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

"Life now is just blissful, Sophia is just perfect. We just sit and stare at her all the time. I just still can’t quite believe she’s here."

I’d been with my husband (Duncan) for about eight years and for quite a long time we were not ‘not trying’. After a few years, we thought that there might be something wrong. Following some tests it became clear we weren’t going to conceive naturally, so we decided to go ahead with IVF/ICSI.

I knew we wouldn’t be eligible for treatment on the NHS because Duncan has a child from a previous relationship. We were fortunate enough to have the money to go private.

We’re based in London and found abc by just googling really… I’ve never been one to research extensively. It just looked like a solid clinic, it was close to where I both live and work, and when I contacted them they were super responsive and everything moved at the pace I wanted it to. I didn’t ever really consider anyone else.

It was my first experience with fertility treatment, so I went into it completely blind and probably didn’t ask half as many questions as I should have! To be honest, I liked the fact that they didn’t overwhelm me with too much information. I very much felt like I was told what I needed to know.

Going through IVF was surprisingly easy for me, and I feel I had it a lot easier than some others do. We ended up doing a frozen transfer, so we froze the embryos in September 2021 and then did a Frozen Embryo Transfer in July 2022. We were getting married in June and, as shallow as it sounds, I wanted to be able to drink and enjoy our wedding! Throughout the process, my emotions were all over the place, but I actually felt really optimistic going into each phase.

Natalie with new born baby and husband

After I had my eggs collected and we entered that waiting period, I remember being massively disappointed by the number of embryos. Everyone would ask ‘How many do you actually need?’ and they were right, we’re not in a position to have ten kids - better to have some really good quality embryos that we could use - quality over quantity.

When we were ready for the transfer the team were great. They were super clear with us and everything moved as quickly as it could have. When the transfer was done the nurse said, ‘Everything looks really good’ and that one comment gave me a level of optimism that it might just work!

I didn’t know anyone else going through IVF at the time, however, my friends were massively supportive. Since then, it’s been interesting to see more people we know show interest in IVF. Especially as my friendship group gets that bit older, I know several people are exploring it. Personally, I feel no shyness around talking about it, the more you can demystify it all, the better. I feel it can be painted to be this very traumatic thing, and I know for some it is, but there are also nice IVF experiences out there.

The staff were great: they were pragmatic and clear, and they didn’t patronise me which meant a lot. Shortly after I had my positive pregnancy test, I started bleeding and the speed with which they got me in to check on me really calmed me down. Overall, they were just really supportive. Edyta in particular was just so lovely: there really is no better word to describe her. We saw quite a few people along the way and she just stood out for her compassion and humour.

Duncan and I were fine throughout the journey, I think he was worried about how it would affect me and he was pleasantly surprised during the whole egg stimulation phase. Once we had the FET, the first few weeks of pregnancy were quite difficult, but I don’t imagine that’s specific to IVF!

We didn’t explore the payment plan. My parents made a contribution, and we’d saved some money to cover off the first round. The way we rationalised it, we would probably spend this money on holidays otherwise and this is a far bigger deal. We might feel differently if we had done multiple cycles, but we were really lucky.

We did the transfer the day before my birthday so we spent the initial few days in the Cotswolds just the two of us - it was perfect. I ended up doing the pregnancy test a little early. I was scheduled to do it on Monday, but hated the idea of having to switch into work mode hours later if it was negative. So, we did it on Sunday night and when it came back positive I just cried a huge amount. I was just so relieved and probably in shock.

The pregnancy was fine, I was a bit tired and nauseous over the first trimester but other than that I was okay. I train quite a bit, so the biggest challenge for me was taking the time out to rest following the transfer - I was back to it after a few weeks though!

Life now is just blissful, Sophia is just perfect. We just sit and stare at her all the time. I just still can’t quite believe she’s here.

We would totally recommend abc to others, and have done so. My advice for those who are going into fertility treatment would be to not read too much off the internet; I think it can be dangerous and most of it you won’t need to know and will just scare you. I think just listen to the team at the clinic and trust in that, you don’t need to know everything.

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