I have decided to share my IVF journey so that people can stop being scared or reluctant to try for themselves. It is a beautiful journey, with an end result that allows you to hold your own precious little baby in your hands. I met my husband back in 2010 during a very hot and joyful summer. I knew from the first moment that one day he would be my husband. I come from a country where B-thalassemia – a blood genetic disorder – is very common. I knew I had the trait, and it turned out that my future husband had it too, but it didn’t worry me. I’d trained as a scientist and had a very good understanding of the process involved in such a pregnancy.
A couple of years after we met we moved to the UK to live and work. It was a difficult time but it made us become even closer and after a while, we decided to get married. We tied the knot in 2015, but up until this time we had never discussed our ‘problem’ of how we were going to achieve having a family. It’s scary to think that you’ll not be able to have a baby without having IVF, but I knew in my heart that we would find the best solution and that we’d make it work. When two people have the B-thalassemia trait there is a 25% chance of having a baby with anaemia. I know 25% doesn’t sound very much, but every pregnancy is a unique event. You’ll never know if your own pregnancy will fall into this 25% bracket or not. We decided we didn’t want to take the risk.
I am lucky to have married a man who’s very open-minded and is not scared to be different. He said ‘I trust you’ let’s go and do some research and make sure we get the best treatment that’s right for us. I knew from experience that IVF clinics in my birth country offer genetic disorder testing, since it is a well known condition there. So I started by researching, but the costs of having to go back and forth several times, as well as the stress, were not worth either my time or the effect it would place on my body. I was left feeling distressed, depressed and scared. Then I had the idea of having treatment in the UK. IVF centres in the UK are known for having the best results, and although I knew it would be expensive, it would worth it as I’d be close to home and more relaxed.
I started my research through social media, talking to people I knew and by reading reviews. But I was getting more confused and frustrated. That’s when I read about the London Women’s Clinic and decided ‘this is it’. I knew the clinic from when I was looking to work in IVF labs and I was really impressed with its results. The London Women’s clinic in Cardiff had the best results compared to many other IVF centres and treatments were not expensive compared to other clinics. Immediately, we made contact with the clinic in Cardiff to find out if they could help us and if they had experience with couples with B-thalassaemia. We were over the moon when they said they could definitely help, so we went to meet the doctor and visit the premises. We live and work in London and thought it would be a challenge to make the journey to Cardiff, but it was so easy and convenient to get there, with the added benefit that Cardiff is beautiful.
When we arrived at the clinic we were impressed with the level of professionalism of the staff and doctors, and in the labs and equipment. Our first meeting with the doctor took place in June 2016, she was very helpful and professional and explained the whole process step-by-step. She assured us that all the appropriate steps would be followed to make sure we got a healthy baby. I felt secure and relaxed, knowing we were getting the best treatment tailored to us and that we would be able to start a family really soon. After we had completed all of the appropriate scans, blood tests and DNA tests we began the treatment. A good amount of eggs were collected and fertilised, with six of them making it to day five embryos. When I found out that three of them had anaemia – I felt reassured that we had done the right thing by opting for IVF treatment. We decided to freeze the healthy embryos.
In September the treatment to implant the embryos began. During the whole time, including the beginning of our treatment, the doctor was checking and scanning me to make sure I was not overstimulated, checking that I was ready for an embryo transfer. I asked if we could use two embryos instead of one, but the doctor insisted that we shouldn’t because of the risk of a double pregnancy. She explained that both my age and the embryo quality would result in a pregnancy, even if we transferred only one embryo. I trusted them with all my heart, so I agreed and arranged a date to proceed with the transfer.
In October 2016 we completed the embryo transfer and the doctor was able to tell me that I’d got a 60% chance of success. I was over the moon! I wondered how they could be so sure and was hoping it would be true. Ten days later I found out I was indeed pregnant and couldn’t describe how blessed and lucky I felt. We had made the right choice by going to the LWC Cardiff and having our treatment with the best in the field. Today I have a happy and healthy baby and we both feel blessed. I would like to thank the team for making our experience such a positive one that was stress-free.