Cambridgeshire couple celebrate first birthday of their ‘miracle’

Thimath’s first birthday is set to be very special, his parents waited 14 years before successful treatment at Bourn Hall’s Cambridge IVF clinic . “We have planned a big celebration with our close friends,” beams his mum Krishani. “Our son is a miracle to us. He is our little prince.”

Krishani, now aged 39, encourages others to get advice as early as possible if they are struggling to conceive.

“We first started trying for a child as soon as we got married when I was 24,” says Krishani.

“As time went on nothing happened and people kept asking us why we still didn’t have a baby. My mum had died a few years earlier and I really missed her and struggled with not being able to talk to her about not being able to get pregnant.”

To find out more about our fertility advice, diagnosis and treatment click here. 

Krishani sought medical advice and was prescribed an ovulation induction drug and advised to lose weight.

“I found it really difficult to reduce my weight,” she says.

In 2007 Krishani and her husband Prasad moved from their native Sri Lanka to the UK so that Prasad could study for a Masters at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

“I admit that it was a relief to get away from the questions in Sri Lanka about why we were not parents yet,” says Krishani. “Most of my close friends already had children and I had felt under a lot of pressure.”

Cambridgeshire couple celebrate first birthday of their IVF ‘miracle’

Krishani went to see her GP to talk through her fertility concerns and was put back on clomid. She was still finding it impossible to lose weight and was referred to an endocrinologist who diagnosed her with insulin resistant syndrome.

Insulin resistance affects a person’s metabolism and is linked to a number of health disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome.

“I was put on metformin to regulate the amount of sugar in my blood and supervised by a dietician who was really supportive,” says Krishani. “I also joined a gym.”

Her new regime worked and within six months she had lost two stone. However, hospital tests also revealed that both of her ovaries were polycystic and the couple were told that their best chance of conceiving was with IVF.

“We were thrilled to be told that IVF might help us because we finally felt as though something might happen,” says Krishani. “My weight loss also meant that my body mass index was within the acceptable range for IVF treatment.”

The couple went to Bourn Hall’s Cambridge IVF clinic and their second cycle of treatment was successful.

“I couldn’t believe it when I finally got pregnant,” beams Krishani. “We had been married for 14 years and I kept saying to my husband ‘am I dreaming?’ I had a drawer full of pregnancy sticks and kept doing the test again to make sure!”

On 21 October 2017, Thimath was born. “He was a little bundle of joy,” smiles Krishani.

Krishani feels that her diagnosis of insulin resistant syndrome was key in her journey to motherhood and she urges anyone worried about their fertility to get advice sooner rather than later.

“There is so much that can be done to help people struggling to get pregnant and I would advise anyone struggling to conceive not to be embarrassed and to seek help,” she says. “For a lot of people some help with lifestyle changes or simple medical intervention could help them conceive naturally and if it turns out that you do need fertility treatment as I did then the younger you are the better your chances.”

Cambridgeshire couple celebrate first birthday of their IVF ‘miracle’


Couple welcomes baby Adam after 10 years of unexplained infertility

After ten years of infertility, Cara, aged 34, from Ipswich, is a proud mum to baby Adam. He was conceived following successful fertility treatment at Bourn Hall Clinic.

“I have wanted children since I was young and even as a teenager I helped out at an after-school club for young children.

unexplained infertility

“I thought that I had always managed to hide my feelings about struggling to get pregnant quite well and was taking it all in my stride,” says Cara. “But my mum said to me the other day that she felt that after many years she had finally got her daughter back. I must have been more upset and distracted than I realised.”

Childhood sweethearts

Cara and her husband, Stewart, were childhood sweethearts and have been together since Cara was 17. They first started trying for a baby when Cara was 25.

“We tried for a baby for a few years before we went to the doctor,” recalls Cara. “I was studying to be an accountant and working long hours so we put off seeking help. We did a lot of research on the internet and tried all kinds of suggested remedies to boost our chances of having a baby, but nothing worked.”

Tests unable to explain infertility

After the couple went to their GP they were referred to Ipswich Hospital and underwent tests, which could find no particular reason for being unable to conceive. As they had been trying for so long (most couples conceive within two years of trying) they were told that their best chance of a baby was to have IVF treatment at a specialist clinic.

The couple chose Bourn Hall Clinic in Colchester and Cara says it was a relief to finally be referred for specialist help, although she felt daunted at the same time. The staff put her at ease immediately and she says it felt as though they ‘held her hand’ all the way through her treatment.

