IVF-Life UK has launched Time for Teachers to encourage people in education who are planning fertility treatment in the summer holidays to think about having their first consultation in June  rather than late July.  This may give them the chance of completing treatment before returning to school in September.  Read how former teacher Katie reflects on the benefits of treatment during the holidays, to minimise stress and maximise the chance of success.

Soon after my husband and I were married we got pregnant, naturally. We weren’t particularly trying, but were still in the honeymoon period, relaxed and living a stress-free life. I was a primary school teacher in a great school and my husband a director of his own company. Life was good and we were over the moon to find out we were expecting.

But fast forward four weeks . . . a heart-breaking miscarriage.

No one can prepare you for the loss and grief that you feel. I suddenly realised I was desperate to have a baby. It’s OK, I thought – it happened so easily for us, we will get pregnant again soon and have fun trying. Six months went by, a year, then two years . . . nothing.

Why me? Why us?

This had a profound impact on me. It felt like everyone around me was getting pregnant. It hurt. Why not me? I became insular, reclusive almost. I didn’t want to see anyone and face the questions. I didn’t want to talk about it. My husband and I both still grieving, shared the same emotions. It was us, just us, no one else understood.

After three years of trying and still nothing, I eventually went to my GP who referred me to the fertility clinic based at my local hospital. For the first time in a long time I felt positive about things. I was going to get ‘fixed’ and have a baby. But making appointments was tricky, I didn’t want anyone at school to know, so I just had to say: “I have a hospital appointment,” and luckily no questions were asked. To begin with anyway . . .

After investigations and then Clomid (to no avail) we quite quickly decided that IVF would be the best route for us. There was no explanation for why we didn’t conceive again after the miscarriage and I wanted to get started with it as soon as possible.

In hindsight, the timing probably wasn’t great as it was the start of a new term in school and I didn’t think about the appointments I would need and time off for the egg collection and embryo transfer.

Confiding in colleagues

I knew that I would have to confide in my headteacher and a couple of my colleagues who I worked closely alongside. My colleagues were great, very supportive and it was honestly good to speak to them and help them understand why my spark had disappeared in the previous months. I should have spoken to them sooner.

But my headteacher had a slightly different reaction – I was surprised at the lack of empathy and support that was offered and was told quite abruptly that appointments should be made in my own time or any time off would have to be unpaid. I was unsure of my rights and how best to take care of myself in this situation. I didn’t want to have to talk to the governors about this private, personal matter to me. So I accepted this and took the time off when I needed to as unpaid leave.

My first cycle of IVF, although I was excited by it, left me mentally and emotionally exhausted. The unfamiliarity of it all, the rushing between school and clinic for specific appointment times, the hormone injections involved, recovery times, the phone calls, all whilst trying to remain professional in school teaching a class of 28 four and five year olds certainly took its toll.

Heartbreak – again

At precisely the moment when my class and I should have been planning our Harvest Festival, I was crumpled on my bathroom floor clutching my third negative pregnancy test of the day. The IVF had failed. I had called in to work ‘sick’ that morning, not knowing how I could face the 28 children coming through my classroom door.  

I was very, very angry. Heartbroken.

IVF is an unbelievably stressful process. It’s an emotional, mental, and physical rollercoaster ride with few highs and lots of interminable lows. I am guessing many teachers know that; thousands of women undertake IVF every year so some of those must be in the teaching profession.  

After this first failed attempt, I felt that for the next go, things would have to change. I couldn’t give my all to my class whilst going through the processes, I didn’t want to have to explain to anyone why I needed yet more time off. We decided to leave it for a while and hope that we would be able to schedule it around school holidays. That way, I wouldn’t have to rush around, take calls when I was supposed to be teaching, take time off unpaid, or explain to anyone what I was doing.

A new approach

I started going to acupuncture, I loved these sessions. They helped me to relax and it felt like I was talking to a therapist; I had such positive energy. My husband and I also managed to squeeze in a weekend away, we literally forgot about everything, just enjoyed ourselves and took the time to reconnect. No talk of babies, IVF, egg collecting. It was lovely to just be us again.  

Then before we knew it, it was the school holidays! I was so relaxed, full of positivity. I had time for the appointments, I could get to them for whatever time was needed, which can be so important during the IVF cycle. I could rest up after the egg collection, and more importantly, after the embryo transfer. I had no worries about getting back to my class, or who was going to cover the class for me. The experience compared to the first cycle was completely different.

