Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Journey To Surrogacy

Whilst I was in the midst of my IVF cycle number 3, I met a group of wonderful, inspirational women. We spent so much time together on our intense journey, each of us with a different fertility problem and each of us with a very different life story.

We are all on our different paths to parenthood and each of these amazing women has a fantastical fertility story to share.

One of my wonderful lady friends has chosen the surrogacy option to complete her family and this is her story.

Tell me your fertility story.

After having my daughter in 2008 with no fertility problems, we quickly started to try for baby number 2. However over 14 months we had 4 miscarriages. After the 4th miscarriage, we were referred to a specialist who needed to complete a follow up ERPC, as a previous operation had not removed all the previous pregnancy products.

This follow up op triggered a rare condition called Ashermans Syndrome. Despite my pleas to the professional who had performed the op, I was ignored and this condition was not diagnosed until it was too late, my uterus had now fully closed up with scar tissue and I was unable to bleed (although I was still getting cramps and knew I was ovulating).

Two very invasive corrective surgeries later, we were given the all clear to try again, although instinct told me it would be a struggle. We decided to try IVF as we wanted to avoid further m/c and ensure a good embryo was given best chance of implanting. After 3 failed IVF attempts (2 of which getting a positive pregnancy test but then the pregnancy failing within days) the clinic advised that due to the Ashermans the quality of the blood in my womb was poor and the embryos cant bed in properly and we would need to try surrogacy to give our embryos the best opportunity to flourish.

How does secondary infertility make you feel?

Pretty sh!t!!! I know we have done it before and it feels a horrible failure to know I can’t carry a baby again nor give my daughter a sibling or my husband a bigger family. I feel very bitter towards friends who don’t understand yet “pop” babies out willy nilly and it is a constant concern in the back of my mind.

How has it affected your husband?

He has more up days than down but I think often he hides his feelings very well. He also feels frustrated when others fall pregnant quickly or don’t seem to understand our struggles……”well you have a beautiful daughter, you should be grateful for her” – that sort of attitude.
Tell me about your IVF cycles and their outcomes

1st round 29 eggs, 5 to blasto, fresh transfer (3 blastos) chemical pregnancy

FET 2 blastos another chemical pregnancy

2nd IVF, 25 eggs, 3 blastos, negative pregnancy test

3rd IVF 20 eggs and 12 day one embryos in the freezer!!!

Tell me how all of this has made you feel

I think frustration and failure are the overriding feelings

Tell me about your journey to surrogacy

We took surrogacy in small steps, which I think is the norm. After the clinic advised this option we did some research and were horrified to find out that surrogacy in the UK allows the surrogate to go onto the birth certificate and that she can in the first 6weeks after birth decide to keep the baby. However after dipping our toes in a bit further we now have no concerns at all and it feels a very “normal” process!!

How does this make you feel?

We feel there is light at the end of the tunnel and I feel relief that there is not more pressure on my poor body to do the baby making anymore. After 5 years of heartache and my body failing me we can now write my body off as a retired baby maker!!

How does your husband feel?

At first he was a little unsure. As is often the case, I as the women, have been the driving force behind the different steps we have taken. But after meeting many Intended Parents (IP’s) or surrogates it feels so normal to us. These are all normal people that simply have had a lot of bad luck and need a “tummy mummy” to help them complete their family.

Tell me about the organisation which you are working with to facilitate your surrogate path

There are 2 routes to surrogacy. Using an agency that matches you with surrogates abroad where you can pay a fee and the process is legally binding, i.e. that baby is ours in the eyes of a court from conception. We choose the less clinical route and have used one of the 2 UK organisations Surrogacy UK (the other is COTS). Surrogacy UK (SUK) is a non profit organisation and their motto is “friendship first”. It can often take longer to find a surrogate than with COTS, but the relationships tend to be longer lasting. SUK have socials arranged by members / volunteers each month (one up north and down south) where members and non members can meet other IP’s or surrogates and share stories, get support and hopefully “click” with a potential surrogate. There are also message boards / chat forums which are a hive or activity and a fantastic support mechanism.

What stage are you at now and how are you feeling?

We went to our first social as non members in Dec 2011, went to their bi-annual conference in March 2012, joined in May 2012, got approached by our surrogate in September 2012, did IVF in Oct 2012 and are about to have our first transfer in March 2013!!!!

I have mixed feelings, fear that my old eggs will let us down and excited that this time next year we could have completed our family!! Our surrogate is a pro (having done this 3 times before), very positive and convinced we will have a big healthy bouncing boy – which freaked us out as we always assumed we would have a girl followed by a boy…….so watch this space!!!

Any words of wisdom for those in the same position as you?

Don’t give up, explore all options even if they seem alien and unconventional and hold onto that dream……..

She is an inspiration! Never give up hope.

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Falling Naturally Pregnant After IVF Treatment

Those who read this blog will know that I’m on the quest to fall pregnant naturally after my 3 rounds of IVF. It would seem strange that I, having gone through so much fertility treatment and so many years of trying to get pregnant without success, would still hold out hope that one day I will miss my period and take that pregnancy test, and it be positive.

In fact if anyone dare say to me that this might happen, I get seriously annoyed. But you can’t stop a girl from hoping!

