Sabrina and her husband were told they needed IVF, but to have fertility treatment, she would need to lose weight significantly to get her Body Mass Index (BMI) below 30.
Sabrina says: “I married my husband Carl nearly ten years ago. I had always known that I wanted children .”My best friend had had a baby and there were babies being born all around me and I wondered when it would be my turn.
“People had always said to me that I would be a fab mum but I didn’t say what we were going through; it is only after the event that I started telling people.
“We tried for a good three years and nothing happened, so I went to my GP and had some initial tests and everything seemed okay.
“Then Carl had his sperm tested at the hospital and there was an issue with their movement, they were going round in circles, the doctors said they would never be able to make the journey needed for conception.
“I was absolutely relieved when we were given a possible cause. All along you are in an unknown, wondering why. Is it me? Is it him? What is it?”
Reduce BMI for fertility treatment
Sabrina admits that she was overweight and was told by the hospital consultant that they couldn’t be referred for fertility treatment until she had drastically reduced her Body Mass Index (BMI) which is used to indicate that someone is a healthy weight.
“We were told that I needed to get my BMI lower,” says Sabrina. “It was me needing to go out and work at it, and I did. I signed up for Weightwatchers online and started going to the gym at work.
“And because I knew that I wanted a child more than I wanted a slice of cake or some chocolate that was my motivation. I knew that if someone offered me something I shouldn’t be eating I would say ‘No’. I knew what my goal was at the end of the day.
“Over the next nine months I lost four stone.”
Following Sabrina’s impressive weight loss and new fitness regime the couple were rewarded by being referred to Bourn Hall Clinic for fertility treatment.
Bourn Hall used ICSI which involved removing some of Sabrina’s eggs and directly injecting one of Carl’s sperm in to each egg to help fertilisation occur. The best quality embryo was then transferred to Sabrina’s womb. Most typically ICSI is appropriate when there is a male factor to a couple’s infertility and can be used in instances including poor sperm motility (movement).
“At that stage we didn’t know how my body would accept it,” says Sabrina. “I guess until they put the embryo in you just didn’t know.”
“My work were really sympathetic, giving me time off after treatment, I had really good support. I didn’t find the experience stressful at all, for me it was a really lovely time because I knew what I was aiming for.”
The couple were delighted when the pregnancy test a fortnight after treatment confirmed that Sabrina was pregnant.
“We were over the moon,” she recalls, “but it wasn’t until we went for our first six week scan at Bourn Hall on New Year’s Eve in 2012 that we both thought ‘oh my goodness, this is happening.'” Jakub was born in August 2013.
Motivation helped her reduce BMI
Sabrina says: “I was never much good at dieting but oh my god was I determined!
“It was so worth it as almost a year to the date that I was told I would need treatment I was actually having the treatment done and by the following year I had a gorgeous baby boy in my arms.”
Sabrina is full of praise for Bourn Hall. “I had a lovely experience at Bourn Hall,” she says. “Everyone is so friendly. We did go back with Jakub to see everyone afterwards and took them chocolates and a thank you card. Chocolates and a card seem nothing compared to what they gave us, but it was just a little bit of appreciation of what we’d got, this little boy, this amazing little thing.”
Sabrina’s advice to anyone worried about their fertility is to go and get themselves checked out. “I would definitely say to people that they should seek advice if they have been trying for a baby for a while,” she says.
“It is not until you start talking about it that you realise how many people go through the same issue. Don’t put it off.”