't feel it was fair. And to be honest my partner really didn't want me to go through it anymore and neither did my mum. To be honest niether did i. I really feel when i look back that i was so close to losing it!!
I know this review sounds very me,me,me but this really is the first time i have put all this down and the reason i am telling this story is purly selfish. I need to tell it. I still don't feel i can say a lot of this to my friends and family.
It has been 10 months since the last time and i'm just getting back to normal ( Apart from the weight! ) Looking back im glad we couldn't keep doing it as it becomes an obsession. The closest i can descibe it is its like gambling you keep thinking the next time you'll hit the jackpot. I think in some ways i took it harder than sis. You see i feel like i failed and no matter how many times people tell me that at least we tried i sometimes wished we hadn't. It did bring us all closer and it made me appreciate what i have. I love my boys so much and sis and brother-in-law are very close to them but it's not the same for them. I still think it's cruel that she can't have what most women take for granted and i do think hospitals need to be a bit more sympathetic and not be so clinical about these matters.
If anyone reading this is thinking of having ivf i'm sorry not to have a happier story but it has worked for a lot of people. So good luck to you.
Sis is now on the adoption register and we are hoping that soon she will have the child she craves, She has so much love to give and my boys really want a niece or nephew and then maybe we can put the IVF to rest.
Thanks for reading XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Property of madmum71 & Lisa8871
I was a professional and didnt have time for Children disrupting my career or even a husband. Then later on at the ripe old age of 29 I got married. All of a sudden I felt this strange urge to have children, I couldnt believe it. Don't get me wrong I love children and have lots of Godsons and Goddaughters and I look after and babysit and take out but I return them at the end of the day. This is my story of my journey through the IVF process. After about a year, there were no signs of me getting pregnant, I approached the doctor who first stated that both my husband and I would have to go under some tests. All I can say is what a wonderful husband I have and that all along our journey he didn't complain once. Basically hubby just had a sperm count. I got a call from my doctors and I returnd to see him, he broke the bad news, it was me and that one side of my fallopian tubes was blocked and my egg count was incredibly low. After collapsing in a heap on the floor crying my eyes out, he told us I would have to go and have an endescopy to have a look at the tubes and then if that was clear we could start on fertility drugs. Another 6 months passed by and I booked into the hospital and had the endescopy which confirmed my right hand fallopian tube was blocked and couldnt produce any eggs. When you first go on fertility drugs, you have to have sex at certain times, we were told not to have lots of sex but quality sex. We first started on a low dose and this was me taking a tablet everyday for a certain period. Nothing happened so we were put on a high dose. I must admit at this stage sex became like mmm boring! it was a case of texting hubby, come on home pls, it's time to do it! lol It felt more like wham bam thankyou mam, which after speaking to lots of couples feel the same. Again after completing the tablets again noting happened and my egg production hadn't gone up. I was then referred to a Gnynocologist. He
basically discussed with us what our doctor told us and said he would put us forward for IVF. We were over the moon, it had taken us nearly 1 year to get to this stage and I was now 30. He then gave us the bad news that if you could afford it go private otherwise the waiting list is 3 years! That would then make me 34. We still practised but nothing happened when all of a sudden we got a letter through the post from the Liverpools Women Hospital saving your invited to an open evening prior to you starting IVF. We were so excited. We were nearer to becoming parents. We had infact waited 2.5years to get our treatment. That evening we travelled the 40 miles to the hospital and there must have been around 50 couples there all full of hope. I remember looking around the room thinking that only 1/4 of us would be rated as been sucessful. We had doctors talking to us and how sucess was calculated. Sucess in this hospital was if you got pregnant not actually a live birth. THE TREATMENT ------------- We went and picked up our drugs for the course which was around £1,000 worth of tablets, sniffers and injections. Most of these had to be kept in your fridge. I felt like a drug addict. Now Gonadotrophins are the female fertily hormone produced by your pituary gland in your brain. I was actually on Chrionionic Gonadotrophin as you had to sniff this at specific times of the day. It looks likes like a vics sinex inhaler. I had to take this for a couple of weeks. What this does is switch off your body clock and puts your through menopause, its like handing your body over to the doctors. The side effects of these are awful moodswings, all sorts of reports the hospital told us of husbands staying at there mothers whilst wives go through the first stage. At the end of this period, I had a scan and on each ovary I had produced around 10 eggs. Now a lady produces one egg a month from either the left of the rigt ovary, no seq
