It was a chance conversation with her GP that gave Janene Harwood and her partner Simon the advice and access to the funding they needed to become parents. Simon had always wanted to be a dad but as he was already in his mid-40s he thought he had missed the boat.
There is an opportunity for everyone to find out more about the causes of infertility from experts at a Fertility Convention hosted by Bourn Hall Clinic at Orsett Hall on 2nd February.
Janene explains that she was in her early 30s when the couple from Southend got together: “We were both conscious that age was not on our side,” says Janene, “but we had no reason to think there would be any problems conceiving. I had just always assumed that I might get pregnant the first time.”
An unexpected conversation with her GP forced Janene to face an uncomfortable truth: she and Simon might need medical intervention to help them conceive.
“It was my doctor who brought up the subject of fertility, as my appointment was for an unrelated matter,” reveals Janene. “When I told her that we had been trying for a baby she offered to send us for tests because of my age. I was 38 and if we needed IVF treatment a referral would have to be made before I was 40 for us to be eligible for NHS-funded treatment.”
Common causes of infertility
Although age is a common cause of infertility – egg quality and quantity decline quickly after the age of 35 – there are other reasons such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – which causes irregular release of eggs – and, in men, a low sperm count. The quality and quantity of man’s sperm can vary markedly from one month to the next. These are two of the issues to be discussed by experts at the convention.
Janene and Simon were referred for fertility testing to diagnose the reason they were struggling to conceive. Hospital tests were inconclusive so the couple were referred for IVF, and they chose to go Bourn Hall Clinic for treatment and further tests. “I had a tubal patency test and that all came back fine,” Janene says. “Simon’s sperm was mostly fine.”
Unexplained infertility, where the reason is not clear and might be caused by sub-fertility on both sides, is also common and is frustrating for patients. “We were advised that IVF with ICSI would be a good treatment for us because they could pick out the best sperm under a microscope and inject them directly into my eggs in the lab,” says Janene.
The treatment at Bourn Hall worked first time and the couple became parents to Noah, who celebrated his first birthday a few weeks ago.
Essex is a ‘postcode lottery’ for NHS funded IVF as each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) can decide for itself the level of funding.
Only Thurrock provides the three cycles of treatment recommended by NICE as providing the optimum level of care to maximise the chance of pregnancy. With this level of treatment 8 out of 10 patients have a baby following NHS IVF treatment at Bourn Hall. Basildon and Brentwood, Mid Essex and North East Essex provide no funding; Southend and West Essex offer one cycle; and Castle Point and Rochford provide two cycles of treatment.
Advice about reasons for infertility, boosting your natural fertility, fertility testing, treatment options, funding and financing treatment are all to be discussed at the Fertility Convention, which includes a free personal consultation.
Event: Fertility Convention, Orsett Hall, Thurrock at 1.30 on Saturday 2nd February 2019
Find out more about common causes of infertility, testing and treatment. Opportunity to hear presentations by fertility experts, gain advice from complementary therapists and have a free consultation.
- Overcoming Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): how it impacts fertility and ways to boost your chances of conception – Dr Arpita Ray, Lead Clinician, Bourn Hall
- Male infertility – common causes and life-changing treatments – Dr Mike Macnamee, CEO, Bourn Hall
- The mystery of unexplained infertility and how lifestyle changes can help – Dr Jitu Jadhav, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist.
More information and registration: www.bournhall.co.uk/news-events/