“IVF means everything to me,” says Angela who is all set to host Christmas dinner for 13 people this year. If she had not had IVF treatment at Bourn Hall some of the most important people on the guest list – her twin daughters Nikki and Becky, grandson Finn and new granddaughter Cleo – would not be there.
Angela and her husband Martin were early patients at Bourn Hall. Their daughter Nikki also recently had treatment at Bourn Hall for secondary infertility and her baby Cleo will be enjoying her first Christmas surrounded by the whole family.
Early patients at Bourn Hall
Angela says: “I arrived at Bourn Hall 32 years ago and had my embryo transfer in October.
“I was 24 when we first started trying for a baby. Throughout the ten years we sought help I went through everything; they gave me every examination possible.
“People would say when are you going to have a baby, it is about time you have been married for ten years… infertility wasn’t talked about so much then.
“It wasn’t until I actually had the twins by caesarian that the doctor told me ‘there is no way you would have conceived naturally’. When I was 21 my appendix burst and whilst my fallopian tubes were not blocked, when I gave birth to the twins, the doctors could see I had got all these adhesions from the peritonitis.
Heard about the IVF pioneers
“My doctor basically said you can’t have IVF on the NHS, but we’d heard about Bourn Hall and the pioneers and we came here.
“My cousin Jenny, worked as a nurse at Bourn Hall and she took my bloods and helped with my injections.
“I came over here in the middle of the night for the injections to release the eggs and they ‘put me out’ with a general anesthetic when I had the egg retrieval. I think I was probably in overnight or all day and that was it and when I had the embryo transfer, I had to lie with my legs up. I was told to go home and put my feet up and rest for a fortnight!
“Only my sisters knew we were having IVF – none of my friends did. I didn’t say anything at all. But as the girls got older, I was more open about it and they have always known they were IVF babies.”
Bourn Hall grandchild
Nikki already had an 8-year-old son, Finn, conceived naturally, and with her partner Liam she welcomed daughter Cleo in May this year after successful IUI (intrauterine insemination) treatment at Bourn Hall. The whole family – especially Cleo’s proud big brother – can’t wait to celebrate their first Christmas with her.
“We are such a close family,” says Angela. “We all live five minutes from each other and when Nikki was having her IUI treatment it was Becky who administered her injections.
When asked what IVF means to her, Angela becomes tearful. “It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I would never have got pregnant if I hadn’t had IVF. I was 32 when I had the twins, which was old in those days. If hadn’t had IVF I would never have had a family.
“Now I am a grandmother twice over too. It has been quite a journey. I cannot wait for Christmas Day with all of us together.”