Bourn Hall was one of the first fertility clinics to be approved by the Government to reopen to patients after the first lockdown last year. Time is critical in fertility treatment and we wasted no time in ensuring that as many patients as possible were able to continue seamlessly with their fertility treatment once our doors had re-opened.
Freeze all put treatment on ice
Jenna had been just days away from starting medication to prepare her body for a frozen embryo transfer when all fertility clinics were instructed to close during the first lockdown – leaving her and husband Shaun devastated.
“The lockdown delay to our fertility treatment was initially hard to take. We felt like the rug had been pulled out from under us and that time was just slipping away,” says Jenna, aged 35. “It was at times compounded when we would hear people moaning about being stuck at home with their children when we would have given anything to be in their position.”
Before lockdown Bourn Hall had frozen 12 of the couple’s embryos as a ‘freeze all cycle’ after Jenna developed symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). The decision to freeze all their embryos was based on medical advice in the best interests of Jenna’s health and to enable her body time to recover before getting pregnant.
The couple, who have been together for 12 years, are both pragmatists and used the time during lockdown to focus on their health – both physical and mental – and for Jenna to recharge.
“We recognised that the delay to our treatment was out of our hands and we decided to use the time to look after ourselves and de-stress,” says Shaun, aged 38. “We had gone through a lot to get to this point, but with every door that had closed for us another one had opened and so our motto became ‘we haven’t got this far to only get this far.”
Bourn Hall was quick off the mark to develop a strategy to ensure safe working practices and patient care as soon as the implications of Covid-19 were known, and was one of the first fertility clinics to be approved by the Government to reopen in May.
One of first to re-start treatment
“When Bourn Hall called to say that I could start my treatment cycle again, I cried my eyes out with joy to the nurse on the end of the phone who had delivered the much-awaited and very good news,” says Jenna. “We felt really positive and excited to be moving in to the next phase of our treatment.”
The couple were interviewed by BBC Look East shortly before their treatment resumed, during which Jenna articulated their sheer joy at being able to continue with their fertility journey: “Bring it on!” she said.
Two of the embryos from the freeze all cycle were thawed for embryo transfer on 25 June 2020. Owing to the tight Covid-19 restrictions Shaun was not allowed to be present at the procedure.
“We got to Bourn Hall on a gorgeous sunny day and we walked through the beautiful grounds and went and sat under one of the big trees to spend a while in quiet reflection and meditation, having a peaceful moment waiting to get the call for Jenna to go in and thinking ‘this is it!’” says Shaun.
Embryo transfer itself is less invasive than egg collection. “It was actually really quick!” says Jenna.
Two weeks later a pregnancy test confirmed that the couple were to finally become parents; Shaun and Jenna found it overwhelming. “Wow, what a moment,” says Shaun. “It was as special as I imagined and we just sat on the bathroom floor looking at the positive test result, sobbing.”
When they found out they were expecting twins it felt like fate. “Funnily enough I had always imagined myself with twins when I was younger,” says Jenna.
Ray and Evelyn were born on 16 February and Shaun describes the day they took their babies home and walked through their front door together as a family for the first time as “amazing” and “the proudest day of my life.”
“Although at first the lockdown felt like an unwelcome delay in our treatment, now that Ray and Evelyn are here we just feel that everything was just meant to be,” says Shaun.