uence it can be from any. I could see my eggs there growing in size, I felt so proud. We then went onto stage two which meant you had to go to your doctor everyday for a week to have another injection. What this did was ripen the eggs for maturity and get them ready to be harvested. At this point To be honest I felt like a hen, but who cares if it works it will be well worth it. Now there is a condition called hyperstimulation which is when your ovaries go bonkers and produces lots and lots of eggs, although it can be treated it also can be fatal. I got through this round and then my final drug intake was to have a final injection at my local hospital at 2am in the morning and 36 hours later I would be having my eggs removed. We went to our local hospital with half shut eyes. They seemed to take an awful long time, I thought if they dont hurry up, I have got the stuff myself, I'll do it. 3 hours later a doctor came to see me and said you have over stimulated, we might have to pull you off the IVF treatment. My whole world was collapsing around me, but you must understand at any point in IVF if your not responding they will pull you off. I had to stay in hospital whilst they rang Liverpool. I begged and pleaded with them to give me the injection, tears rolling down my face. They actually got the all clear the next evening and I was told the proceedure would carry on. A lot of the nurses were in tears as they had been with me all the way. Harvesting, we went to the Liverpool Hospital the next day and this is where the men come in, they had to go into a little room where there were mmmmmm dirty mags and videos and produce a sample so that when they collected my eggs they could be introduced, you know what I mean, hello I'm an egg, hello I'm a sperm nice to meet you lol. Now with IVF they try and make it as dignified as they can but really every orifice in your body is pricked, poked or inserted into. I went into a little
room and the doctor come in and I had to have my legs on stirrups rather like a smear. I was put on a drip with a mild anesthetic as it would be a bit painful but I shouldnt feel anything. WRONG I did, the only way I could describe it was like a bunch of grapes, you know, the stem been the ovary and the grapes been the eggs. Except they tug hard and its very uncomftable. I went home and was in pain but this would settle down the next day. Down at the hospital they were grading my eggs, 1 excellent, 2 good, 3 will use if they have to, 4 terminated. We had signed a form to say that any eggs that we didn't use could be used for research to help other women and if they were all good eggs, I would donate some of my eggs free to ladies who needed eggs. The next day went by and we knew the next day would be brilliant news or bad, we had to wait and see if they had liked each other. We got the phone call that 10 eggs were really rather good so we donate some and 4 had to be terminated. This left me with 7 in total. We then went back to Liverpool Royal where we had to decide how many you want to have put back. We decided on 3 eggs, more chance of one taking. It was a weird feeling, walking into a hospital not pregnant and walking out pregnant. We were then told to come back after two weeks to do a pregnancy test. If your periods started then it had failed. If it was spotting or you didn't there was a good chance you were pregnant. Those two weeks were very very long and took ages to get over. I know this sounds crude but your just checking to make sure you have not come on and count each day as a blessing. Eventually my two weeks passed and I was ok and returned to Liverpool Royal to do my pregnanacy test, we were nervous as hell but today was the crunch time we had been waiting for. WHAY 2 EGGS HAD TAKEN AND I WAS HAVING TWINS, sorry at typing this I have tears in my eyes. We nicknamed them Bleep and Booster. My body sta
rted to change and we planned what we could buy, names, alsorts, but we wouldn't buy anything just yet. 2 weeks down the line I started to bleed, My husband rushed me to the hospital and they confirmed something wasn't right. Back again in hospital I was now sobbing broken hearted. They did a scan and confirmed that one had died. I prayed that night that the other would just stay there and let me look after him. I talked to him all night. I had some tests done at the hospital and they confirmed there was one left but the results could be showing it was going ectopic. I felt like a complete failure, I mean I have IVF that bypasses the fallopian tube and then it goes back up there. I was told I would have to make a decision to abort. I couldn't do this straight away. My sensible side said you know it can't live and grow in the tubes and the part of me that had been through IVF to get this far said leave it alone. The hospital told me to go home and come back in a weeks time but warned me if my tubes burst it could kill me or make me very very ill. Two days later, I started to bleed and again I was rushed back to the hospital, it was so frightening this time I have never ever seen masses of blood like it. I went to the toilet to freshen up and noticed something, I picked it up and cleaned it. I knew deep down this was the final one. I sat on that floor for hours crying and the nurse came to get me. She brought the doctor straight away who did a hormone level test. This time it confirmed that Ii wasn't pregnant anymore. I think the next few weeks I spent in a total daze and felt let down by the Liverpool hospital, they loved it when I was pregnant but all of a sudden I was left on my own confused. I went to see my doctor and she was brilliant and she ended up crying. We had some frozen embryos but they all died on defrosting, thats a risk you have to take. I then left it a year and I restarted IV
