This blog, written by Jane, is the first of five instalments about Maidstone couple Jane and Alex’s true IVF journey…
IVF can be an absolute blessing or a heart-breaking experience. Either way it is a rollercoaster – one which my husband Alex and I decided to ride – for the second time.
We were in the enviable position of having already been successful once through IVF and cherish our gorgeous daughter. Three years on, with no natural conception happening, we decided to try for a second IVF child. It is not a decision we took lightly and I would not recommend IVF for those who simply want to hurry the process of conception along. It is an emotional and expensive process – but we saw it as our only option and one that had worked for us in the past.
This second time around I felt I knew what to expect yet during the consultation I realised 3 years had made a huge difference in the private medical sector.
Technology and treatment had progressed hugely with more refined equipment and medical advances such as ‘embryo glue’ (yes it exists and we were happy to utilise it!)
We were given a pack which explained everything and I realised that I was far from being prepared for IVF. But I don’t think anyone can be prepared for this type of ‘emotional technology’.
The process is logical. After controlling your menstrual cycle, IVF then boosts your egg supply through drug stimulation, the clinic monitor your body’s response, collect the mature eggs, fertilise them in the lab and transfer them back into the uterus.
Blood tests and paperwork are part and parcel of the standard procedure but every couple has a different IVF path depending on their fertility issues, health, age, weight, menstrual cycle etc.
We were told that the odds of us being successful again had reduced. My age was a factor (37 thank you very much) as during your 38th year fertility dips once again. On the NHS website, the IVF success rate drops from 27.7% for women aged 35-37 to 20.8% for women aged from 38–42.
So, to give us the best chance of success we were advised to have ‘ICSI’ – a process where the sperm is injected into the egg rather than simply mixed in a petri dish like a fertility cocktail party. This would increase our chances of success to approximately 45% so the route to take for us was obvious.
Alex and I left the consultation with very different feelings. Alex was feeling better, more positive and practical about it. I was a jelly on a plate. Reality had hit home.
Our first IVF treatment had been free on the NHS – a fact we are very grateful for. This time we would be paying privately and the cost was to be approximately £6,000+.
With money tight and only a 20% – 45% chance of success some people may ask “why did we want another child?’ Surely we should be grateful for the child we have and stop there?” My answer would be that they are correct. But the ‘second child situation’ simply can’t be explained.
It is a state of mind that comes from the heart rather than the head and I cannot explain the want and need to procreate. Some people have it, some people don’t. As it turned out we did.
Our next step along the IVF journey was the drugs – not a word usually associated with pregnancy! And so the adventure began…
For more information on IVF success rates, fertility treatment options and detailed information see the NHS website