Disappointing first cycle

After Cara’s first cycle of IVF her hopes were soon dashed as she started bleeding early after embryo transfer. “I didn’t even get to the pregnancy test stage,” she says. “That was my lowest point. I was grateful to have my two Labradors to cuddle.”

After a six-month wait, which Cara says felt like “the longest time in the world”, she underwent a second round of treatment. Unfortunately this occurred while the couple were moving house.

A happy ending

“The day I had my eggs collected at Bourn Hall we moved house so I had to leave Stewart to get on with the move and go by myself,” she says. “Not many eggs were collected and I was devastated. I sat in our new house and just cried. I kept telling myself though that it only takes one egg to make a baby.”

Cara’s eggs were fertilised using Stewart’s sperm and then kept for a few days in an incubator until they reached blastocyst stage, which is when they have the greatest chance of achieving a successful pregnancy. Two embryos were transferred to Cara’s womb and the couple were delighted to discover two weeks later that one of them had taken and she was pregnant.

unexplained infertility

“I didn’t feel pregnant,” she says. “I was too scared to get my hopes up but on the day I was due to take my test I couldn’t wait any longer and took the test at 4am. When the result showed up positive I just cried and cried. I was over the moon, I just couldn’t believe it.”

“I have always been maternal. My advice to anyone worried about their own fertility would be to seek help sooner rather than later”.

Nine months later Adam was born and his proud parents are looking to the future with a renewed optimism.

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Nothing would deter this would be mum

Kathleen was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries when she was younger which resulted in a 9lb ovarian cyst being removed via general surgery when she was 30; followed by additional keyhole surgery to remove scar tissue that caused complications from the previous operation. Undeterred she and her partner Paul agreed that they would try IVF for a chance of having a baby when they were unsuccessful in getting pregnant naturally.


The couple met when Kathleen was 25, they both wanted children but with job changes, moving locations and health concerns the pair had to wait until the right time.

Told she could never have children

“I was never told that I couldn’t have children,” says Kathleen. “But having been diagnosed with PCOS I expected there to be a problem. I also had a large ovarian cyst removed and the surgery had left significant scarring.”

After the surgery, the couple tried for several more years before seeking help. Looking at Kathleen’s medical history, her age and knowing her sister had similar difficulties in getting pregnant due to PCOS, the couple were referred by their GP to St Albans hospital for tests.

Blocked fallopian tube and cysts

Following tests, which confirmed Kathleen had one blocked fallopian tube and cysts on her ovaries, the couple were recommended NHS-funded IVF. Kathleen now 39 was just below the age limit.

“Of the three clinics we were offered we chose Bourn Hall Clinic Cambridge as recommended by a friend and convenient location,” says Kathleen.

The couple attended a seminar in July 2014 and booked their first appointment.

“The minute we walked through the door we knew we had made the right decision and we went in with a positive attitude and a ‘can do’ approach.

“Our consultant was very helpful and the session informative,” says Kathleen. “We knew the success rate was lower at our age but we didn’t want to get caught up in any related negativity.”

Paul experiences a major health scare

Just as they were starting their first NHS-funded IVF cycle Paul experienced a major health scare when blood vessels burst in his eye, affecting his vision. Paul was subsequently diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure.

Paul comments: “Following my health scare we were in two minds about continuing with IVF but as we had come so far and we appreciated how fragile life was we wanted to give it our all and carry on.”

Kathleen adds: “The whole ordeal was scary and we were unsure of the future but we hoped that as long as we followed doctors’ orders and tried our best the IVF cycle would have a good chance.”

Sticking with the IVF

In preparation for IVF Kathleen had to self-administer the drug to stimulate her ovaries. Bourn Hall provides all patients with a drug teach session to help them feel confident in doing this.

“I don’t like injections at the best of times so was daunted about doing it myself but I knew it was something that had to be done if we wanted to have a baby.

“I was shown how to inject myself and allowed to practice on a ‘jelly belly’ beforehand.

“Paul was really very supportive and sensitive and I told myself that if I did feel something – bad or good – it was because it was working.

“Luckily I responded well to the medication and produced good quality eggs.”

In early September 2014, 10 eggs were collected from Kathleen and fertilised with Paul’s sperm, of which four made it to blastocyst stage, which is when they have the optimum chance of success. On Day 5 two embryos were chosen to be transferred into Kathleen’s womb and the other two frozen.

