Rainbow baby arrives after NHS funding gives one chance with IVF

“Cutting the NHS funding for IVF has a dramatic impact on people’s lives and mental health,” says Donna from Cambridgeshire talking about what her rainbow baby means to her. “Even offering one try on the NHS offers hope, we are proof of that, we had one try and were successful. This isn’t going to be the case for everyone but it can help people achieve their dream.”

A ‘rainbow baby’ – is a healthy baby born after a previous miscarriage – it comes from the idea of a rainbow appearing in the sky following a storm.

Donna had four miscarriages in the space of six years and was then unable to fall pregnant again. “I had been to see my GP after my first miscarriage but was told that it was something which was pretty common,” says Donna.

“But after my fourth miscarriage I went back to the doctor because something was clearly wrong. I am someone who doesn’t dwell on things and tries to keep strong but without me realising it I had been really affected and it had put a strain on both of us.”

Donna’s GP referred her to Hinchingbrooke Hospital in 2011 and she was told to carry on trying to get pregnant for another year.

“When I went back a year later and hadn’t got pregnant I underwent a hysteroscopy to look at the inside of my womb. Everything looked normal so I was told to go away again and try for another year,” says Donna.

Lifestyle changes

When Donna went back for her third hospital visit a year later and was still not pregnant, the consultant urged her to lose weight and make some serious lifestyle changes.

“I joined a slimming group and realised that it was better to eat far more regularly and that jacket potatoes and pasta were just fine,” says Donna. “I ate more than I had ever eaten before, lost weight and never felt hungry!”

A year later the results of Donna’s lifestyle changes were evident: “The consultant at the hospital was really pleased with my progress,” says Donna. “An ultrasound had also picked up that I had possible signs of polycystic ovary syndrome and I was referred for NHS-funded fertility treatment at Bourn Hall Clinic.”

PCOS diagnosis 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects between 5-10 per cent of women and is a common cause of infertility. After attending an open evening at Bourn Hall Clinic Donna and husband Chris were seen by a Bourn Hall consultant a week later and things moved very quickly after that.

Donna had to take a course of drugs to stimulate her egg production before undergoing a procedure to remove some of her eggs. These were then mixed with some of Chris’s sperm and left to develop for a few days using a process called blastocyst culture. One embryo was transferred to Donna’s womb and the couple then went home and had to wait two weeks before taking a pregnancy test.

“When I took the pregnancy test and it was positive after our first IVF attempt at Bourn Hall it felt like everything I had ever wanted,” says Donna, “but then panic set in and I worried that the pregnancy wouldn’t last.”

Donna opted to have some extra scans during her pregnancy to reassure her that the pregnancy was going to plan, including a 4D scan at 26 weeks. “The 4D scan was fantastic; we saw the baby moving around and holding his hands up to his face. He was a real baby and reality really hit,” says Donna.

Rainbow baby

rainbow baby Ronnie was born following his parents' treatment at Bourn HallBaby Ronnie was born in December 2015 and is now a bubbly three-and-a- half- year- old who loves going to his pre-school Clarence House in Chatteris – his mum couldn’t be prouder of him: “He is a funny, loving and caring little boy who is developing extremely well for his age as well as aspiring to be a Marvel superhero,” laughs Donna. “Attending pre-school is really helping him develop further and exceed his milestones.”

Grateful for NHS funding 

Donna, aged 33, and Chris, aged 35, are enormously grateful for the NHS funding they received for their treatment at Bourn Hall.

“We often look back on our journey with Bourn Hall and are still so thankful for their support and for having our treatment funded by the NHS,” says Donna. “We feel so lucky that our treatment worked first time. Many people cannot afford the cost of having IVF privately but I would still direct people to Bourn Hall because there are a number of opportunities for reducing the cost of self-funded treatment.

“I can honestly say that Bourn Hall made our dreams come true. The staff there made us so welcome and were so wonderful, we owe them everything for the life we have now with Ronnie.”

More information about Bourn Hall’s fertility advice, diagnosis and treatment for NHS and self-funded patients.

