One small step starting school, first big milestone for their parents

Adele Woodward and Adam Miller from Ipswich are, like thousands of 4 year-olds around the country, starting school this September – but for both sets of their parents it is a very special day they thought they might never experience.

Their parents were unable to get pregnant naturally and received NHS-funded IVF treatment at Bourn Hall Colchester. This week the two ‘Bourn Hall Babies’ popped in to visit the staff at the clinic before their big day.

Dr Arpita Ray, Regional Lead Clinician IVF in Suffolk
Dr Arpita Ray, Regional Lead Clinician

Dr Arpita Ray, Lead Clinician at Bourn Hall Colchester, was delighted to see the duo:

“Starting school is a big step in a child and their parents’ life and is even more special for those parents who thought they might never be able to have a child at all.

“Since Bourn Hall opened its doors in Colchester we have helped thousands of couples from Suffolk and Essex to have a family of their own and it is always fantastic to see those babies and follow their progress as they develop into little people. It was lovely to get a visit from Adam and Adele, they were just delightful.”

Lost weight to overcome PCOS 

Adele’s parents Rachel and Arren Woodward had IVF treatment at Bourn Hall Colchester because of fertility issues caused by Rachel’s Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.

Dr Ray is an expert in PCOS and says diagnosis of the condition often only occurs at the point that a woman experiences fertility issues:

Arren and Rachel with Adele
Arren and Rachel with Adele

“PCOS is a complex syndrome that produces a wide variety of symptoms, which makes it difficult to both diagnose and treat,” she says.

“Patients often report having seen different specialists over a number of years for treatment for various symptoms – acne, excessive facial hair, weight gain, heavy periods – without the realisation that the problems all have the same cause.”

Rachel went on a low-carb, high-fat diet and lost over a stone in weight before her successful IVF treatment. She says, “When I saw the positive pregnancy test it was the first time I had seen one and it seemed surreal. I firmly believe that the weight loss had an impact on our chances of conceiving – and that the change in my mental outlook had an impact too.”

Thought I would miss out on all the precious moments

Adam’s mum and dad had IVF treatment at Bourn Hall Colchester after being told they had unexplained infertility. For a long time Cara Miller thought she may never be a mum, and experiencing a milestone such as her own child starting school seemed out of reach.

“I spent years facing the prospect of never having children of my own,” says Cara. “Watching adverts on TV featuring small children used to literally make my heart ache. I tried not to let myself daydream about all the little moments I was going to miss like giving my own child a bath, bundling them up in a fluffy towel, kissing and smelling the top of their head and putting them to bed.”

Cara and Stewart with Adam and Evie
Cara and Stewart with Adam and Evie

When Cara took a pregnancy test after her treatment at Bourn Hall she was overwhelmed to see the result. “When the result showed up positive I just cried and cried. I was over the moon, I just couldn’t believe it.”

When Adam was a toddler, Cara and husband Stewart returned to Bourn Hall and now have a baby girl, Evie, aged 8 months.

Infertility complex so advice from fertility specialist is a good step

Forty percent of infertility cases are due to male factors and forty per cent are due to female factors, with the remaining 20 per cent either a combination of both partners’ factors or unexplained – so expert advice is invaluable.

Bourn Hall is holding a Fertility Awareness Roadshow  in Ipswich Wherstead Park, Ipswich on Saturday 21 September, which is an opportunity for anyone to come and ask questions.

New service – NHS Fertility Diagnosis and Treatment 

Bourn Hall has recently been awarded NHS Qualified Provider status and is now able to offer a free fertility diagnosis and ovulation induction treatment service to patients referred by their GP, with no waiting times or need to visit the hospital.

Read more about this here.


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