The couple receives good news

The day before her 40th birthday Kathleen took a pregnancy test, which was positive. Kathleen attended the Clinic to have her pregnancy confirmed and over the course of her pregnancy was monitored carefully to check everything was going well.

Kathleen says: “You can’t help getting your hopes up and there were days we would doubt the success of the process but Bourn Hall looked after us very well along the way; I had frequent reassurance scans due to my age and previous health problems. The staff helped put us at ease and kept us well informed.”

On 24th May 2015 Harry was born.


“Thrilled to be a mum”

“I remember arriving in the hospital and due to my age being referred to as a ‘Geriatric’. You can’t get wound up about things like this as it doesn’t help and for anyone in a similar situation I would say ignore the figures and enjoy the experience.

“I’m thrilled to be a mum. I never thought it would happen but so glad it has. Age has been irrelevant for us: you deal with any issues as any new parent would.”

Since the birth of Harry, they have decided to donate their two frozen embryos for scientific research to help others.

Paul is great with Harry

Science has also helped Paul whose health has improved. Kathleen says:

“Thankfully Paul’s diabetes and blood pressure are now under control and after eye surgery the sight in his eye has been restored. He is great with Harry and I’m so lucky to have my two men.”

Paul concludes: “The staff at Bourn Hall were very positive throughout our IVF treatment and we could not have asked for better medical staff.  Bourn Hall was a great experience for us and we can’t thank them enough for helping us in the process of getting pregnant. Our whole future is looking rosy thanks to the help, guidance and support we received. Our family is complete thanks to Bourn Hall.”

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Waiting for a heartbeat to know the long wait was over

Lucy was just 16 when she met her future husband Andrew, and after a number of years together the Cambridge couple decided to get married. They were keen to start a family immediately.

Lucy explains: “We were trying for a baby for over two years and I was getting quite worried and anxious about it.  Everyone around us was getting pregnant easily which made it more upsetting.

“We didn’t know if one or both of us had a fertility problem and that was worrying.

Unexplained infertility

“Eventually we went to our GP who referred us to the hospital for tests. The tests didn’t reveal the reason why we were having problems getting pregnant but as we had been trying without success for some time they referred us for IVF.

“We chose Bourn Hall Clinic because it was local and also for its outstanding reputation for its IVF success.

“We met with the consultant and he went through all the details. We then back for a lesson on how to use the medication, which I would be injecting myself for just over a month.”

Fertility drugs to stimulate ovaries

Lucy’s agreed treatment plan involved her taking fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries to produce a number of eggs and to prepare her womb to receive the embryos.

Regular scans and blood tests were conducted during this time to monitor her closely to assess her response to the medication and decide when to proceed with egg collection.

Lucy produced seven eggs, which were put together with Andrew’s sperm on the day of egg collection. Five eggs fertilised successfully and these were matured for five days. Three good quality embryos made it to the blastocyst stage when there is the greatest chance of a successful pregnancy.

“I wanted to see the heart beating”

One of the three resulting embryos was transferred to Lucy’s womb, the other two frozen for a further cycle if required, and then the couple had an anxious wait to see if Lucy was pregnant.

Lucy explains: “It was a nerve wracking wait, after a few weeks I had a positive pregnancy test but I still did not feel confident. I wanted to see the heart beating.

“We went for a check-up at Bourn Hall at seven and half weeks. On seeing the heart beating and being told that everything was alright was a huge relief. The rest of my pregnancy went without any particular complications.”

“Delighted to have Zachary” 

Baby Zachary was born two weeks over due on the 22nd September 2014.

Lucy says: “We are absolutely delighted to have Zachary. It has been a long journey from start to finish but worth it.

“If we do need to have any more IVF we would certainly go back to Bourn Hall and we have two frozen embryos still at Bourn Hall in case we should need them in the future.

“IVF is not an easy process but Bourn Hall made it bearable. Everyone was so kind and friendly and the clinic didn’t feel clinical so you felt more relaxed.”

Encouraging others to speak up

Andrew concludes: “We would urge anyone who is experiencing problems conceiving not to be afraid to speak up and seek help. We were apprehensive at first and the process seemed daunting but in the end it was definitely worth it.

“Without Bourn Hall we wouldn’t have Zachary and we are so grateful to their staff for all their hard work and expertise.”

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12 years of trying before IVF success

Michelle from Suffolk has been through so much – she lost ten natural pregnancies and her first marriage failed under the strain – and she was devastated when her first attempt at IVF failed. Fortunately she was persuaded to have one last try and achieved her baby dream.