F but decided this would be my last attempt. unfortuantely I was pulled from this in the early stages as this time my body didn't respond to the drugs. Then the doctor called me in and said sorry Karen this time its really bad news. What could be worse, I have just been pulled I thought. He told me that I was not producing eggs at all now and that there would be no way that I ever would be able to have children unless we used someon elses eggs, basically I would be a host for an egg, not my genes. Well it took a long long time for me to get over it and even now I would give anything i have to have a baby. But I'm happy I have moved on, I have a wonderful husband, a new house and pets. When you embark on IVF you are warned of the pitfalls, but been warned and actually going through them are two different things. For years after I could not be in a room with children and I started to hate children as that was the only way that I could cope. Eventually I went to my doctor and told her and on her desk was pictures of her 3 lovely children. This was the turning point that I knew that I had to lay Bleep and Booster to rest but if anything, no one can ever take away that I was Mummy for 6 short weeks. USEFUL WEBSITES ............... HFEA.CO.UK is Human Fertilisation and Embyro Authority IVF.CO.UK excellent site for information. ADVANTAGES .......... It does work for some people and those who are about to embark on I wish you the best luck in the world. DISADVANTAGES ............. Costly if you go private can be anything from £2000 to £10,000 It does fail, only around 12.7% are live births You have less chance of conceiving if your older. You put your lives in trust of the doctors The emotional rollercoaster is very real. TIPS .... Be prepared for any outcome Be realistic about the real chance of getting a baby. Have a lot of support fro
m family and friends Which area you live in determines how many goes you get on the NHS. Some areas have 3 goes, some 2,some 1, some 0. Its a postcode lottery. I Live in cheshire and i got two goes. WOULD I GO THROUGH IT ALL AGAIN KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW? Yes if there was a slightest chance I could have a baby i would. All I have now is that i was a mum for 6 weeks, this sounds sad but a lot of people on ivf dont even get that far. Bleep and Booster are now in heaven. And to be honest I never give up hope, you never know that .01 percent of a chance could still happen. :0)
I read an article recently in ‘Real’, which is a magazine targeted towards middle class, fairly affluent women in their mid twenties to mid thirties. The article debated the use of advertising designed to encourage women in their twenties not to put off having children until it’s too late – which could be as early as thirty. Apparently, this sort of advertising is already being used in America, where women who put off having children until their thirties and then realise they have left it too late cost health insurance companies millions of dollars a year which goes towards paying for IVF treatment. I am twenty five years old, and have always assumed that I could put off having children until my mid thirties and then get pregnant without too much trouble, giving me the freedom to enjoy my twenties without having to worry about finances, career breaks and so on. Apparently, this is not an assumption that I can necessarily afford to make. What women my age are NOT told – at least, not until they read this article – is that your chances of falling pregnant halve for each year that you remain childless when you turn thirty, and that your chances of becoming pregnant when 30+ are quite alarmingly less than when you’re in your twenties. I think I can assume that most of the women who find themselves childless and unable to conceive in their mid thirties would consider IVF as a way of helping them achieve that longed for pregnancy. Unfortunately, the failure rate of IVF is very, very high, and very costly. I do not believe that IVF should be paid for on the NHS in those sort of circumstances, when a natural pregnancy would have been possible had the woman tried for a baby earlier in her life. I strongly believe that young women should be given the FACTS about fertility as soon as possible so that they can make an informed choice about when to start a family. I believe that a woman who finds s
he is infertile through no fault of her own has a right to IVF treatment, but a woman who finds she cannot get pregnant because of her age does not have the same right. HOWEVER – if we do not have the facts, how can we make the choice? I find it shocking and disturbing that had I not read this article, I would probably have put off trying for a baby until well into my thirties, as we are constantly told how to prevent pregnancy, but not how difficult it may be to fall pregnant when we actually want to. How much money are childless thirty and fortysomethings costing the taxpayer, simply because they did not realise that time was not on their side, and that while they spent their prime childbearing years pursuing their career and enjoying the financial benefits of a child free lifestyle, their finite supply of eggs was drying up, leaving them infertile? How angry I would be if I had never picked up this magazine and read the vitally important statistics within – less than 2% of successful births are by women over thirty...Almost half of women over thirty trying for their first baby encounter difficulties falling and staying pregnant? IVF is a valid and important medical procedure which has helped millions of childless couples realise their dreams of a family. My worry is that it is also being used as a last resort by desperate middle aged women who weren’t armed with the information they needed about the best biological age to start trying for a baby. It isn’t their fault, but the fault of the medical establishment for failing to inform women of the facts, and society as a whole, that puts so much value on career status and material wealth and fails to promote the importance of family values and parenthood. After reading this article, I have nothing but praise to the magazine in question for being brave enough to public the facts and accepting that young women are intelligent enough to deserve them. I have certa
inly learned not to trust the bleatings of the medical establishment, to challenge generally accepted ideas, and to do my own investigation where matters that affect my own body are concerned.
