Angela's IVF Journey

Angela’s IVF Journey

Welcome to my fertility¬†blog! If you’re anything like me then you would have read hundreds, if not thousands of things on the internet some of which are quite contradicting. I’ve been on the fertility journey for over 4 years now and I wish I knew back then what I know now so I wanted to help people with their fertility journeys. Even if I help just one person with my blog then I will definitely feel ‘job well done’.

I also felt that sharing my journey would be a way of expressing my thoughts and feelings on it. With every day of going through the process I have come to realise that the more you talk about it the better it becomes and it makes you less stressed trying to keep everything in. Even if you are not actively on a cycle of fertility treatment, it never leaves you – there’s always part of every day that it’s on your mind.

I am by no means an expert in fertility, I am still on my journey – I have not been blessed with a child as yet but all the same felt compelled to share my journey to help others.

I guess my journey started when I was 18 years old and was diagnosed with a condition called Cushing’s Disease. This is a tumour on your pituitary gland. As your pituitary gland controls a lot of hormones it affected my fertility. I literally no longer have the hormones to tell my body to thicken my lining, to release my egg or to know how to stay pregnant and as a result I will need to have treatment to get pregnant. Thankfully I had my tumour removed so in that area I am ‘cured’ – all be it on medication for life. So, I wanted to say from the start that I am not the easiest of patients with such a complicated medical history but one thing I know is that I will never give up until I have my very own baby.

One more thing I should add is that I am doing this process as a ‘single mum’. I was in a relationship and in all honesty, part of the breakdown of this relationship was due to the stresses of fertility treatments. What I do have though are amazing friends and family who have been the biggest support to me during the highs and the lows of the process.

I hope you enjoy reading this, and for everyone who is on the fertility process I wish you all the best of luck. X

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Where it all began….

In March 2012, with my partner we decided to embark on fertility treatment. I knew due to my previous health issues I would need fertility treatment. I completely underestimated the process and the length of time it would all take. This is from someone who isn’t very patient with anything. Embarking on a fertility journey has certainly taught me to be patient!

The initial referral took 6 months and my partner and I went along to an appointment where the Dr literally rubbed his hands together saying ‘how easy it would be for me to get pregnant’ so we left the room literally skipping and feeling elated…..unfortunately this was not to be.

I embarked on stimulation drugs to get my ovaries working and unfortunately I didn’t respond. I was later told I had gone into early menopause so my only route would be egg donation.

I won’t go into too much detail about this clinic as it wasn’t a clinic I enjoyed going to, but once on a cycle I felt obliged. The staff had no empathy and it became clear very quickly that this clinic were mainly interested in my money. As a result, my partner and I¬†ended up going to Spain twice for egg donation. The first time we went out there my partner’s sperm was fertilised with the donor egg and we got 15 eggs, 12 fertilised and 5 got to the blastocyst stage so I had 2 embryos put back in on separate occasions. After the 2nd cycle, I couldn’t cope with the clinic I was with – I didn’t feel comfortable, it wasn’t a enjoyable experience.

This process was to later cause huge strain on my relationship with my partner and we eventually split up.

By this point it was the beginning of 2016 and I was too determined to give up on my fertility and decided that I would get a 2nd opinion….


Getting a 2nd Opinion

In March 2016 I decided to get a 2nd opinion about my fertility. I had already visited the fertility show at Olympia and met the most incredibly friendly people from Shady Grove in Washington, America. I knew of a lady who had visited Shady Grove and couldn’t sing their praises high enough and had been fortunate to have a gorgeous baby son born by egg donation.

After some great communication with Shady Grove I flew out to America and saw the wonderful Dr Michael Levy for a complimentary day. I had a detailed consultation with him and then a scan…and WOW what a scan…he saw follicles! Something I had been told were non existent. I couldn’t believe it!

I have skipped quite a bit, but should say here that it took an awful lot of deep, deep soul searching on my part. No one will know what its like to go through this process unless you’re going through it and to go through the whole process of the fact that I would never have my own biological children. So, to be told I had follicles and therefore the chance to have my own biological child just blew my mind.

It was there and then that Dr Levy referred me to the Lister Clinic in London, but most importantly James Nicopoullos. I made the decision to have a sperm donor and to have baby and become a single mum.

Choosing my Sperm Donor and my First Cycle of IUI

Choosing my sperm donor was such an exciting experience. I thought it would be really hard to choose who I wanted to be the donor for my baby, but actually it ended up being incredibly easy. I realised eye colour and height weren’t important to me, but the personality became important. The donor I chose also had a similar educational background to me as well.

The first treatment James (from the Lister Clinic) suggested was IUI – less invasive than IVF where the drugs that you take stimulate your follicles, eggs get released and at the same time the sperm is put inside in the hope that the 2 will collide. At the time of thus cycle, my sperm sample hadn’t arrived at the clinic in time for when I needed it and my friend and I thought we would go to the Sperm bank to chase it up. Well, I’ve never seen a group of people look so shocked or go so white as they did. I don’t think they had ever had anyone go to the sperm bank direct to get the sample. Needless to say, it arrived first thing the following morning.

Unfortunately, IUI didn’t work. Whilst I knew I could stimulate my follicles (only a very small number), what I didn’t know was did I produce eggs. So, I decided my next cycle would be IVF.

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