Recurrent miscarriage 

Having lost four natural pregnancies during her previous marriage, Michelle (now 34) knew that she had a fertility issue when she got together with Alastair (34) in 2007.

After two months together Michelle unexpectedly fell pregnant but again miscarried a few weeks later.

“It was a very traumatic experience for Alastair and me. I found myself questioning our situation and wondering ‘why me?’.

“Alastair realised that IVF was our best option and so once we’d got over the devastation of the miscarriage we went to our GP.

“He explained that it would take three years before we could be referred for fertility treatment and as I’d managed to become pregnant naturally that ‘you never knew and to keep trying’.”

During their three year wait, Michelle lost two further natural pregnancies.

Ectopic pregnancies

Finally, in 2010, Michelle was referred for investigation at a London hospital. Tests revealed that her one remaining functional fallopian tube was damaged and that all her miscarriages, which had happened within 11 weeks, could in fact have been ectopic: when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb. However no conclusive reason was given and they were told their only way to have a baby was by IVF.

“Not knowing the exact reason for why I had recurrent miscarriage was very difficult to deal with. I had hoped an answer would mean we could do something positive about our circumstances ourselves but IVF now seemed the only option.”

Referred to Bourn Hall for IVF

The couple were referred for NHS funded IVF and chose Bourn Hall’s Colchester clinic.

The couple started their fertility treatment in January 2011. Michelle was prescribed a course of medication to help stimulate her ovaries.

In early April, 18 eggs were collected but only one embryo made it to day five. This one fertilised blastocyst was carefully put into Michelle’s womb.

Chemical pregnancy

Two weeks later Michelle took a pregnancy test, which revealed she was pregnant. Unfortunately she started bleeding three days later. It turned out she’d had a chemical pregnancy, which is when a fertilised egg does not attach itself to the uterine wall.

“This was the first time I ever felt like giving up as I had been at this stage naturally.

“I even declared to Alastair ‘I think that’s it!’ but as it got nearer to us being able to try again I realised that if we didn’t take this opportunity we would regret it.”

Second cycle of IVF

In September 2011 the couple started their second cycle of NHS funded IVF and on a slightly different treatment plan, to try and improve the quality of the eggs that Michelle produced.

On 21st November nine eggs were collected from Michelle. Five days later she returned to the clinic to have two blastocysts transferred.

Michelle then had to wait two weeks before taking a pregnancy test.

“The test revealed I was pregnant but I wasn’t sure as I didn’t feel pregnant.

“When we went for the first scan I was delighted to know they could see a healthy baby inside me and in the right place!

“We then took each day at a time and due to my fertility history went for frequent check-up scans, which was reassuring.”

One last hurdle

The pregnancy was going well until at 32 weeks Michelle started to develop high blood pressure and swelling of her legs. She was diagnosed with preeclampsia and following a scan at 34 weeks taken into hospital. The medical team hoped to help Michelle keep her pregnancy until 37 weeks but unexpectedly she lost her waters at 35 weeks and needed an emergency C-section.

Isobel is born 

On 9th July 2012 baby Isobel was born.

“She’s absolutely brilliant! I’ve always wanted to be a mum and although it’s taken 12 years of trying Isobel has certainly been worth it.

“Alastair has been great, and although nervous to begin with, he was actually the first to feed her and change Isobel’s nappy.

“They are like two peas in a pod and it’s lovely to see them together.”

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Brave couple thrilled with IVF success

The mother of Bourn Hall Clinic Peterborough’s first baby is thrilled to bits; she says that when the couple were referred for IVF treatment it was “as though a weight had been lifted off her shoulders”.

Recurrent miscarriage

Sarah and her husband Daniel met at university and were together for many years before they married and immediately started trying for a family. Within the following two years, Sarah became pregnant twice but to her great distress miscarried with each pregnancy.

The couple were devastated; they went to their GP who told them that they wouldn’t be considered for fertility testing until they had three years without a pregnancy.

Sarah recalls: “It was a long further two years of trying to be positive before we returned to our GP. It’s hard seeing other people getting pregnant so easily when you’re not. People don’t understand how lonely it can be.”

Eligible for NHS funded IVF

The couple were eligible for NHS funded IVF treatment and chose to go to Bourn Hall as the results on the HFEA website were so good.

Sarah recalls: “The seminar at the Cambridge clinic was brilliant- informative and thorough. It was such a relief to be there. We had been doing all we could and still not getting pregnant so it felt like a weight had been lifted. It is also a lovely place to visit: like a country estate, where the staff were very welcoming and made you feel looked after.”