We had an embryo transferred at the end of July and then we waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. And then we got our positive pregnancy test! For self-preservation purposes, we did not allow ourselves to get excited.

We heard the first heart beats at six weeks. We were still not ready to get excited.

Then I started bleeding, not just a little, but a heavy bleed. IVF-Life UK booked me in for an internal scan straight away. And against all the odds, there was our little bean, wriggling around, heart beat as strong as ever. The bleed was caused from a pocket of blood that had built up in my uterus. Oh the relief! I will never, ever forget that day.   

We had a baby boy, born at 36 weeks. A beautiful, healthy baby boy.

Infertility is a hard battle for anyone, but I will say that I found it extremely hard as a teacher. Working so hard for other people’s children, when you are faced with the possibility of never having your own, is a heartbreaking reality to enter every day. I really benefitted from using my time wisely during the school holidays . . . I honestly believe that this helped me to finally become a mummy.  

Time for Teachers

IVF-Life UK understands the time restraints on teachers and wants to help them plan their treatment schedule so they have the very best chance of a positive outcome.  Making ‘time for teachers’ will hopefully remove some of the stress for them, which is a key part of successful treatment.

The clinic is making additional priority first visit consultation appointments for people in education, including teachers, lecturers, pre-school providers, and teaching assistants, during the June half-term, and in later afternoon appointments, before the school year ends in July.

In addition, teachers can receive a free 15-minute mini-consultation before any first visit consultation.  To register, visit the website and complete this form.

 

 

Another lovely message from more happy patients – what an amazing way to end the week. Congratulations Laura & Matt, from all of the team at IVF-Life UK! ?

“Well what can I say!

Our little man was born 6.12.20 – weighing 7lb 9oz ?

IVF-Life UK you have been fantastic – you have exceeded our expectations far and beyond. I can’t really put into words the whirlwind of emotions you feel going through the IVF process however the support of such a fantastic team made it only both easy and positive for us.

The IVF experience gave me such a keen interest in fertility and helping and supporting others going through their journeys, it will always be such a special memory & something I can be so positive and happy about.

Our doctor – what an amazing person you are! His skill, knowledge, support & caring nature is so admirable. Karen, you too are so kind, friendly and supportive. All the nursing staff, reception staff, every single person at IVF-Life UK – THANK-YOU.

Can’t wait to have some normality in the world so I can come and visit you all!

Thank you so much for everything. Laura & Matt”

Where can I start? 

Our journey started in 2017 when I had a ruptured ectopic. This followed by 3 other miscarriages and another ectopic. 

At the time, I was under the care of an NHS hospital and thought my needs were fully met… well I was wrong! 

I remember crying every day and feeling like a total failure. What’s more, the increase of pregnancy losses had taken a massive toll on my mental health. I am quite a strong person with a very bubbly personality but slowly but surely I became a recluse and personal relationships with friends and family had been strained.  

After great research I came across IVF-Life UK and had done a lot of research from pregnancy/ baby forums to fertility support groups. I read a number of fantastic reviews about the clinic and felt it was a no brainer to choose the clinic.

After my consultation, I knew that I had made the correct decision. As a result, I was LISTENED to for the first time. The doctor advised my partner and I to have further pregnancy loss investigations. This consisted of me having the hysteroscopy and the EMMA/ALICE/ERA test. I welcomed the idea of investigating this as this was crucial in order to achieve my goal. The next stage was to have an egg collection followed by a transfer. 32 eggs were collected, 20 fertilised and 10 made it to blastocysts. I couldn’t believe how much I responded to the medicine.  

A special mention to Suzanne Loughlin, who gave me the personalised care and reassurance. Katrina Green who gave me the confidence throughout the treatment as at times I ‘was picking myself off the floor’. 

Currently, I am pregnant and without IVF-Life UK team I would still be the shell of person I once was. They were clear and concise with the information and I know they are highly determined to create life for many couples.

To IVF-Life UK team,

Introducing our beautiful baby daughter, Ava who has completed our family. We are truly grateful to all at IVF-Life UK for everything you have done to help us achieve our gorgeous children.

Ava is pictured here with her big brother Jacob, who would also never have been possible without you and the team. They are both genuinely a dream come true and something we never would have thought possible before turning to IVF-Life UK.

