Week 3: Why IVF?
I had issues with my cycle from the get go; I started my period at 15 and started on the pill almost immediately. Although I obviously wasn’t sexually active yet my mother was scared!
At 18 I fell pregnant and I was devastated. I was still a trainee hairdresser and felt too young and was so scared. At 14 weeks I miscarried and, to be honest, I was relieved. I wanted to party and plus I had loads of time. The following years I was on every pill you could name, my periods were so heavy and irregular some months I’d get them twice some months not at all, I carried tampons everywhere, just in case.
My GP referred me on to a specialist after years of no luck and guess what followed? More years of no luck. No explanation, just pill after tablets, scans, public hospital waiting lists. So at the age of 24 I decided to come off the pill and I’ve never had a period since. Another 3 years of attending “fertility clinics” and I still had no answers. Money was spent and time was running out.
I knew I’d have to get help elsewhere so I saved and educated myself and the week we came home from our honeymoon we set off to a well known Fertility Clinic’s open day. Instead of enjoying being married I desperately wanted to have a baby with my husband. The start to our newly married life was going to be a stressful one.
Why we chose a particular clinic over other clinics?
Obsessively, I looked up reviews, what clinics had the best doctors and the most up-to-date scans. The clinic that we chose was the only clinic to offer certain tests, the first to introduce many tests. Yes it wasn’t convenient I felt, yes it’s expensive but I wanted a baby. I’m so glad I chose it as even as failed cycles creeped up on me they make you feel like you’re not just a number. This is really important when you’re spending so much money. You want to feel like there’s no one else, only you and your partner and each time that’s how I felt.
Each IVF treatment cycle is roughly two months long. Each one costs about €6000 for everything, this includes all general test and the four key steps below. Remember your cycle can be cancelled at any time, but try to stay positive and never give up.
IVF treatment involves four key steps:
Stimulation of the ovaries: With two weeks of taking stimulating drugs. My husband Mark helped to inject these drugs into my stomach. It’s really important to involve partners in the IVF process as it’s as much their journey as it is yours. This drugs trick your body into thinking its pregnant so as you can imagine the side effects are similar to being pregnant, without the actual baby bit.
Egg Collection: The Egg Collection is scheduled once the follicles have grown to the optimal size. Fourteen eggs were collected this time round.
Fertilisation: Mark produced a sperm sample on the morning of the Egg Collection. (Depending if it’s fresh or frozen it’s an intense time of bloods, scans, monitoring your ovaries, your womb and your health). The eggs are then fertilised.
I opted for The Early Embryo Viability Assessment (Eeva) test at an extra €500 as it’s clinically proven to increase the accuracy of predicting viable embryos at an early stage.
Six out of my fourteen eggs successfully fertilised with Mark’s sperm. Yipee!
Embryo Transfer: The embryos are transferred into the uterus. I also opted for Blastocyst transfer for an extra €1000. Standard practice in IVF involves the replacement of embryos into the uterus after 3 days. Blastocyst transfer however involves extending the period that the embryos are cultured in the laboratory to 5 or 6 days, this increases the chances of getting pregnant. Two out of my six fertilised eggs lasted until day 5. I decide to transfer one egg and freeze the other.
During this process you need to be as stress free as possible so try choosing a time when you haven’t much on, if possible.
Do you have questions that you want to ask Denise? Or would like to show her your support? Feel free to comment below.
Want to see behind the scenes footage of Denise’s IVF journey? Follow her on Snapchat username: dephillipa or Facebook: MillionDollarBaby.
If you are affected by issues raised in this article or would like access to further information and support, please see contact information below.
National Infertility Support and Information Group
For NISIG Website Click Here
Image copyright of Gary O’Donnell click here to see other work