“Bourn Hall had impressive IVF statistics on the HFEA website,” adds Daniel. “Certainly choosing Bourn Hall turned out to be a great decision for us because it was just at the time the Peterborough satellite clinic was opening and we both worked in Peterborough.”

This meant the couple were able to have their initial consultations and appointments at the satellite clinic in Peterborough and would go to the Cambridge Clinic on two occasions for the egg collection and embryo transfer procedures.

Clinic staff helped to alleviate worries  

Sarah felt quite apprehensive about the treatment and the possibility of miscarrying again.

“I tried to remain positive throughout the process. I decided that I would have to leave it in hands of the professionals and concentrate on taking one step at a time,” she says.

“It was reassuring to know that if I did have any worries I could just pop into the Peterborough clinic. I did once when I wanted some advice. I was quite scared about the injections but the staff were so helpful and supportive.”

Jack is born

14 eggs were collected from Sarah, of which two made it to blastocyst stage when they are most likely to result in a successful pregnancy. One was frozen and the other one transferred to Sarah’s womb. Nine months later and baby Jack was born on 26th March 2015.

Sarah says: “I couldn’t believe our first IVF treatment worked! Being a mum is fabulous: the hardest job I’ve ever done but I love every minute. It’s been a long time coming but once we went down the IVF route everything happened so quickly.”

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Baby Rocco marks the end of 10 year waiting game

“It was just such a surreal thing being handed a baby and told he’s yours and you can go home with him,” says Harika, but that was reality for her and husband Craig after 10 years of trying to have a family.

The young couple met at their first job and knew right from the start that they wanted to have a family together. They started trying to conceive in 2005 and two years later the couple fell pregnant.

Ectopic pregnancy

Harika explains, “It had taken two years to get pregnant but we weren’t that concerned because we were still young at the time. Unfortunately it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy and I was rushed into hospital. When I woke up the consultant told me they had to remove one of my fallopian tubes and this would reduce my fertility.”

Another year passed, but Craig and Harika had not fallen pregnant again so they were sent to their local hospital for further tests.

“We finally felt like we were getting somewhere and then I fell pregnant naturally. Because I’d already had an ectopic pregnancy I almost felt like it was too good to be true.”

“You just think ‘why us’?”

Unfortunately Harika’s suspicions were true and at her 10 week scan she was told she’d had a miscarriage.

“I’d had a scan at 7 weeks and they showed us the heartbeat so I remember that being a really hard time for us. You just think why us, why do we deserve this. It is really bad luck for it to happen twice.”

Craig continues: “We were sent for more tests the next year but every came back fine. I’m not saying I’d of been relieved if they had found something, but sometimes when you are told what the issue is, it is easier to get your head round. You start to blame your lifestyle, but we have never smoked and we don’t really drink so we didn’t know what we could do.”

Referred for IVF

10 years

By this stage, Harika and Craig had been trying to start a family for six years. Harika recalls this being a very difficult time for them both.

“We started avoiding certain social situations to make it easier, like children’s birthday parties. People were always asking why we hadn’t had children yet. We found the easiest thing to do was be honest and we were never embarrassed, but then the person you were talking to would get so embarrassed you’d almost find yourself apologising for having fertility problems.”

The couple asked their GP to refer them for NHS funded IVF but the application was denied and after several appeals the couple were told they would not be accepted until it had been three years since they were last pregnant.

At this point the couple decided to draw a line under the past six years and get married. They got married in July 2012 and shortly after the wedding it was three years since Harika was last pregnant and so their GP referred them to see a gynaecologist.

Harika remembers: “We’d had the door closed in our faces so many times I didn’t know what to expect. Everything was a blur and the only thing I heard her say was ‘I’m going to refer you for IVF’. I burst out crying with relief that finally someone was listening to us.

Choosing Bourn Hall

“I’d heard about Bourn Hall before, over the years I’d done quite a bit of research about IVF and a friend of mine had twins from there too so I automatically chose to be referred to Bourn Hall for our treatment.”

By March 2013 Harika and Craig found themselves in Bourn Hall Clinic attending a seminar for NHS patients about to start their fertility treatment.

“The seminar was fantastic. I thought it was going to be really scientific but actually it wasn’t patronising, or spoken about in clinical terms, there were even jokes along the way and I think it made the whole thing feel a lot lighter.