Infertility a distressing matter for those couples, or individuals, unable to conceive naturally. There are many causes some may be the result of disease or infection, for example gonorrhoea in females and mumps in adult males. In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is suitable for females with blocked oviducts or non-production of ova, yet in this case it is impossible for the mother to genetically contribute so ova must be donated or a surrogate mother artificially inseminated. IVF involves the administration of fertility drugs to the mother in order to increase ova production, mature follicles are then collected, sperm are gathered from the semen sample and added to the ova in a Petri dish. When the embryos are two days old some will be put in the mother's uterus to develop, more than one is used, as most will miscarry. This process can allow both parents to contribute genetically, and almost all development is in the mother's uterus. In addition, it provides the opportunity to screen for genetic disorders. But here issues arise, techniques can identify and select embryos before they are implanted, at this point genetic engineering gives the possibility of choosing characteristics, or selecting and discarding embryos with certain qualities. This raises cautions about protecting human dignity and we must question our knowledge of the long-term consequences. There are questions to be answered such as how long should the ova, sperm and zygotes be kept stored, whose responsibility are they, what will happen if the parents die or divorce, do the zygotes have legal rights to their parents estate? Can the parents decide on the fate of the excess embryos - should they be used in medical research or given to childless couples? Often IVF results in multiple pregnancies that can endanger the life of mother and children, it is possible to selectively abort one or more of the embryos to increase chances of survival, and also preven
t increased financial and emotional strain. If life begins at conception and at that time the embryo has a soul, then it must be disrespectful and amoral to create humans that will be destined for miscarriage or will be in long-term limbo, how can we justify the lack of dignity with which they are treated. The Catholic Church states that all procreation should be a result of sexual intercourse. It condemns the involvement of a third party, as the couple are not creating their own child. When 80% of the world lives on only 20% of the resources can the affluent justify spending thousands on their own child when there are millions of orphans and poverty-stricken children worldwide? The government must consider whether treatment should be available on the NHS or if it's a luxury, and the money better spent improving poor living conditions. This is a topic which many have heartfelt emotions on and I would not like to judge its validity or science's intervention into human reproduction.
My journey towards IVF was not a pleasant one, as I'm sure it never is for anybody. When I first met my husband, and we decided to try for children, we knew that I would need tubal surgery to try to conceive, due to past issues which I wont go into. So tubal surgery I had. We were told that if I wasn't pregnant within a year, I probably never would be. So about 14 months later when I fell pregnant, we were thrilled. From our own research we knew I was at risk of ectopic pregnancy because of the surgery, but that we would know for sure by the 7th week if it was, and if we made it past that point that we were 'safe'. Ectopic pregnancy is where the fertilised egg implants itself outside of the uterus, most usually in the tube. If detected early it can often be removed by laprascopic surgery and the tube preserved. But if not, the pregnancy will continue to grow until such time as the tube ruptures, ending the pregnancy, causing internal haemorrhaging, and is desperately life threatening to the woman, requiring emergency surgery to save her life. That is exactly what happened to me. I was 9 1/2 weeks pregnant at the time - so much for the research! We were living out in the desert in Australia, on an Aboriginal community, and I was airlifted by the Flying Doctors and rushed to hospital - which took 8 hours, by which time I needed to be resuscitated, and I'm very lucky to be alive. My tube was not saved, and I had lost the baby. Our world was shattered, and the grief was overwhelming, to the point where I could barely function. But thanks to my husband, we got through it, together. Two months later, to our shock, we found out I was pregnant again. This terrified me and I was admitted to hospital because of the dramatically increased risk of ectopic pregnancy again, due to the scarring left by the previous trauma. A few days later they told me that this pregnancy was also ectopic, and needed to be
