In 2011, following a couple of years of trying to conceive naturally and four attempts at IUI, my husband and I finally walked through the door to Medfem Fertility Clinic. I remember the sense of dread we both felt and how overwhelmed we were to see others in the waiting room – was infertility this common? We had no idea of the statistics (one in six), and had never investigated infertility and were completely innocent to what was ahead of us. And I remember that day having the most comprehensive consultation I ever received in my life. We walked out of there feeling a hundred times better and knew exactly what the future held in terms of tests and investigations.
As I was suffering from premature ovarian failure time was not on our side. We needed to harvest whatever eggs we could as fast as possible. And so began IVF and I can honestly say I hated every moment of it. The hormones, the mood swings, the weight gain, the pure fear of whether my body would yield eggs, would they fertilise, would they implant, would I fall pregnant. Thankfully I had been seeing Mandy Rodrigues the counsellor at Medfem, who was able to guide me through the process and help me get through all the hurdles. My husband and I were devastated to find out we had only one viable embryo and held out little hope for a pregnancy. But miracle of miracles happened and we received a positive pregnancy blood test 12 days later. Both Dr Rodrigues and Sister Heather had looks of complete satisfaction/happiness on their faces giving us the news.
Roll on our six week scan and Dr Rodrigues nearly fell off his chair – our little embryo had split and we were expecting identical twins. Dr Rodrigues did warn us of the complications that could arise from identical twins but nothing could burst our bubble. We were over the moon.
Fast forward to our ten week scan and it was with great sadness that Dr Rodrigues told us that it looked like our twins were developing some problems. We then had an emergency appointment with a fetal specialist who confirmed that our little boys had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and one of the boys had a condition called Prune Belly Syndrome – the outlook was dismal. If we could make it to 16 weeks pregnancy then there was a possibility of having surgery overseas to save the boys. Unfortunately they passed away at 14 weeks gestational age. During this time the entire Medfem team rallied behind us, sending us messages, answering our hundreds of questions, and finally offering what comfort they could for our tremendous loss.
A few months later we decided to try again. My AMH and FSH levels were worse than ever and we knew there was little hope of falling pregnant with my own eggs but we had to try. IVF #2 and #3 yielded such bad quality eggs that they barely made it past fertilisation – we never managed to do another transfer. Dr Rodrigues had warned us of this and had also suggested to us to start investigating using donor eggs. During this period I spent a great deal of time discussing how I felt about using donor eggs with Mandy the counsellor. After our last IVF failed I had reached a point that I was totally comfortable with using donor eggs to help us build our family. Our goal was to have our own healthy baby – not necessarily one of my own genes – just our own.
Again the staff at Medfem were amazing, talking to us about the process, helping us to choose a donor, and giving us all the support they possibly could. Eventually, on the 28th June 2013, after our second IVF cycle using donor eggs we found out we were pregnant. I cried, my husband cried, the nurses were all teary eyed, my husband and Dr Rodrigues smacked each other’s backs like proud peacocks. It was just the most surreal moment.
Our darling daughter is now seven months old and the most amazing gift we could ever have received. She makes our hearts smile and laugh with each breath she takes. We will be forever grateful to the Medfem Fertility Clinic doctors, nurses and staff (and their amazing modern technology). This wonderful team were behind us all the way. IVF is a stressful process and donor egg IVF a more elevated stressful process. To have members of the team visit us on the morning our daughter was born says it all about Medfem. I doubt we could have made it through all we had been through without this wonderful team.