“We had a late honeymoon booked in April and decided to go and enjoy that before starting treatment. It was actually our first ever holiday together in 10 years because everything had been about trying for a baby.”

Three cycles of IVF

Harika and Craig returned to Bourn Hall to start their treatment in May 2013. Harika says:

“I was hopeful it was going to work but I didn’t pin everything on it. I knew we were going to get three cycles of IVF so I just treated the first one as a trial run.”

Harika’s egg collection resulted in nine eggs which were fertilised with Craig’s sperm and five days later one of the resulting blastocyst embryos was transferred into her womb. From then it was a waiting game Harika says.

“I think the two week wait was the worst part of it all. Every little twinge made me think my period was about to come.

“We were gobsmacked”

“We were due to do a pregnancy test on the 2nd July but our first wedding anniversary was three days later. I couldn’t bear the bad news spoiling our day so we tested about five days early. It came up positive and we just stood there in silence. We were so gobsmacked, we just couldn’t believe it had worked first time for us.

“Despite our success, after all we had been through; I had a really nervous pregnancy. I’d made myself believe that I wasn’t capable of carrying a pregnancy. We made it to the 12 week scan and then I booked a private 16 week scan to make sure everything was ok. I kept on setting myself little targets like that all the way through but I never really believed I could do it. We never expected to take a baby home – ever.”

Rocco is born

Luckily this time Harika’s concerns were unjustified and on the 11th March 2014 baby Rocco was born.

“Even now I look at him with absolute amazement, to think that Craig and I created him – he has completed our lives.”

Craig adds: “The thing with IVF is that for the people that have it, it is a last resort. It gives people an opportunity to have something they couldn’t have otherwise. We’re so grateful we were given the opportunity to have a chance at IVF. We feel Rocco is extra special just because of what we’ve had to go through and obviously I’m really proud of Harika for what she had to experience.”

Harika says, “I think having NHS funding is an amazing thing, and look at all these babies that wouldn’t have been born without it. Rocco gives us a real purpose to life now and he wouldn’t be here without the NHS funding we received. I don’t think we will ever be able to thank Bourn Hall and the NHS enough.”

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Struggle to conceive puts ‘life on hold’ for couple

Call it women’s intuition, but 34-year-old Helen from Essex always knew having a baby might not be straight forward for her.

“I don’t know what it was, I guess I just know my body, but I always had an inkling something wasn’t quite right,” Helen recalls.

Helen and her husband Adam (30) first met when they were temporary Christmas staff at a book store.  They moved in together in 2007 and married two years later.  Right from the start, the couple knew they wanted a family.

Adam takes up the story: “When we got married we moved into a bigger house, in anticipation of starting a family.  The months went by and I wasn’t worried – it was only after a year I started to wonder if something was wrong.

“It felt like life was on hold”

“As time went on, we got increasingly down in the dumps.  The longer it took, the more pressure built up and the situation put our relationship under a bit of strain.  It was just frustrating; it felt like life was on hold.”

Helen adds: “It was tough, but we always felt we were on the same team.  The problem was, we felt we were on the losing team, which became very disheartening for both of us. Although neither of us wanted to apportion blame, we ended up blaming ourselves for our perceived failure.”

No definite cause of infertility

After three years of trying to conceive naturally, the couple decided to take action.  They were referred by their GP to a gynaecological consultant at the Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford for fertility tests.

Helen says not all the tests were pleasant: “I had a procedure called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), where a dye was injected into my womb and fallopian tubes to see if they were blocked.  I remember it was quite uncomfortable, but it had to be done to try and discover if there were any physical problems.”

The tests did not reveal any specific reason why the couple couldn’t have a baby without medical help.  Adam says, while they were relieved, they were also frustrated: “We were desperate to find out why we couldn’t conceive, but the tests showed no definite cause.  When you know what’s wrong, you often know how to fix it. It felt like we had no clues to go on.”

blastocyst transfer

Good first impression of Bourn Hall

The couple were offered NHS-funded IVF treatment and after looking at the options, chose Bourn Hall Clinic because of its high success rate and legion of satisfied clients.

The couple attended an open day at the Cambridge clinic, and instantly knew they had made the right choice.  Adam recalls: “The first time we drove up the road onto the country estate, we knew it was somewhere we’d feel comfortable. The grounds are lovely; it doesn’t feel like a clinic at all.”

The couple had IVF with blastocyst transfer, where an embryo is allowed to develop in the laboratory before being transferred to the womb.  After just one cycle, the couple got the news they were waiting for.  Helen was pregnant.

