Now in their mid-thirties, Amy and her husband had many tests but the cause of their infertility remains unexplained. They began their treatment in 2007 with privately funded IUI and went on to try four IVF cycles, also privately funded.
Although Amy became pregnant on their second cycle, the pregnancy was non-viable. However, having undergone a third full cycle, Amy is now pregnant. Here she tells their story.
"We began with basic tests by our GP and further tests at our fertility clinic. These all came back fine, so we had IUI done privately, which cost £780.
"As this was unsuccessful, we embarked on our first self-funded IVF cycle in November 2007. Despite eight eggs being collected, none were fertilised and the cycle was cancelled, leaving us shocked and devastated. The total cost of this cycle was around £9000. We had to pay for the full price of the IVF even though we did not get to transfer and also we had a lot of drugs this round.
"We started the next cycle as soon as possible, this time having ICSI (intra cytoplasmic sperm injection) followed by blastocyst transfer (transfer of five-six day embryos). At five days, we had two blastocysts transferred. Sadly, the pregnancy that followed was non-viable but although we were extremely disappointed we were also really optimistic about how far we had come. We had achieved fertilisation and had got pregnant!
"The cost of this cycle was around £8000 and the blood tests I had while I was pregnant added about £400.
"We had two months off and I had a hysteroscopy (where a doctor examines the inside of the womb, using a small telescope inserted through the cervix), costing £1,000.We started full cycle number two in June 2008. Despite having two top grade embryos transferred, I did not become pregnant. For this cycle we sourced our own drugs, saving £1,000, so the total cost was around £7,000.
"We started our latest cycle in September 2008. We had ICSI again, resulting in three fertilised eggs and the transfer of two embryos.
"Two scans and many HCG level tests later, it was confirmed at six weeks and two days that there was a heartbeat! I am currently booked in for another scan when I will be seven weeks and four days pregnant.
"The total cost of this last IVF cycle was £12,000. Although we again saved by sourcing our own drugs (they totalled around £1,000), we had further blood tests and spent £3,000 on two rounds of IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin G treatment, in which the woman is injected with human-derived antibodies)."
"We told most of our friends before the first cycle and they have been very supportive, especially if they are pregnant. They have generally told me a long time before the 12 weeks so that I am prepared. Generally I have been OK about people getting pregnant but some pregnancies have upset me.
"I only told my family after my second cycle as I knew my mother would worry. I have not told her that we have done a third as there is no point as it did not work and I do not want to worry her!
"I have joined the Fertility Friends online community. Although I have not written on it much, I read it a lot. I feel that it is helpful 80% of the time although sometimes you read things that you do not want to know!
"I found the first cycle very stressful especially as at the treatment centre it is very intense and I was trying to juggle work, etc. Once I knew the routine, I found it OK, but I am lucky that treatment has not made me feel ill, just tired. I always make sure I clear my diary!
"Moneywise, we are lucky enough that we have savings (although they are dwindling fast!) but I felt much more resentful about the money at the beginning. Now it seems irrelevant – and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way.
"The worst thing about the whole fertility journey is not the treatment itself but the emotional rollercoaster you are on, and most importantly that your life feels like it is on hold."
"My husband and I have definitely got closer. It has made us much stronger than ever. We are probably very lucky in that respect. I talk a lot about our treatment and also he is very much a part of it as he does most of my injections. We have been lucky in that, because I have not been too hormonal, he has not had to bear the brunt of hideous moods!"
- "Be prepared for other hurdles apart from not getting pregnant. So many things can go wrong before you even reach the transfer stage. Getting to the transfer stage is an achievement in itself."
- "First time success rates at IVF are very low so be prepared to do more than one cycle. Remember that the odds of getting pregnant from cycle one to cycle five are pretty much the same: it really is a lottery!"
- "Do not google every single thing. Do what feels right for you and do not listen to everything that is written on the websites. Remember that you are unique and are not like anyone else so it is pointless to compare."
- "Tell your friends: it is amazing how much easier it will make your life. Also tell your boss: it will take a lot of pressure off you at work."
- "If it does not work, take time to be upset but also take time out to enjoy yourselves. Do not beat yourself up about what you drink or eat during this time: just enjoy life while you are in between cycles."
Read Amy's full story:
- Amy's story (96Kb)
Page last updated: 28 August 2009