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The highs and lows are real and intense, as Debby and Mark’s story shows

Six years after they started a journey with LWC London Bridge, Debby and Mark tell us how that journey to parenthood worked out for them…

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We started our journey with LWC London Bridge (then the Bridge Centre) in August 2014, and since then we’ve been through 3 full fresh cycles of IVF and 7 frozen embryo cycles (FET). To get us to that point Mark also had a PESA procedure, which meant we had the best chance of getting pregnant using his own sperm.

When we started treatment, our main issue was the discovery that I had polycystic ovaries. This meant that trying to get the balance of stimulation right to stop all my follicles going crazy and prevent OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) took a long time. This is a delicate process but after a few trials and cycles we reached a stage where safe egg collection procedures became readily available.

In that first cycle, 34 eggs were collected, but I was devastated to be told we couldn’t have a fresh embryo transfer, despite having no symptoms of OHSS. Five embryos made it to freezing which was overwhelming considering everything we’d been through.

The first Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycle was a negative, the second FET was a positive but I sadly miscarried at 9 weeks and that very nearly broke me. The elation of a positive test and seeing a heartbeat to the devastation of losing everything you’d dreamed of is the hardest day I’ve ever been through. The remaining embryos from that cycle were also negative, so we were faced with starting all over again, after spending thousands of pounds and having nothing to show for it.

“We kept going because the thought of not trying was worse than the thought of trying and failing.”

This time 44 eggs were collected and all frozen, and we had only 3 embryos. Our numbers seemed to be getting worse and it was hard not to feel frustrated.

But then the first of those embryos became our miracle baby boy and suddenly every tear and difficult day became worth it in a single moment.

At 34 weeks pregnant I went into hospital with suspected appendicitis. After 3 days they decided to operate and discovered an ovarian torsion which meant I lost my right tube and ovary. Thankfully and most importantly, our baby was fine and Barnaby was delivered by c-section at 39 weeks + 3 days.

We had received such good care and support at LWC London Bridge, and so many of the people we met made such a difference to our journey. In particular the sonographer, Maxine, was amazing. She did nearly all of my scans for all my cycles. She gave me the bad news when things went wrong, shared the tears when we lost our baby, and shared the joy when we finally got the news we so desperately wanted.

We were concerned that the ovarian torsion would mean that our chances of a sibling for Barnaby would be decreased, but we went back to LWC London Bridge to start the process again.

In our next full fresh cycle, my left ovary still produced 19 eggs and best of all, a fresh embryo transfer was possible. That embryo became our little girl Blossom, and I still had 3 embryos good enough to freeze.

Moving on two years, along came our third child Betsie from an FET. We still have 2 frozen embryos left, and we are hoping to transfer one of them, maybe next year, for one last shot at a miracle….

We’ve had so many ups and downs on our fertility journey, we’d say to anyone else that you should try to be prepared for how hard it might get.

We went into IVF thinking it guaranteed you a baby, and had no idea how hard it would be just to get to the stage of having an embryo to transfer.

But we would also tell people to stay strong. At the end of the day IVF is a game of numbers and a little bit of luck, and if you have the strength to keep going, you’ll hopefully get your take home baby.

And finally, it is so worth it.

Every baby is special, but there’s something extra special about our IVF ‘miracles’. Someone asked me once if I’d tell our children they were conceived through IVF. The answer is yes - without question.

I couldn’t be prouder to tell our three children how much we wanted them, and how we went through the hardest journey imaginable for each of them to be such a special part of our family.


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