“Abigail is the light of our lives”

Their much-longed for daughter Abigail was born on the 29 March 2013 weighing 6lb 15oz.

Helen was thankful for a short, uncomplicated labour and says things have gone smoothly ever since: “Abigail is absolutely lovely and sleeps well most nights. She never really cries and we love showering her with attention.”

The couple have one frozen embryo stored at Bourn Hall Clinic and have not ruled out having another IVF baby.

Helen says: “We’re going to give it some time and some thought, and considering there’s nothing physically wrong with us, we’re hoping we might have another baby naturally.  We’re so incredibly grateful to Bourn Hall and delighted for now to have our beautiful baby Abigail, who is the light of our lives and we wouldn’t be without.”

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Bourn Hall Clinic Wymondham celebrates first baby

Sian and Ryan were the first patients to become parents following IVF treatment at the Bourn Hall Wymondham clinic as their baby daughter Yvie came early. Sian is delighted to be a mum: “Having her home from hospital is brilliant – I can now cuddle her when I want. We feel like she’s finally ours after all those years of waiting.”

Years of infertility

The couple first met in 2002 and Ryan says: “We’d always wanted to have children – but we wanted to get married first and for Sian to achieve her qualifications for her career.  We thought we were doing things the right way and you just don’t think you’re going to have problems.  We got married in July 2008 and we’re hoping to start a family straight away.”

After a year without success they went to their GP for advice.

Both Ryan, a pipe fitter for an oil and gas company and Sian, who works in human resources have demanding jobs.

Ryan continues: “We were given advice to make some lifestyle changes… including exercise and diet and to try and minimise stress, which was difficult in our jobs.  But the most stressful part was not knowing why we were having problems conceiving.”

Sian agrees: “We both felt under pressure; although we didn’t talk about it openly we were both worried it could be our fault.”

In the end it took more than five years before they had the cause of their infertility properly investigated. They were then referred for IVF treatment.

Endometriosis diagnosis

At the James Paget hospital, Sian underwent a “lap and dye” test; also know as a laparoscopic tubal patency test, to see if her fallopian tubes were blocked.  The results confirmed that Sian had endometriosis, a condition where endometrial tissue, which is normally found within the uterus, grows outside of the womb and is found in abnormal sites such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It was also the cause of the couple’s infertility.

Sian explains: “The diagnosis explained why I had suffered with such painful menstrual cycles which over the years were becoming increasingly worse.

“Our consultant said I would probably end up with a significant amount of scar tissue if the endometriosis was removed, potentially causing more harm than good, so it was decided not to operate before IVF treatment.”

Ironically, the best treatment for endometriosis is often pregnancy.

The couple were referred to Bourn Hall. Sian phoned the clinic and managed to get an appointment really quickly.

“IVF treatment is more common than you think”

IVF treatment involves stimulating the ovaries to increase egg production and these eggs are then collected to be fertilised with sperm.  Sian and Ryan were among the first to have egg collection at Wymondham in June 2013.  Their embryos developed in the laboratory for five days until they reached blastocyst stage.

The embryologist explains that three out of the four embryos were top grade:  “Yvie was a ‘hatching blastocyst’. We don’t see them very often as embryos don’t normally ‘hatch’ until they implant in the lining of the uterus.”

After two weeks it is normal to do a home pregnancy test followed by a confirmation a few weeks later. Sian could not wait and did the pregnancy test a few days early. She did it secretly before showing Ryan the results!

Sian recalls: “As much as we said we’d initially keep it to ourselves, we were so delighted we told our parents, my sister Amy and other family members.  We had kept the treatment fairly quiet, although some of my close work colleagues knew.  It wasn’t that we were embarrassed about having IVF treatment… once the results were in, we happily discussed it with others.

“I found the more I spoke to people about it – the more people opened up about their own experiences.  It was surprising how many other people had had help with fertility, including IVF.  It’s more common than you think.”

Being supported by Bourn Hall clinic Wymondham

Sian says that being able to have her treatment at Wymondham inevitably took some stress out of the appointments: “Coming to Bourn Hall we felt we had made it. We had utmost confidence in the staff. They are professional and caring and we felt in expert hands.

“At one point I was being monitored every other day. Travelling to Cambridge would have meant a three hour round trip and would have been very difficult juggling this with work.  I can’t say enough what an amazing service we had at Bourn Hall Clinic in Wymondham.”

