The Smiths on IVF

In March 2003 we were given the devastating news that we would be unable to conceive without the help of an IVF clinic as I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and amenorrhea (the absence of periods due to non-ovulation).


My husband Peter and I took a little while to grasp this news, but, when we decided that a family was our dream we phoned a Genea Fertility Specialists' rooms and made our first appointment. After seeing the Genea Fertility Specialist we headed around to the IVF clinic and met the nurses. We both decided then and there that we were ready to start IVF. I was booked for a laparoscopy to ensure I had no internal issues other than the PCOS. We were given the all clear and the go ahead to commence our cycle when I had my next period (to achieve a period I am given Provera®/Primulot® medication).

Vitrification


My first egg collection was in July 2003 where the Genea Fertility Speacialist collected 20 eggs, of which 15 fertilised, and 12 became Day 3 embryos. I had my transfer and 11 embryos were frozen. A few days before my pregnancy test was due I started to spot. The nurses told me to have a blood test and see how things were going the result came back positive but very low – pregnancy hormone of 34. Unfortunately my levels dropped and we were told I had a ‘biochemical’ pregnancy. I had lost this one. We were devastated.


The following month I felt ready to try again and had my embryo transfer on the 22nd of August 2003. No spotting this time and I went for my pregnancy blood test and again it was positive with a better pregnancy hormone level of 70. Three days later I started spotting, we were again devastated. But my pregnancy hormone levels kept increasing. My progesterone levels were dropping so my medication was increased. We had our ultrasound at 7 weeks and beating away was our baby’s heart at 119bpm. We were ecstatic. Our son Alexander Blake was delivered via caesarean on the 7th May 2004.


In March 2006 we felt we were ready to try for a brother or sister for Alex. And so began another FET cycle of IVF.

Frozen Embryo Transfer


In February 2007 we decided that we were ready to try again. This was it for us as it meant using all our remaining embryos. The time came for my pregnancy test and the result was positive with a much higher pregnancy hormone of 335. At the 5 week mark I started spotting and the decision was made to increase my progesterone again. My hormone levels were going up and things were looking good. We went for our ultrasound and there it was a heartbeat – 89bpm. We were so excited. The sonographer advised us that it would be a good idea to repeat the ultrasound in a weeks’ time. This time things didn’t go so well our baby had no heartbeat and the bottom fell out of our world. I was booked for a D&C 2 days later. This devastated me and I became very depressed having to undertake counselling for about 6 months. This loss was a great strain on our marriage but we made it through and in November 2007 we made the decision to start another IVF cycle.


Our desire to have a brother or sister for Alex had once again become overpowering. We decided to see a Genea Fertility Specialist this time that specializes in PCOS. The Genea Fertility Specialist harvested 12 eggs of which 10 fertilized and 6 became day 5 blastocysts. I had 1 transferred and 5 embryos were frozen. Unfortunately my period started and no blood test was necessary.


We did another two failed FET cycles in 2008. Towards the end of 2008 I started researching alternative therapies during IVF treatment. I started having acupuncture in the months leading up to and after our next FET cycle in January 2009. This cycle resulted in a positive pregnancy test. I wasn’t game to get too excited knowing how wrong things can go. But, the time for our 8 week ultrasound came around and there on the screen was our baby’s heart beating away at 184bpm. We were frightened something would go wrong, but, in October 2009 we welcomed our second son Shannon Kurtis into the world.

Weight Loss


Our family was almost complete….and with 2 embryos in storage we decided in September 2012 that we would try for another baby. During the year I embarked on a fitness and weight loss program and successfully lost 12 kilos. When we contacted Genea I was asked to have a pelvic ultrasound to check the health of my uterus. To my amazement the ultrasound showed there were no polycystic ovaries visible. I was a perfectly normal and healthy 38 year old woman. I believe that my weight loss and healthy lifestyle was a major contributing factor to this. I organized the ethanol estradiol and progesterone pessaries to be sent to me.


I commenced acupuncture again and my acupuncturist asked me to give her 3 months and see what happens. So I started seeing her weekly and taking the Chinese herbal medication
she gave me. My period came on the 17th December 2012 so we contacted Genea and let them know. They sent through a timetable. After a long discussion Pete and I decided to wait and not commence that month as it was Christmas and we were going away on holidays. I really wanted to relax and enjoy myself and start when I got my period in January. My period never came. I was pregnant naturally! I phoned the clinic as we simply couldn’t believe it and the nurses sent me for
a blood test to confirm. The pregnancy hormone came back at 270. I was completely stunned, we both were. Genea asked if I would like them to monitor me until I was 12 weeks and of course I said yes. We went for our 8 week scan with our breath held and there was our baby’s heart beating away at 150bpm. In September this year we welcomed our third son Cameron Jacob into our family. We did this all by ourselves! WOW!


We feel so blessed to have been given our boys and although it has been a difficult journey we wouldn’t change a thing.


We would like to thank the nurses at Genea and the Genea Fertility Specialists.


One last note from us, please don’t give up on your dreams because one day you may just be as lucky as we have been.
 

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