Kate, 37, a self-employed advisory teacher and her husband Rupert, 40, programme manager at a college of further education, live in Twickenham. They had their son, Louis, aged 18 months, after three attempts at IVF. Kate tells their story:
"After an initial diagnosis of unexplained infertility, we discovered that my problem might be PCOS-related. When our first attempt at IVF using ICSI, funded by the NHS, failed we decided to go to a private clinic where we had two more attempts.This time we were offered both ICSI and assisted hatching to help things along and I conceived Louis on the second attempt."
"Initially I experienced a deep sense of emotional disappointment as if I had been let down by my own body. Over the next nine years my emotions veered between defeat to determination, anger and resignation. Although we didn't feel there was any stigma attached to being childless we felt left out because we didn't have a baby.
"We did not want to add to the taboo of infertility by not telling anybody. On the whole people were overwhelmingly supportive although there were a few who said foolish or hurtful things. We lost a few friends but collected a lot of godchildren! Although we love them, what we really wanted was our own children. My mum found it hard to know how to support me, but she found a helpline for relatives of people with infertility that was great."
"Although it brought us closer together it put a strain on our daily lives. When it was clear that we would need IVF, we agreed I'd become a part time advisory teacher. Rupert didn't have such an option. If there is a plus point, it's the fact that we had learnt how to live with each other before we had children."
- "Find emotional support. Fertility clinics are places of science and medicine rather than emotions. Find someone outside your relationship to offer you TLC. Make time to talk through all the stages of your treatment with your partner. Attend appointments together and go for coffee afterwards to talk. Listen to each other without judgement and be loving."
- "You may not instantly bond with your baby. I was anxious during my pregnancy and didn't enjoy it. It took a couple of weeks to recover and fall in love with Louis."
Page last updated: 28 August 2009