One Egg Short of A Dozen – The Start of An IVF Journey Ellie Thompson 14 July, 2016 Blogger, Features, Planning, Pregnancy This is my first public diary entry of my IVF journey. WOW. I’ve said it out loud… I know IVF treatment is by far from a taboo these days, but from my experience so far, I’ve only very recently had two people to talk to that have gone through it, and those two people have both come out the other side with beautiful bouncing babies. They were the lucky ones. We’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year, so for a long time it’s felt as though everybody else in the world has managed to have healthy, beautiful children, but for one unexplained reason or another, it’s not quite happened for us. I wanted to document my IVF journey on here to perhaps provide some kind of comfort to other readers embarking on a similar journey and to give readers an insight into my experience and the IVF experience as a whole – whatever the outcome may be. Thirdly, I’m hoping that the discipline of keeping a journal will be a good way to deal with what’s ahead, with dear God, hopefully a happy ending. So, here I am, inviting you to sit tight with me, as this could be a long story… Once Upon A Time… I turned 35 years old in May, and boy, the biological clock that you hear about your whole life, is really ticking now. With an AMH of just below average, and following all the basic tests, (semen analysis for him, a clear ultra sound and hysterosalpingography for me) we’ve been slapped with the current label “unexplained infertility”. To wait for treatment on the NHS may prove too late for us. We’d have to wait another 15 months before we’d be eligible. The quality and quantity of my eggs will have decreased drastically by then. Treatment when I’m 36 and a half will also probably mean we’d have left it too late to have more than one child, assuming for a split second we’d be lucky enough to have a first. Choosing a Clinic We’ve agonised for quite some time about this one. We’ve attended open days, checked out clinics at The Private Pregnancy Show and done quite a bit of online research via the HFEA, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, aka the official regulating body in the UK. From our experience of chatting to different clinics, we were flummoxed to find out that each clinic will at least hint at bad mouthing the others, from the reliability and transparency of a different clinic’s stats, to the preferred method, tests and practices performed within, so in the end you wind up even more confused as to who to trust, making that vital decision a million times harder to make. Live birth rates v clinical birth rates. One embryo or two? Those seem to be the two important arguments being tossed about in these places. Last week, we made our decision to go with Nuffield Healthcare in Woking, Surrey. Having seen at least three other places, it’s certainly the one with zero bells and whistles in terms of ambience and decor – there are no freshly painted white walls and trendy couches with decorative plants in marble pots. It was ‘hospital’ all the way. I instantly disliked it on arrival. On walking through the hospital to The Victoria Wing for our initial appointment we got slightly lost. Frustrated and down-beat, I suggested just leaving then and there. I’m glad we didn’t. We met Caroline Lewis, a lovely nurse, and the manager of the department. Caroline took us into her office, sat us down, and served up some much-needed straight talking. We left after 40 minutes, noticing the hundreds of baby photos in the many framed collages as we made our way along the hallway, in no doubt that we had finally found our clinic. Our GP referral was sent registered post the next day, and on receipt, Nuffield called us back to get us booked in for our consultation and repeat of a semen analysis and a repeat AMH. We have to wait a month to meet with our assigned consultant, Mr Riddle, which gives us some time to think about how the heck we’ll attempt to pay for the treatment. We’ve been advised not to expect the first cycle to work. That’s around £7,000k down the drain straight off. IVF is a serious business. Dear Mr Bank Manager, please approve our loan.