Megan was 25 when she and husband Mike started trying for a baby. She had regular periods and assumed they’d have no problems conceiving – but she had always struggled with her weight and four years later they were still trying. Told they would need IVF, Megan opted for a complete lifestyle change to maximize their chances – and successfully lost eight stone.
“I had always had problems with my weight,” says Megan from Hertfordshire. “My GP had been nagging me for years saying: ‘your health would be better if you lost weight…’. But I hadn’t really felt motivated enough to do it until we wanted a family.”
Megan and Mike started trying for a baby when Megan was 25. “Mike is ten years older than me and we thought we’d have no problems as I was still relatively young and I had regular periods,” says Megan.
“It was after about four years of trying to get pregnant that we thought something must be wrong. In the past I had undergone gynaecological investigations because I have always had incredibly painful and heavy periods. I had been checked for endometriosis and PCOS but didn’t have either.
My weight was causing an issue
“We went to see our GP and he referred us for hospital tests. On the face of it the hospital couldn’t find anything. Mike’s sperm was fine. We had ‘unexplained infertility’ but they said their best guess was that it was my weight causing the issue.
“There was an emotional toll of not being able to get pregnant while my friends were starting to and I was getting a bit upset about it. I tried to keep a lid on it because I felt guilty feeling like that, life goes on after all.
“When we were told we would need IVF we knew we would have to pay for it because although Royston is in Hertfordshire it falls within Peterborough and Cambridgeshire CCG which at the time didn’t offer any funding for IVF (one round of funded IVF has now been reinstated in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire).
“We had been saving for a deposit on a house and so had a decision to make. It was a bit of a gamble but we figured if it wasn’t successful, we would have to distract ourselves by saving up for the house deposit again.
We took steps to increase our chances of successful IVF
“We then did everything we could to increase our chances of the IVF working. Mike gave up smoking and I went on a pretty aggressive diet. Looking back on it I don’t think either of us were particularly nice people to live with during that time!!
“I managed to get my BMI down to around 28 from 36, losing eight stone over the course of a year. I had a complete lifestyle change. I restricted all my calories to a sensible amount and was in the gym every day. I was doing strength training, cardio and I had a personal trainer who I would see every couple of weeks to check that I was on track and she was really good.
“We started to look around at IVF clinics so that we could select one we were comfortable with. We chose Bourn Hall because they had better results and it was nice to have that link to the history of it being the world’s first IVF clinic. We felt like we were in very safe hands.
Our IVF worked first time
“Our IVF worked first time, we were so lucky. I didn’t need to set an alarm the day I was due to take the pregnancy test, I woke up at 5am and ran off to the bathroom to do it. When I saw that it was positive I was like ‘OMG it has worked!’. I woke Mike up. It was like being a child at Christmas again experiencing that ‘bouncing up and down on the bed’ kind of excitement!
“I rang my parents and sister straightaway to give them the news. They had all been really supportive throughout the entire process.
“Elizabeth (Effie) was born in June 2019 at Addenbrookes Hospital. I looked at this tiny little person and thought, ‘yeah okay I’ve made it now’.
“After Effie was born we knew that we would like another one. I have got a little sister and we are really close, there is only 18 months between us. So we stopped taking any precautions at all assuming that it would be just as difficult again and thought we would see where we were a couple of years down the line.
Complete shock when I got pregnant again – naturally
“So it came as a complete shock when I got pregnant naturally. I hadn’t had my periods for two months and was thinking it might be because I was losing my baby weight but then I did a pregnancy test and when it was positive I probably can’t repeat what I said!
“I broke the news to Mike. Effie hadn’t even turned one at this point. I said ‘ you are not going to believe this….’ It was a wonderful surprise.
“Effie is 3 and BB is coming up to 18 months old now. I am incredibly grateful to Dr Valentina Mauro and the whole team at Bourn Hall. I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that IVF has absolutely changed my life.”
Free consultation with a fertility nurse specialist at Bourn Hall
If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year or have a worry that you might find it difficult to conceive then you would benefit from a consultation with a fertility nurse specialist.
Tailored advice will include ways to boost your natural fertility, recommendations for tests and explanation of what the results will tell you and discussion of the treatment options that are relevant to you.
From this consultation, you will be in a stronger position to decide on your next steps. This might be to improve your fertility fitness and try naturally for longer. Or it might be to have tests to check sperm count and ovulation (egg production) – common reasons for infertility. Or perhaps it may be to gain a second opinion on a medical issue, for example if there is a family history of a genetic disorder.
The advice will be appropriate to you and your circumstances. You don’t have to be trying to get pregnant or need fertility treatment to have a free consultation.