removed - along with my last remaining tube. I lost the baby, and my fertility. I felt my life was over. I was no longer a woman of any use as I could not provide my husband with the children that we both so desperately wanted. Then the hospital told us about IVF. So our new crusade began.... We decided to commit our finances to the process, and went head first into it, putting all our faith, trust and hope into the Doctors hands. The process began with regular blood tests to see if I ovulated, which I did. I was then put on a drug, which came in the form of a nasal spray. The function of this drug is to stop the natural ovulation process of the body, this would then leave the doctors in control by use of hormonal therapy. So once this was achieved and monitored by even more blood tests, I was commenced on daily hormone injections, which you put into the fat in your tummy every morning, doing it yourself. This went on for a couple of weeks, with even more blood tests and weekly scans. This drug stimulates your ovaries to produce eggs. Normally a womans body produces one egg each month, which is then released, and either fertilised or not. The ovaries take turns each month. This drug stimulates both ovaries to produce eggs at the same time, and many more than just one each. The big risk involved at this stage is what they call 'hyperstimulation' where you produce way too many eggs. This is very painful, and you can become very ill if this happens to you, and that's why you are scanned often, and regular blood tests taken. The hormone therapy can also cause some side affects like weight gain and mood swings. Not to mention just the stress of the whole situation. I was slightly hyperstimulated - my abdomen was distended and painful, I became short of breath, lethargic and had a temperature. But much to my relief, I could continue with the cycle. When the eggs had
matured (they can tell by scanning you), I was admitted to hospital in the day surgery unit for the egg harvest. This is done transvaginally by a fine needle aspiration - the needle inserted and sucks out the eggs basically. I was given a light general anaesthetic for this procedure. I was very lucky - they got 17 eggs! While this was being done to me, my hubby was sent off to a room to produce the sperm for them - I think you know how he did this, *blush*. So after a couple of hours, we were sent home. I was a bit sore, with a little bit of bleeding, but not too bad. During the next 24 hours, the scientist did the fertilisation in the test tube bit. We were called back 3 days later to look at our little fertilised eggs under the microscope...our first glimpse of what hopefully would become a baby for us. They then selected 3 embryos for us, and I was laid on the examination table, with my legs up in the 'stirrups' and the embryos were transferred into my uterus. This was done whilst I was awake, with my husband standing beside me, and using a fine tube inserted vaginally. This is quite uncomfortable, but again, just part of the process. (The remaining eggs were frozen for future use, but they cannot guarantee that when the eggs are to defrosted that they will survive the process.) After this is completed, you rest for awhile, then go home. They recommend that you get on with your normal life and try not to think about it.......as if!! I wanted to lie on the sofa with my legs in the air and head down towards the floor.....surely gravity would help them to 'hold on'! The clinic also gave me a hormone pessary, which is to encourage the body to believe it is pregnant, which I guess in theory you sort of are. The next phase is the waiting bit. This is for 2 weeks. During this time you hope and pray that one or more of the embryos will implant itself in your uterus, for you to become
pregnant. I had 3 embryos transferred, and we would have loved triplets, twins or even just one! So after 2 weeks of this dreadful, tense waiting, the day comes for you to go back to the clinic and find out, by means of a blood test (again), if you are pregnant. After the blood test, you go home and wait for the phone call to tell you the results. No point doing a home test, because the hormones that they give you can give a false positive! Then the call came....and yet again....our world fell apart! No....we're not pregnant. The devastation and heartbreak is unblievable. Not only were we not pregnant, but we were stressed beyond belief, and financially much worse off - and still an infertile couple. So now you're faced with the decision, do you try again? Can you cope with it? Is your relationship strong enough to survive this? Should you explore other options like adoption? We attempted 3 cyles at IVF, all of which were unsuccessful. We thought long an hard about what to do next, and decided that it was a huge financial burden, was far too stressful on our relationship, and we decided against any further attempts. So my advice....research is important. Make sure the clinic you go to has a good reputation. Check their success rate. IVF in general has about a 25% success rate on average, and the important thing to remember is that if you do become pregnant the statistics show that with IVF even when you do become pregnant, you have a 20% chance of losing the baby. There is also an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, due to the fact of when the embryos are inserted, they may well implant outside of the uterus. Lastly think long and hard about the stress of it all, and can your relaitonship sustain this, and can you face the heartbreak of it failing. All in all for us IVF was not a positive experience in our lives, although I know there are a lot of people out ther for whom it has been wonde
rful. We're just not one of them.
