“To use the old cliché, what a difference a year makes; in our case that difference was CARE”
Totally frustrated whilst smiling and congratulating the various pregnancy announcements of others around us and eager to get our family started we booked an appointment with our GPs. As a result we were referred to our local Women's Hospital for fertility tests and informed (Quite a few months later) that we required IVF to help us start a family. The bewildering thing at this time was that we were told we had unexplained infertility. Otherwise translated to “we have no idea why you aren’t getting pregnant”.
Immediately, I began researching clinics and policies and immersing myself in all things IVF. In truth, I found this period of time lonely and stressful. I isolated myself. I came off social media to avoid pregnancy announcements and couldn't help but be filled with doom and gloom. I struggled to see how IVF would work when they couldn't even pinpoint what our ‘problem’ was. We made the decision to tell family and friends about our IVF journey and were amazed at how many people were actually going through the same thing.
Although CARE was always our first choice, having heard first hand a number of personal success stories and attending an informative information evening at the Nottingham Clinic, our local CCG (Care Commissioning Group) had other ideas and informed us that we could only receive our one NHS-funded treatment cycle at our local hospital; this was the IVF lottery in action.
Personally, I didn't find the physical aspects of injecting or egg collection particularly painful it was more the anxiety it evoked that I found hardest to cope with. How many follicles have I got? What were they measuring? How many eggs were collected? How many were mature? Did they fertilise? What day would transfer take place? This was even before the dreaded two week wait. We endured 2 failed cycles at this clinic; one where nothing fertilised and then following a miserable Christmas in 2015 (after a negative pregnancy test on Christmas Eve following a further failed IVF cycle) we made the decision to move to CARE.
This story isn't intended as a sales pitch but it truly was the best decision we ever made. In January 2016, we called and made an appointment with the team at CARE Nottingham. We were seen quickly by Dr Francis in February where he discussed our treatment protocol. He was adamant we did not require additional procedures, despite me asking for them! He was open, professional and knowledgeable and instantly filled myself and my husband with confidence that we were in the right place. We embarked on our first ICSI treatment in March and the difference in protocol and treatment was immense. This cycle was stress free (well as stress free as is possible with IVF) in comparison to my previous cycles. We had better outcomes across the board with more eggs collected and more embryos making it to blastocyst.
On the day of embryo transfer we were adamant we were going to have 2 embryos transferred after all we thought it would increase our chances, wouldn’t it? However, Dr Francis and the embryologist advised us to have a single transfer with any further embryos being frozen. We put our faith in the team at CARE and the rest as they say is history. We had a positive pregnancy test (or a BFP if you are up-to-date with the online lingo) in April and our beautiful Freddie was born on the 19th December 2016.