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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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"It only takes one good egg," they said.
I hated that phrase. I hated it so much I wanted to scream at everyone throughout the IVF process who said that to me at the time. Their big smiles and unrelenting positivity. I hated the hope they were intravenously injecting into my mind and the fear of failure that was growing in the pit of my tummy.
I was 38 years old, in a loving marriage but we had found each other later in life and we needed help to make our family complete. The doctors had told me that my fertility had just dropped off a cliff on my 38th birthday and I was not feeling optimistic about my first cycle at Genea.
All our friends who had been through IVF had taken at least three cycles to get their precious baby and they had 10-15 eggs each cycle with lots of frozen embryos to spare. They were big numbers to live up to and that's where my expectations were set.
So off we went – two injections per day, a blood test every second day and the dreaded viewing of my follicles. I held my breathe every time and prayed for the big numbers but they didn't materialize. One good-sized follicle and a few pretty small ones. And only from my right ovary, nothing from the left.
"It only takes one good egg," the lovely ladies said each time. But I couldn't protest - they had a probe stuck in my you know where, so they had the upper hand.
Where were the 10-15 eggs that my friends had generated and why wasn't that happening for me? In my mind, this cycle was doomed to failure and I was also a failure.
I didn't hold out much hope at all despite the ongoing hideous protestations from the well meaning staff that "it only takes one good egg".
Just before egg pick up day the nurses confirmed that I was only likely to produce one egg that would be capable of going to blastocyst. They wanted to confirm I wanted to go ahead with the cycle. I told them I probably wouldn't go ahead - that I didn't want the disappointment and to spend all the money on completing a hopeless cycle. I asked for my doctor's recommendation and he said it was really up to me. So I phoned a friend.
Her advice was always solid and she said to go ahead because the doctors needed to learn about my body and how it behaved through the entire cycle. She had been through IVF and had a lovely child so I listened to her.
At egg pick up, they got out a couple of eggs but they informed me later that they thought only one would be good enough quality. Over the next couple of days, they confirmed that I only had one blastocyst, it wasn’t great but we could try the transfer.
So we crossed our fingers, I wore my lucky shoes and we went ahead with the transfer. After the doctor popped the blastocyst in, he said, "It's in God's hands now." Neither he nor I were religious people but I never felt more that our fate was out of our control than when he said those words.
And then we waited. The dreaded two week wait. I looked after my body as I would have if I was pregnant. I rested and I ate well. And then I went in for the blood test.
"Any symptoms?" they asked. I didn't know. I was bloated like never before but I assumed it was the drugs. I explained to the nurse that I wasn't very optimistic, that it hadn't been a great cycle. "It only takes one good egg," she said. Don't kill her; I thought to myself, you need this blood test.
Luckily that day was very busy at work and I hadn't noticed the hours that passed until my phone rang.
"We have very good news," she said. I can’t tell you about the rest of the call because I burst into tears and was a blubbering mess. I had to ring back later to ask what I had to do next. Wait three weeks, they said, and then you'll have a viability scan at your doctor's office.
More waiting. This time I wasn't so zen. My hopes were up. Maybe it does only take one good egg and I was pregnant. But still not confident.
Five pregnancy tests and three weeks later, hubby and I nervously waited in the doctor's office hoping to see a tiny heart beating.
The doctor greeted us and was feeling very pleased with himself . "We're on a roll," he said. "Lots of pregnancies at the moment, now let's see how yours is doing."
My husband went pale. He had figured out what was happening before me. I couldn't quite see the ultrasound screen.
"Well, we only put back one embryo but …" the doctor finally said.
"Yes, one," I answered. "I only had one good egg, remember?"
"Well, there are two heartbeats," he said. "The embryo has split and you are having twins."
TWINS! Out of only one good egg!
We now have two of the most amazing, beautiful, fun loving girls. And we are blessed.
So I am here to say, please stay positive and don't wish the staff at Genea any harm when they say, "It only takes one good egg." They're right.
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