Adam and Anna from Stowmarket recall the isolation and heartache they felt trying for a baby month after month – with no success.
“We were in our own little bubble and thought that we were the only ones struggling,” says Anna. The couple first started trying for a baby five years ago after they got married. As time went on and nothing happened Anna found it increasingly difficult to cope emotionally.
“We would go out and Anna would have her ‘pregnancy goggles’ on,” says Adam. “She could spot pregnant women a mile off and it would upset her. I tried to support her and remain positive.”
Adam says: “It is only now that we are open about our situation that we realise that there are plenty of people out there who have experienced fertility issues, or know someone who has, and that we are not unusual.”
When to go for help
According to the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority over 90 per cent of couples conceive naturally within two years. If you haven’t conceived for a year however, or you know you have a condition which affects your fertility, you should go and see your GP to discuss next steps.
Adam and Anna had been quick to visit their GP to get some advice in the early stages of trying to get pregnant and were told to go back once they had been trying for a year.
“We went back to the GP after we had been trying for another 12 months and were then sent to our local hospital for tests. Anna was put on fertility medication but still nothing happened,” says Adam. “We were eventually told that we had ‘unexplained infertility.'”
Not alone in trying for a baby
Unexplained infertility is the reason given when tests can detect no underlying cause and is extremely common.
“I found the diagnosis incredibly frustrating because I would have liked a reason for us not being able to conceive and would have found it easier to come to terms with,” admits Adam. “‘Unexplained’ was difficult to get my head around.” The couple were referred by their hospital for NHS-funded fertility treatment at Bourn Hall Clinic just outside Cambridge and went along for an information seminar with a group of other couples.
“The seminar was really informative and answered a lot of our questions,” says Adam. “Most of the couples in the room were our age which really reassured me too and I had thought everyone would be older. I realised that it wasn’t just us having these problems.”
Anna recalls the overwhelming relief she felt at finally arriving at Bourn Hall. “When we began our journey with Bourn Hall I felt like I was at my most broken and that my body had failed me,” she says. “The staff made us feel so welcome and at ease right from the start.”
Adam agrees: “Bourn Hall were fantastic. They were brilliant from start to finish and going to the Cambridge clinic is not like going to a hospital, the historic building and its setting is so beautiful.”
Helping with medication
Throughout their treatment Adam was at Anna’s side every step of the way and administered her hormone injections in the weeks leading up to the IVF procedure.
Anna and Adam’s first cycle of IVF treatment was unsuccessful but their disappointment soon turned to joy just before Christmas 2016 when they found out that they were expecting a baby after their second cycle.
“We had been heartbroken when I didn’t get pregnant the first time and were so happy and relieved when it worked at the second attempt,” says Anna. The couple were able to tell their close family the good news over the festive period and Emily was born on July 27, 2017.
“I was induced but it took four days for Emily arrive so we were both shattered when she was born!” laughs Anna. “It was just brilliant, we were so pleased.”
Don’t be scared
The couple are now very settled in to family life and Adam describes himself as very much a hands-on dad. “I am more than happy to get up in the night and change nappies or whatever needs to be done,” he laughs.
Anna is full of praise for the experience she and Adam at with Bourn Hall Clinic:
“For anyone about to have IVF I would say ‘don’t be scared, just go with it,’ “ she says. “Bourn Hall gave us the hope we needed and they make miracles happen. We cannot thank them enough for making our world complete.”
Fertility Fayre provides advice and support
Bourn Hall Clinic is hosting its second Fertility Fayre on Saturday November 4 to coincide with Fertility Awareness Week.
The event is open to anyone looking at how to get themselves fertility fit and give themselves the best chance of getting pregnant. There will be a range of wellbeing advice on offer as well as medical advice on different aspects of fertility and treatment. The event is completely free of charge and will run from 10am to 3pm at Bourn Hall’s historic clinic just outside Cambridge. For more information.