By no means was ours an easy journey but it was worth the wait for these two superstars! The support we received from each and every one of you throughout our time with IVF-Life UK was amazing and I believe is what makes the clinic unique in it’s approach.  We thank our lucky stars every day that we had you on our team !

Louise & Luke

‘Just like to say thank you to the IVF-Life UK team who made this possible. They saw that I needed extra help and kept a close eye on me during the first few weeks of my pregnancy.

I have had so many people approach me wanting to know if I can help or recommend anyone.

I can’t recommend them enough!’

 Thank you very much for your kind words and many congratulations from all of us here at IVF-Life UK.

We received the following message from one of our lovely patients and we could help but share such a positive story!

I’m the most indecisive person ever, I can make a decision for anybody but when it comes to making a decision for myself and especially one I’m emotionally wrapped up in I find it so difficult… So after recommendations I went to visit IVF-Life UK and I can’t thank them enough for being an amazing source of support and guidance as they walked me through my fertility journey. For every obstacle they had a solution or a plan to lead to. Their pragmatic approach and personal manner, I am truly grateful. Nothing was ever too much trouble – late appointments, weekend appointments, contacting them with the smallest concern or question they were always on hand.

The medical team were always honest in their opinions. They understood my needs from the first consultation and were supportive throughout the process, regularly staying in contact via mobile between consultations. Unlike other clinics the appointments were well organised with minimal waiting time and I can’t recommend them enough. Even if this post can help just one woman in a position which I’ve been in please book a consultation – if there’s one thing I was always certain on it was being somebody’s Mummy ❤

After being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Lyndsey feared she’d never achieve her dream of a baby of her own.

Lyndsey and her husband, Dave, have been together since she was 18 years old, and when at 19 they decided to start a family, her dream of a baby of her own seemed entirely within reach.

Lyndsey says: ‘I came off the contraceptive pill at 19 and the following month I didn’t get my period.  I was so excited, I thought it had worked already.  We did loads of tests, but all came back negative.  I went to see my GP, who referred me to St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, as my periods had just stopped completely.

‘I think because I was still so young, it didn’t really hit me.  I still thought I had loads of time.  Straight away they prescribed me Clomid, a fertility drug, to induce ovulation.  It didn’t work, and we did five courses of that over three years.  At that time, you couldn’t get IVF under the age of 23, so because they had been unable to start normal cycles, I was referred to the Gynaecology unit at Wythenshawe.

‘Over the next three years I had so many tests, and eventually they diagnosed PCOS – I had all the symptoms.  One of these symptoms is weight gain, so when they referred me back to St. Mary’s, although I was now over 23 they said my body weight was too high, so wouldn’t start IVF.

‘At this point I became really depressed.  I lost weight, then gained it all back again; I felt so low and frustrated that I just gave up for a while.  In 2016 Dave and I got married and around the same time I just thought “no, I am not giving up, it’s the only thing I want in life”, so we researched private clinics and chose IVF-Life UK, in Daresbury.’

kit

Lyndsey met with our team in 2017, and they started the process of IVF.  Her first round resulted in the production of five eggs, of which only one was deemed suitable for transfer.  This didn’t work out however and Lyndsey didn’t get pregnant.

 

‘It triggered another bout of depression,’ she says. ‘But once again I got myself sorted, with Dave’s support, and we went back to see the IVF-Life UK team in 2018.  They thought that it hadn’t worked out last time because of a problem with maturation of my eggs.  They took a slightly different approach and this time we harvested nine eggs, seven of which were perfect.  Because I am still so young, they implanted one embryo as a blastocyst (day 5 of development) and they froze the remainder.

‘Eight months later – and ten years after it all started – Kitt arrived.  He was born on 4th April 2019 and he has been everything I dreamed of and more.  My pregnancy was difficult and he came two weeks early, by an emergency section, as he was in a breech position.  It feels like he’s always been here now; all his stuff just seems like it’s always been in the house.  I simply couldn’t imagine life without him now.

‘I am so happy I went to see the IVF-Life UK team.  You are made to feel so welcome and see the same people every time, so always feel looked after at the IVF-Life UK.  It doesn’t feel at all like a clinic there, even though you are having operations.  It feels very serene; the location means it’s completely quiet and everybody – staff and patients – are all there for the same reason, so you know you’re all in it together, and then you see the thank you cards and know it does happen, so why not for you?’

