Louise was in her mid-30s, without a partner, and afraid that time was running out for a family. But she made a choice and followed her instincts. My advice, she says, is ‘Go for it and never give up’. Louise didn’t give up and now has Elliott, her baby boy ‘worth more than every tear and pain along the way’.
I had known for a long time I wanted to be a mum but I seemed to have no luck with my choice of partners. I decided that I’d start worrying when I was 40 - until I began reading those fertility statistics. So even at the age of 34, I wondered if perhaps I was already leaving it too late.
I stumbled across an article online about single women opting to be single mothers by choice - but most of the stories were from America. But I did begin to wonder if it was possible here. Could I do this alone?
“ I nervously asked if they treated single women”
A baby at this time was more important to me than a man. I hadn’t given up on finding a partner, it was just that my priorities had changed. So over the next few months, I researched more. On one of my searches I found a UK clinic offering treatment and was thrilled to see they had a clinic in the North East. I spent a long time building up the courage to dial the number, and, when I finally did, I nervously asked if they treat single women. A friendly voice instantly put me at ease and said they treat lots of single women. I booked into the open day and roped a friend into going with me.
I didn’t know what to expect from the open day and was feeling very nervous. But everyone was incredibly friendly and quickly put me at ease. I spoke to Mr Ashour, the consultant, about my plans and discussed my options. I was able to ask questions and was given time to talk things through.
I decided to try IUI. It was a cheaper option for me and I had no fertility problems as far as I was aware. All the tests were fine, and I began treatment the following month. My friends and family were supportive and said they fully understood and wished me luck.
I was thrilled when I got a positive pregnancy test. However, things weren’t plain sailing and I lost the baby eight weeks later. I was devastated. I had two more attempts with IUI but they too did not work. I decided that was it, I’d had three attempts and it obviously wasn’t meant to be. But I knew deep down that I had to try everything, otherwise I’d always wonder, ‘what if’. I met again with Mr Ashour again and we decided to try one attempt of IVF Lite.
I planned my treatment around my work holidays. But I was scared at every step of the way. I cried a lot but the staff were fabulous, providing tissues when needed! I had regular scans to see how my ovaries were working and to see when I was ready for my eggs to be collected. There were eight, and luckily four fertilised. One didn’t progress further, but I had three viable embryos.
And so the waiting began. A few weeks later I was back at the clinic for a scan. I emotionally watched the monitor through my tears and saw a black space… and suddenly, a tiny flickering heartbeat. I was pregnant. And I will never forget that moment. Months later, I finally got to meet my baby. A healthy baby boy who is just perfect. I still can’t believe he is mine to keep.
Deciding to do it alone was the best thing I have ever done. I’m so pleased that I decided to take this route and have no regrets. I love being a mum more than I could have imagined. We were meant to be and worth every tear and pain along the way. And I’m eternally grateful for the constant support of my family, friends and amazing staff at the London Women’s Clinic Darlington.