FREE Semen Analysis with every Scan and Consultation booked this May. More info

FREE Semen Analysis with every Scan and Consultation booked this May. More info

"I couldn’t believe the pricing was so simple, that this was the price & it was 'all-inclusive'."

I knew from quite early on I would need fertility treatment because I had a laparoscopy when I was younger, and they found that I had blocked tubes. Then when we started looking into treatment, my husband needed to have a semen analysis done and we found out he had a low sperm count as well. So, I have PCOS and he has the low sperm count, which gave us quite the challenge!

We had NHS funded IVF treatment with another fertility clinic for our daughter, who will be five in October. When she was about two years old, we started saving so we could go back to that clinic again. We didn’t have any frozen embryos in storage, so we knew we needed to do a completely fresh round again.

Whilst saving, we were basing our budgets on the guidelines on the clinics website. Once we had just about that amount in our savings, which was about six to eight thousand pounds, I contacted them to book in for a consultation. We were told that the price on the website was just the price in a certain area, but our area was nearly double of that. But the price we were given was just completely out of our budget.

I was so upset because we had taken so much time to save this money. My husband did a quick google search for affordable IVF, and then within 10 minutes the issue wasn’t an issue anymore. I made enquiries and we began our journey with abc ivf.

I couldn’t believe the pricing was so simple, that this was the price and it was 'all-inclusive'. I just thought this is too good to be true, so I made a few calls to advisory team and asked them all of the questions I had. After a few days I had booked and paid for my initial consultation. As soon as I realised that it wasn’t too good to be true, I booked my initial consultation right away!

Unfortunately, in private fertility treatment there is a lot of hidden costs or things you aren’t aware of. The first time we didn’t actually have to think about it because it was NHS funded, but the second time round it was different. I was extremely aware of prices because I didn’t want to be taken advantage of because of our situation, and sadly a lot of people are.

As soon as we booked that initial consultation, it all happened really quick. When you are in the process of doing it, every stage of treatment is so huge to you and it’s so funny how quickly you forget them, because you move on to the next big thing. Due to covid, there was a lot of things that weren’t in the clinic. We had our initial consultation online, and then we had a treatment consultation, which was just going through what plan we would be on, that was really good because it was just a big information haul via zoom.

Overall, it was a hugely different experience to our first cycle because there was no down regulation. I just found the whole process a lot kinder, easier, and quicker. I also didn’t need to go through a chemical menopause, so I didn’t have all the hot flushes and all that stuff, which I really appreciated.

I remember starting my injections and going in for a scan on like a Wednesday, asking ‘when do you think egg collection will be?’ and because of my PCOS I don’t need a lot of stimulation, and she replied Friday. I was shocked! This Friday? Then you start to think about the fact that 3 to 5 days after that you could potentially be pregnant!

The only thing that made it difficult was due to covid. Like going into the clinic for collection and transfer and doing that on my own, not being able to bring my husband was a bit sad, especially when waking up from sedation. IVF is always all on the women, physically, but having the support of your partner is always a huge part of it, so it was hard not having him there.

When we found out we were pregnant we were very pleased, and I was very relieved. You have that horrible two-week wait, and the first-time round we tested one day before, but this time it was like 10 days. I was trying not to stress about it, especially at that point, 10 days in you aren’t at a stage of feeling anything, and I was comparing it to my first pregnancy, like ‘I didn’t feel this the first time’ so I was comparing constantly.

On the way to the viable scan, I knew it was going well because I was really sick, which I was with my daughter, so I thought okay, this is alright then. I had bad morning sickness, but I just thought if I’ve got strong symptoms it’s all going well in there. Besides that, my pregnancies were great, I love being pregnant. It’s a lot, because it’s your body all the time, it’s constant. When you know they are growing well and you feel them moving, it’s magical.

Life with him here is amazing, just having him out and about. He adds another dimension to our family. We now have a little boy and girl. Seeing our daughter take on the role as big sister, is just a complete other element of her character and it’s just lovely to see. She is amazing with him, the first thing she asks in the morning is ‘can I hold Ernie’.

Baby Ernie

They say don’t they, you have your first baby for you and you have your second baby so they can have siblings, and it’s definitely a case of that. We wanted to give her a brother or a sister so no matter what happens to us she’s got somebody, which is so nice, and right now we’re just weighing up if we should go for a third!

The advice I would offer is to read lots of success stories, there are many books out there, my favourite was “IVF my emotional companion” I read that both times I went through IVF. It’s really good reading others stories and what they go through, I just think it helps. I really tried to not let it resonate in my head too long that it wouldn’t work; I had to believe it would. Just the positive mental attitude really helped.

You’ve got to enjoy the journey for what it is, and you can’t think that something is wrong with you, because if you do, you’ll see the whole IVF journey as a burden and it’s something that you have to do because you’re broken. So many people go through it, and it’s not normally spoken about, it’s not wrong it’s just a different journey.

Charisse & Ernie x"