We received another lovely note from a very happy patient this morning and we would like to share it with you. Congratulations from the team at IVF-Life UK and should you wish to return in the future, we’d be proud to welcome you.

Baby Charlie

Baby Charlie

We thought that we’d drop you a quick email with some great news, especially in this very strange time of lockdown and C-19.

Charlie arrived at 15:20 on 16th March weighing a very healthy 8 pounds on the nose! Laura has recovered really well from the c-section and we were home within a couple of days.

We just wanted to thank you and your team at IVF-Life UK for getting this result for us. Whilst it took a little time and some perseverance, the result is truly wonderful and we are both smitten!

Please pass on our thanks to your team – we are very grateful and given we have three blastocysts on ice, we may be back!

We’ve attached a few photographs to evidence his arrival!

Best wishes
Peter & Laura

We are always proud to receive “thank you” letters from our patient, especially when we receive photos of their newly arrived little ones. Congratulations to Megan, Heath, Leo and beautiful baby George from all of the team at IVF-Life UK.

Leo and baby George

Leo and baby George

Hi I just want to let you know that we have been blessed with baby number 2 and we would like to thank all of the staff who helped us through our journey.

We are so grateful for everything you’ve done for us.

– Megan, Heath, Leo and baby George

This weeks ‘Patients For Patients’ event was a great success, with 30 attendees, four families of previous patients and three beautiful bundles of joy bringing a bit of cuteness to our informal evening.

This ‘Patients For Patients’ evening was an opportunity for attendees to relax, ask questions both to previous patients and the IVF-Life UK team and also gain some information on IVF and other treatments offered by our specialists.

Here’s a rundown of how the evening went:

With the murmurs of three tiny ones in the room, laboratory director Karen Schnauffer opened the event, introducing the clinic, discussing the IVF process, state of the art facilities and the services offered to both men and women at IVF-Life UK, whilst answering questions that some of the attendees had.

 

Our previous patients were then asked if they were happy to discuss their experiences of treatment with us. Lee and Naomi, with their beautiful seven week old Nina, discussed their journey with IVF-Life UK, going into detail about the cutting edge tests they were given which were not offered on the NHS. 

Lee spoke about their journey, commenting “Sometimes it’s better knowing the problem even if it’s scary, then you can approach it and put a plan in place. The consultations here were so relaxed and worked around our free time. We didn’t have to wait long for anything, the team at IVF-Life UK took out the frustration during an emotional process. A process, that without, we wouldn’t have our Nina.”

Following this Natalie Silverman of the Fertility Podcast and Freedom Fertility Specialist Claire Caldow spoke,  discussing the outlets and coping strategies that they offer whilst also discussing their own fertility struggles and IVF journeys. Both talks were insightful and brought to light that others who have been through this journey are willing to talk about it and help you at any point along the way.

Then a Q&A session was offered, answering questions previously sent and others brought up during the evening’s talk. At this point, Louise and Adriano, who had their daughter Indiana just 19 days ago, spoke up about their experience with IVF-Life UK.

Louise commented “I must say thank you to all the team. We had such a massive level of care here. Everything was done timely, unlike we’d found with the NHS and all the team were so friendly. We’re so lucky to have come to IVF-Life UK and now have Indiana.”

Following that, Ben and Hannah, who had with them their four-week-old baby boy Theodore, discussed their IVF journey with us.

Hannah spoke saying “We were recommended IVF-Life UK by someone I worked with. We’d been trying for two and a half years with no luck, so we contacted IVF-Life UK. The team was great and we were in to see them straight away, no waiting time, which was a lot quicker than we’d had before. 

“They ran some tests on us both and quickly found out what was stopping us from being successful. We started getting treatment and medication for it, the team were always on hand about any questions I had, whatever time in the day or evening it was. We had our first cycle of IVF and it worked! We’ve now got our boy Theodore and we’re so happy with him. The only thing is, we wish we could’ve given birth here – it would’ve been a lot more relaxing than with the NHS, but at the end of the day we got Theodore.”

 

Tuesday was a great event and everyone at IVF-Life UK enjoyed meeting not only the attendees but also the babies brought into this world with the help of our whole team. 

We’re so thankful to be able to run events like this, so if you’re interested in attending our next event or would like to speak to a member of our team, get in touch today!