Although the pregnancy was good to start off, Sian had the first indications of a problem at about 10 weeks when she began to bleed and went to A&E.

A difficult pregnancy

Although a scan revealed that the baby was fine, it was a very emotional and stressful time as Sian remembers: “We were very anxious and tried hard to balance taking care of myself with maintaining normal life, including work.

“My employers had been very understanding but I had felt that by missing work others were picking up my work load which was unfair at such a busy time.  After several other bleeds, and a pep talk from my midwife, I realised I had to focus on being an expectant mother and took the decision to take better care of myself.”

At the 20-week scan, the doctors discovered Sian had placenta praevia. This is a condition where the placenta grows low in the womb – blocking the cervix and causing bleeding. It affects around one in 200 pregnancies in the UK and it can happen in any pregnancy. It cannot be predicted and it is not associated with other conditions such as endometriosis.

Unfortunately Sian had a further bleed at 24 weeks. The condition began to create concerns: “As the baby was growing, the placenta was stretching, causing further bleeds.”

Every additional week was a bonus. On the fifth bleed and admission to hospital, the Chases went for a tour of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, which has special facilities for premature babies. “We were in denial and were sure we were going to get past 30 weeks but it didn’t happen.”

Baby Yvie is born

Yvie was born at 29 weeks at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on the 1 January 2014. She came home eight weeks later after receiving care at the James Paget neonatal unit. The couple are delighted that they have finally achieved their dream of having a family.

Bourn Hall clinic Wymondham celebrates first babyRyan says: “We are so indebted to the team at the Bourn Hall Clinic who have changed our lives.  Our advice to others is not to put it off. The most difficult part was enduring the initial screening process through the GP. Once that was out of the way and we were referred for IVF, it became less daunting.

“It is not straightforward but also not as bad as you think. We now have a beautiful daughter which makes the hardship and trauma that we have gone through seem insignificant and a distant memory.”

To read more about Bourn Hall Norfolk. 

Ref: CS051

Baby Jack arrives after years of unexplained infertility

“Chaotic” laughs Lisa as she reflects on how it feels to be a mum. But Lisa and her husband Miles’ journey to become parents took longer than either of them expected.

Unexplained infertility provides no answer 

“After trying for a year to get pregnant we decided to go to our GP to see what we could do. They referred both of us for tests at our local hospital, but they came back and everything seemed fine,” recalls Lisa.

Lisa was prescribed Clomid, a fertility drug used to stimulate ovulation, but unfortunately this wasn’t successful.

“It was heart breaking every month, soul destroying even, when another period came. You see people everywhere pregnant or with babies and it becomes overwhelming.

“Our GP said we had unexplained fertility and referred us for NHS funded IVF, which we chose to have at Bourn Hall Clinic near Cambridge.”

Unexplained infertility is the reason given for around one third of couples seeking IVF treatment in the UK. It simply means that, following investigative tests, no direct cause can be identified.

Through the IVF journey 

“As soon as we were referred things started to happen really quickly! We went for our first consultation before Christmas and started treatment in February 2013.

“It was really lovely at Bourn Hall. The clinic is in a beautiful setting and feels really tranquil. When you arrive you are usually worried and stressed, but because the building is so beautiful it just relaxes you a little bit and that helps with the whole process.

“I’d done a little bit of research about IVF and what was involved. As far as I could see IVF was our only option. We were just pleased and relieved that we had the opportunity to have NHS funding for our treatment.

“I remember being apprehensive about the treatment because I don’t like needles. I just had to keep telling myself that it would all be worth it and hopefully we’d have a baby at the end.”

During their treatment eggs were collected from Lisa and fertilised using Miles’ sperm through a process called ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) where a single sperm is injected into a mature egg to help fertilisation occur.

The embryos were then left to develop for five days until they reached the blastocyst stage. Two embryos survived, one of which was frozen and the other was transferred to Lisa’s womb.

Unexplained infertility

“Being a mum is incredible”

Two weeks later Lisa discovered she was pregnant and on the 30th November 2013 baby Jack was born.

“We felt so lucky to have been successful on our first cycle of IVF. Being a mum is incredible. It is totally different and has completely changed my life. It is stressful in a way I have never experienced before but when little Jack looks into my eyes and smiles at me…it’s just such a wonderful thing to be a mum.

“It meant everything to us to be able to have IVF funding on the NHS. We wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise and would probably still be trying to conceive naturally now. We were desperate to become parents and the funding was a god send.”

Unexplained infertility

Ref: CS055