Who needs men? A question women no doubt ask themselves every day. However, this question takes on a whole new meaning with the advent of pioneering new research which allows two women to have a baby that is genetically their own. The astonishing research from Australia means there is no need for sperm to fertilise an egg - it can be fertilised from any cell in the body. This will open the door for lesbian couples to have a baby which will have two biological mothers. Freaky huh? Well, certainly, it is another issue which deserves careful ethical consideration before people take the plunge and children will have a mothers and a mother as their parents. The technique itself was developed during research designed to help infertile couples. The idea was to allow men who are unable to produce sperm to have children by using DNA from another cell to fertilise the egg of his partner. It has proved difficult because somatic (body) cells have very different genetic material to sperm cells (not least the fact that they have twice as many chromosomes). But, thanks to molecular and cellular biology developments, the technique has been successfully been applied in mice, and an egg has been fertilised using DNA from a somatic cell. The intriguing question is whether the embryo develops normally and whether the offspring itself will be fertile. Well, apart from the prospect of the ultimate feminist nightmare for certain men who have seen their masculine roles dwindle in the last few decades, what ethical issues must be taken into consideration before we even think about applying this technique. Is it acceptable to take such risks on what will be human guinea pigs? Is it a step too far in the use of IVF? Is it an example of the development of genetic technology being taken too far? Should gay couples be allowed to bring up children at all? I am honestly undecided about the technology and its applications. From the i
nformation I have so far, I would have to say that I am against the use of it, certainly of it is being used to give a baby two mothers. However, the question of to what extent this technology differs from gay couples adopting children is another interesting one. I just dont think it is fair on the child to deliberately deprive it of a father (or indeed a mother). I will no doubt be bombarded with nasty comments about this. In terms of the genetic technology, I think that if there are concerns about the safety of GM crops, and if people are still worried about the fact that we have the technology to clone a sheep, then to experiment with a gene tranfer operation such as this when the end-product is a human being, is unacceptable. I mean, in this case we just dont know that the baby will be born disease free and healthy. In similar operations in animals, there have been problems with the offspring. It is not just a case of 'oh we shouldn't be messing about with nature', I think, in this case, there are justifiable reasons why it is unacceptable to do so. On the other hand, if the technology is shown to be safe and effective, then it would mean a breakthrough for thousands of couples who cannot have children because the man cannot produce sperm. Here is where I can see the only possible acceptable use of the technology. For the moment it looks like we wont be getting the opportunity to practice the technology in the UK, since it is unlikely to be awarded a license. But there are bound to be places in the world where you will be able to use this technology, the question is, should you?
I had always hoped that IVF was something I knew about but would never need. However, this afternoon, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and all of a sudden IVF has become a very real possibility for me. As this opinion is about IVF and not PCOS I will just give a brief description of PCOS so you know where I am coming from. Women with polycystic ovaries can be put into two categories, those who have many small cysts on their ovaries that cause them no problems at all, and those who have polycystic ovaries and a range of other symptoms, including, but not limited too, excess body hair, acne, painful ovaries, lack of periods. I fall into the second category. Every month during a woman's "fertile" life, one of her ovaries will produce a folicle, or cyst, in which an egg will develop. In normal women, this egg is then released and the cyst disappears. In women with PCOS, the egg is rarely released due to an inbalance in hormones, and the cyst remains. The continuous lack of egg release leads to infertility. This is where IVF comes in. Without the ability to self-regulate egg release, a woman has a far smaller than usual chance of conceiving naturally. Small doses of hormones on a regular basis can kick-start the cycle once again, but in some cases, something more than this is needed. IVF may become the only option left open to a woman and her partner if she desires to carry a child of her own. IVF is harsh. It is no easy ride and certainly must not be undertaken without a knowledge of the procedures involved. The incredibly high level of hormones that the woman receives can leave her physically and mentally drained, and the egg harvesting procedure can be harrowing. Ultimately, there is no guarantee that the treatment will work. And many attempts may be required before either a successful result, or an unfortunate realisation that they cannot go on, be it for financial r
easons, health reasons, or maybe even relationship reasons. I cannot however, praise IVF enough. Although no results are guaranteed, it still gives hope to thousands of women who would otherwise be unable to conceive. I believe that IVF should be available on the NHS for all women who truely need it, but I fear that it may never be offered to everyone. I am in the fortunate position of being able to find the money for IVF if needed, and for this I can truely say that there would be no cost to great for my partner and I to have a child. Those who are not so fortunate though, really should have the chance to fulfill their dreams.