I met some amazing women on this journey, especially my wonderful cycle buddies from the ARGC. One of them is now naturally pregnant. And this is her story.

 What is your story? What led you to the IVF route for conception?

We got married in 2008 and decided we wanted a family straight away so we started trying in November 2008. I was pregnant by the February which we were over the moon about but unfortunately when I went for my 12 week scan the baby had died at 6 weeks so I had a missed miscarriage as I didn’t bleed or anything we were devastated we started trying again around June but nothing was happening, so in March 2010 I went for acupuncture and was really pleased that the next month I found out I was pregnant. We had a six week scan and all was good, so the next scan was at 12 weeks. At around 11 weeks I had a sharp pain in my left side and went into a panic so phoned the hospital and a day later had a scan to find out the baby had died at 91/2 weeks again another missed miscarriage we were devastated we then went privately for investigation and everything came back normal so we started trying again and by Christmas I still hadn’t got pregnant do I went again to see my doctor and he suggested IVF  as I was now 37 nearing 38 I was again in shock petrified and devastated as I thought I was fertile … When I went to see a consultant he referred me to Liverpool but because ‘ there was nothing wrong with me ‘ hey put me on a year’s waiting list so I would be nearing 39 so I went into a state of panic !! During this time I was talking, texting and emailing my cousin frantically as she is an embryologist and she told me about where she worked and that they deal with  your immune system and your natural killer cells and she thought it would be a good idea to get them tested that’s how I came to use ARGC

I  went down to the ARGC in the May for my initial consultation and I started the monitoring cycle days later as I was at the right time in my cycle and I started down regulating three  weeks later !! Things moved really fast I had my natural killer test done during this time too and surprise, it was through the roof …

Did you try any alternative treatments or take any supplements to support reproductive wellness?

No I didn’t take any other supplements apart from pregnacare duo (the one with the fish oils too) but I did cut out caffeine and aspartame but I have to say I did still keep having a little chocolate

Tell me a bit about your treatment and what your IVF experience was like.

I started down regulating on June 4th, two weeks later I moved to my cousins in London so that I was close to ARGC as you have to be in the morning at 730/8 and I would never have got there from my home in Wales.

Two weeks later I had a scan to see how the down regulating was going and all was good except they found a endometriosis cyst on my left ovary which need to before they could start treatment so the next day I was booked in for a hysteroscopy and my cyst aspiration then on that evening I ‘ got the call ‘ to start injecting, this lasted for approximately 10-12 days then I had to ‘ coast ‘ for two days as my ovaries were over stimulating the cure was to drink four litres of water a day plus my litre of milk – was on the loo loads then I had another scan and ‘ got the call’ to take my pregnyl, then two days later they collected my eggs. I had 26 eggs and as we were having ICSI they called me the next day to say 13 had fertilised which is good. I went to day 5 blasts and had two put back and was so lucky to have two blasts frozen too.

How long after your IVF baby did you find out you were pregnant?

I gave up breast feeding when my daughter was 5 1/2 months   I found out I was pregnant six weeks later.

How long had you been trying for?

This was the first month of trying

What was your reaction?

We were both shocked – still are! The initial reaction was sheer joy and happiness then I went into complete worry and panic as I knew my killer cells were really bad during my pregnancy with Chloe as I had to have IVIG right up until I was 30 weeks pregnant, so I phoned ARGC straight away and they saw me the next day. They started me on clexane, cyclogest, aspirin and told me to get gestone and prednisolone. They monitored my hcg levels and progesterone levels every other day till I got a heart beat at 6 1/2 weeks I was then told to take gestone but as my NK test had come back normal I didn’t need to take prednisolone at the moment I had my NK cells tested a month later and they were normal and then a month later again and they came back normal and no further testing needed wow wee I can’t believe it!

How do you feel about having paid for IVF and are now naturally pregnant?

I feel that if I haven’t have gone to ARGC, that this pregnancy would never have happened to me and that paying for my first cycle of IVF resulted in our little miracle baby girl and I would never regret any penny spent. She is our world and ARGC have supported us in this pregnancy equally even though it’s a natural pregnancy which again is a miracle and we both feel truly blessed and thankful we heard about Mr Taranissi and the ARGC

What are you going to do with your frozen embryos?

I honestly don’t know what we are going to do with our frozen embryos

Do you have any words of wisdom for those struggling with infertility?

All I can say is, I put all my trust and faith in Mr T and I did everything he suggested or advised without questioning it. I stayed very very positive throughout my treatment and I kept myself to myself apart from a handful of friends that I’m still in contact with now and without their support wouldn’t have been so positive. Try to stay away from waiting room negativity and chat rooms as they will only bring you down and make you worry listen to the nurses and doctors they are honest they will tell you if there is a problem but the girls in the waiting room don’t know your history, so please don’t listen to anyone else and believe me I never thought it would happen for me and it did!!

Are there any differences between your IVF pregnancy and this one?

No the only difference to this pregnancy is the sickness till about 14 weeks and the tiredness is really bad but I think it’s because I have a 9 1/2 month old to run after and entertain now so I can’t sneak a sneaky sleep in the afternoon

As you can see everyone has a different story and there can still be hope after infertility. Maybe there is hope for me after all?

I would love to hear your story too.

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