Following the decision by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG to not reinstate NHS funding for IVF in August 2019, Chris and Donna set up a petition to try to bring funding back to enable other couples to have the same chance they had – read more on The Hunts Post here.


High-tech 4D pregnancy scans give parents reassurance

“It was amazing seeing my baby before he was born!” explains Lucy, as she speaks about her experience of 4D pregnancy scans.

“It was incredible that the photos taken in the 27th week of my pregnancy look exactly like Ryley on the day he was born!”

4D pregnancy scans

3D and 4D high-tech scanning is a service offered by Bourn Hall Clinic to provide extra care during pregnancy. For any expecting couples that are concerned or want additional reassurance, the team at Bourn Hall are there to help and provide their expertise.

Lucy, 32 and her husband Simon, 34, decided to have an additional ultrasound scan in December 2011 as they wanted reassurance their baby was developing as it should, after four years of trying for a baby.

Lucy says “Simon wanted to find out the sex of the baby – I didn’t! Luckily Ryley was positioned in such a way they couldn’t tell, so I got my way!”

The road to pregnancy, particularly when going through IVF, can be a difficult one.

“I came off the pill in 2007. We tried for over a year but nothing happened. I went to my doctor and we were referred to Colchester General Hospital. We visited the hospital several times over a year and a half but they couldn’t find any reason why we were unable to conceive.”

This is not uncommon, and in general a third of fertility problems are because of male infertility, another third are because of female infertility and the remaining third are unexplained problems, like Lucy and Simon’s case.

“At Bourn Hall Clinic in Colchester the egg collection and fertilisation process produced eight fertilised eggs. They returned one embryo but unfortunately it wasn’t successful. I was okay about it; I wasn’t expecting it to work the first time and I knew we had five of the original eight embryos frozen, so I was optimistic about future cycles.

“I had two of the frozen embryos transferred and then we had the nervous two-week wait. I lasted 11 days and that night I couldn’t wait any longer! I had a voice recorder set up to record my sleep talking, so when I found out I was pregnant I ran back into the room, told Simon I was pregnant and now we have the whole thing on tape!”

Lucy and Simon are now the proud parents of baby Ryley who arrived on the 21st of February 2011.

Looking back on her experience, Lucy says: “Everyone at Bourn Hall was really nice and friendly. They were always willing to explain anything we asked and comfort us if we had any concerns. When Ryley was old enough we took him back to the clinic to show everyone and it was lovely to see everyone share our happiness and joy.”


4D pregnancy scan a “really wonderful experience” says mum

A pregnancy scan can provide additional reassurance that all is progressing well for couples that have struggled to conceive or have had some concerns in early pregnancy.

Charlotte decided to have a 4D scan late in her pregnancy to help her relax and enjoy being pregnant.

Ultrasound scans are a routine part of care for pregnant women and over the last few years advances in technology have made it possible to observe unborn babies in the most remarkable detail.

Pregnancy scan reassures

Charlotte, who was 29 when she became pregnant, explains that the early stages of her pregnancy were not an easy time for her or her husband Simon.

“Early in the pregnancy we were told that our baby was at high risk of Downs Syndrome based on my blood test results. We were offered various options but decided to have an amniocentesis. We were extremely relieved to find out that our baby was fine but then they became concerned about his growth rate and also whether my placenta was working properly.”

Charlotte underwent additional scans at the hospital which thankfully showed that baby Oscar was doing well. However, the couple felt that due to the anxious start to the pregnancy, they had missed out on some of the excitement experienced by other couples when seeing an ultrasound of their first child.

“The scans had been a worrying time for us; we didn’t look forward to seeing our baby, just dreaded what the consultants would say. So when the opportunity came up for us to have a 4D scan I chose to have a reassurance scan at 33 weeks.

“On arrival at Bourn Hall we were warmly welcomed, we were introduced to the sonographer and she explained what they would be looking for throughout the scan. Lots of time was taken over getting the baby’s measurements and predicted weight, a DVD was taken and we got some lovely 3D pictures.

“It was a really wonderful experience and allowed us to enjoy the remainder of the pregnancy knowing our baby Oscar was healthy and well.”


4D pregnancy scan a "really wonderful experience"