One in six Australian couples will have a fertility issue at some point in their lives and one in 10 couples will have trouble conceiving their second child. You are not alone.
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The World Health Organisation predicts that infertility will be the third most serious health condition in the 21st Century
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Come along to hear local leading Fertility Specialist Dr Devora Leiberman explain the facts and dispel the fictions about egg freezing at a discussion at Genea Sydney City.
Come along to hear local leading Fertility Specialist Dr Rebecca Deans and learn more about the fertility process.
Come along to hear local leading Fertility Specialist Dr Tween Low explain the facts and dispel the fictions about egg freezing at a discussion at Genea Canberra.
Come along to hear local leading Fertility Specialist Dr Matthew Holland and learn more about the fertility process.
Come along to hear local leading Fertility Specialist Associate Professor Lionel Reyftmann and learn more about the fertility process.
We’ve been married for almost 8 years, so we should have children by now, right? I mean, everybody else has…
Whilst it’s always been in the back of our minds that one day we should have children, it wasn’t the highest priority on our wish list. Matt’s been very focussed on his career, we’re financially secure and have a pretty good life. But seeing sibling after sibling, and friend after friend have many beautiful and amazing children, we decided it was time to see our GP in May 2013.
I had my tests first and they were all good. So Matt gave his sample, and a few days later we received a letter asking us to come in and “discuss the results”. We were a bit apprehensive, but Matt wasn’t surprised as he has long suspected that “he’s a dud” (his words). The results were exceptionally low, but it could have been an anomaly. So he gave another sample, and received yet another letter. Same result.
Our GP referred us to the Genea Fertility Specialist. The initial consultation probed at Matt’s many health issues, so ruling out cystic fibrosis was imperative. The results came back negative for CF, which resulted in a strange mixture of joy and grief. If Matt doesn’t have CF, then why does he have some of the symptoms? What’s the cause of his infertility? We may never know.
The next hurdle was Matt’s mindset. “I’m sickly and infertile. Evolution is survival of the fittest. For whatever reason, I’m not supposed to have kids.” I’ve known Matt’s position on evolution for years, but for some reason, the reality of him saying it now was heartbreaking. We left the Genea Fertility Specalist's office with some brochures, a phone number for Genea in case we change our minds and nothing else.
Almost 4 months went by, and Matt’s position on evolution had softened, so I took the opportunity to make an appointment in October for us to meet Vivien, Genea’s counsellor. We went in not knowing what to expect, and left amazed at what had just happened. In a few hours, we’d signed on the dotted line to start IVF (ICSI), and I was to start on the pill just 3 days later!
Everyone we met that day was really lovely, and helped us to make the right decision.
At 3 weeks into the process, Genea held an IVF seminar, a half-day event where current and prospective patients could come to learn more about the process, and meet others in similar situations. This is a brilliant initiative, and we urge everyone already undergoing - or considering - IVF to attend. You will learn a lot. Don’t be shy, ask questions, mingle and realise that it’s holding things like this that set the Genea team apart.
Five days later, I was to start the dreaded daily injections. I hate needles, so there was no way that I was going to inject myself. Viv calmly demonstrated how to do it, Matt refused, I went as white as a ghost, but did it! Honestly, it’s nowhere near as bad as you imagine.
It was still a bit nerve-racking doing it at home by yourself for the next few days, but you adjust to doing it very quickly. One thing to remember, for all of the days of medication, is to set alarms on your phone so you always do it at the right time.
Fifteen days later - at the end of November - I had my egg collection. After some initial technical hiccups and a clot in the collection tube, we ended up with 4 eggs. Matt thought the process was quite distressing, but I remember nothing thanks to the drugs! We were both a little disappointed at “only” having 4 eggs, especially after hearing the patient’s story at the seminar that had 8 collected and was ecstatically pregnant.
Anyway, Matt gave his sample, and the scientists got to work on the ICSI process.
The next morning, we phoned to see how the fertilisation process was going, but only 2 eggs had made it through the first 24 hour period. We were quite dejected; in our opinion, our chances were looking slim.
Two days later, we phoned again, and both embryos were fine and progressing well. I’m generally a pretty relaxed person, but this was the first time through the process that I felt really anxious.
Embryo transfer was on the 4th of December - 5 days after egg collection. This is a stressful day, as you don’t know how the embryos have developed until just before the transfer. For us, one had slowed, so wasn’t ready for transfer. It was given a few more days to see if was worth storing, but didn’t make it. So we were left with just one embryo from the first round of IVF - which was quite upsetting. Anyway, the actual transfer process was “simple” and over in minutes, but it’s very exciting to see it placed into the uterus on the monitor.
We were scheduled for the pregnancy blood test 8 days later. The night before, I just couldn’t wait, so took a home pregnancy kit, which unfortunately came back negative. I cried a lot. It’s a long, involved and draining process to go through for you not to get a result.
But, we dusted ourselves down, went in to the clinic the next day and had the blood test. A few hours later we got a phone call to say that we’re pregnant! My levels were very low though, which is why the home test couldn’t detect it. If you’re reading this and plan to take a test yourself, just don’t. It’s not worth the emotional rollercoaster.
I had to take progesterone supplements every day and blood tests every two days to monitor the pregnancy hormone levels - which is a feat in itself as I’m very hard to get blood from! They were steadily rising, forming the correct, curved shape on the graph, so things were looking more positive.
On the 31st December we had an ultrasound to make sure that it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy. And there it was, a strong heartbeat! What a belated Christmas present and early happy new year! Our 8-week scan was on the 10th of January, and everything was looking great. We’re now in to our 12th week, and looking forward to the next scan in a few days’ time.
It’s been a long road, but the Genea staff have made it such a smooth and “easy” process, and it’s great to know that when you walk through the door for whatever appointment, they know you by name and are genuinely interested in how you’re going. It has its ups and downs, but it’s totally worth it in the end. Who knows, we may even be back for round 2 in a couple of years!
Are you looking for specific information about treatment options? Our Fertility Advisors are more than happy to help point you in the right direction. Give them a call, send them an email, or scroll down to the footer to see if one is available on Live Chat now.