Quote Me Happy

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Try to find something positive to take from a painful situation. I realised I was stronger than I knew and more resilient than I expected. I was brought closer to my husband and I realised what real friendship was.

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Keeping Up With The Joneses

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I promise I am not someone overly concerned with what other people have. Obviously I envy the odd celeb wielding the latest must-have handbag in Grazia, or someone on my facebook sunning it up at the beach while I am in rainy London. However in normal everyday life I am more than content with my life. In fact I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to have all that I do and I would not want to trade lives with anyone.

The only time where other peoples lives make me feel jealous or anxious is when I see people my age having their second child already when I am yet to manage one. How is that fair?! Now I realise that I have time to have multiple children but I also have a lot more complexities to overcome to enable it to happen. I am also aware that these lucky people are not rubbing it in, but as they talk about their lives I do feel like I should be enjoying family life like they are. I was so close. It’s a horrid feeling. Most importantly I realise that that nobody knows the struggles people have in their lives. Perhaps they have their challenges too. And perhaps somebody sees an aspect of my life they wish they have. Either way I will try not to compare my life to others. Hopefully I will get what I dream of someday.

Celebrities & Fertility Issues

 

Mariah Carey

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Ask The Expert

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Professor Robert Winston is Britain’s best-known reproductive health expert and, on a personal note, the doctor who made it possible for my mother to have my little sister. Now 73, he runs a pioneering research programme and an online Q&A for fertility patients confused by the conflicting information available. Winston has been a thorn in the side of the fertility industry in recent years, critical of the high costs and unproven treatments.

“Each week, I get dozens of emails from people who feel that they are not getting proper advice from the clinics they are attending and don’t have a clear understanding of what has been happening to them, why their treatment has failed or why they need to have a specific treatment,” he says.

Consequently he has set up an online advice service run through the Genesis Research Trust, where he offers a reliable source of information to fertility patients, who often find themselves bewildered by the mass of conflicting advice they face, particularly on the internet. Anyone can email Winston their fertility question. He wants to counter what he describes as a paucity of information about infertility and treatment. He says that with clinics keen to claim high success rates, women don’t always understand that the chance of getting pregnant from an individual IVF cycle still only stands at about 25% and that “you aren’t beating the odds until you’ve had three cycles”.

He understands the distress that infertility causes, the way it can affect every area of life, and he is concerned about some new developments where patients pay for treatments that are unproven. He gives the example of egg freezing, used by some women who are worried about their future fertility in an attempt to beat the biological clock.

“We still don’t know how many pregnancies we are likely to get from freezing eggs, and women who are storing their eggs with total confidence, believing that they are going to get pregnant in 10 years’ time, may be getting very unrealistic advice.”

Other techniques he questions include the immune treatments used in some British fertility clinics, which he says are based on poor science. He’s also concerned about pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS), in which one or two embryo cells are taken to test for abnormalities.

The idea of a source of free, trustworthy information from a leading expert in the field is bound to be attractive to patients. Winston keeps in touch with current medical practice, from research and writing papers to giving lectures and attending meetings so it is apparent that, though he may not be seeing patients in a clinic, his interest in the subject of fertility has not diminished. For patients, he remains in high regard as the best known specialist in the field so his inbox must be overflowing!

Email your queries to at: www.genesisresearchtrust.com/page/askrobertwinston

Here We Go Again

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Yesterday we had our first midwife appointment. It was a fairly routine registration which did not involve a scan, but it was bizarre to be back at the hospital which we left with heavy hearts almost 6 months ago. Somehow it made the whole thing real.

The midwife was understandably upbeat and congratulatory. My response probably seemed solemn and dismissive. When she heard about how the last pregnancy ended she told me to ‘be positive’ which was not particularly helpful. I understand it is her job to be reassuring, and she was entirely well-meaning, but I will not be able to manage positivity until we are told all is well with the baby. Sadly we have a while to wait for that.

However, on hearing our history she did refer us to Fetal Medicine which will enable us to have extra monitoring and care. The Fetal Medicine Unit is where the terrible diagnosis took place last time. However the consultant assured us that in the future he would take good care of us. 2 hours later a kind and sypathetic midwife called to schedule the 12 week scan and seemed to know exactly how I was feeling. Instead of expecting me to be overjoyed and excited to she asked how scared I was and how I was feeling. It made me feel that we were in safe hands and that she knew exactly how women in high risk pregnancies feel. So the fear remains, but at least we are going to be well taken care of.

Infertility Faux Pas

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What not to say to a woman who can’t get pregnant

Author Tracy Buchanan has ‘dodgy eggs’ and struggled to conceive for five years. During that time, she was flabbergasted by some of the ‘comforting’ advice she got – even from well-meaning friends. Here, she explains what not to say:

  1. ‘Kids are a nightmare anyway, you’re better off without them’
  2. ‘Don’t worry, it’ll happen, I just know it’
  3. ‘I bet you’ll get pregnant on holiday’
  4. ‘So-and-so got pregnant on her tenth round of IVF!’
  5. ‘There’s always adoption’
  6. ‘Oh, I didn’t mention so-and-so was pregnant, I thought it might upset you’
  7. ‘It’s G-d’s way’

My advice  is to be realistic without being negative.You might be tempted to be overly positive but it’s frustrating to hear. Let your infertile friend vent without adding your own opinions or dismissing them when they try to be realistic. All you need to do is listen. Make it clear you’re there for them. If they need to talk or ask your advice, they will.

2 Years

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Couldn’t let 19th August pass without wishing my wonderful husband a Happy 2nd Anniversary!

Cannot believe our beautiful wedding was 2 whole years ago.

You are the best husband in the world and meeting you was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I would gush more but I can hear you cringing so I will just say that I love you BB xx

Weekends Away

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Since my husband has a new job and is nervous for me to fly we have been discovering some lovely places to retreat to in the UK. It has been rather delightful, despite the inconsistency of British weather. Last weekend we escaped to the Cotswolds for some greenery and English cream teas (yum), and this weekend my best friend and I visited Bournemouth for some chick-flicks and seaside tranquility.

IVF and pregnancy anxiety are all-consuming. Sometimes a change of scenery and a new place to explore provides the perfect break from the normality and stresses of everyday life. As a typical Londoner I tend to forget that life exits outside the capital city. Turns out there are some charming places to enjoy. Bring on the weekends away!

Fresh or Frozen?

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Having had a fresh embryo transfer in my first pregnancy and a frozen embryo transfer in my second I am interested in whether one is preferential to the other. Traditionally, women undergoing IVF have a fresh embryo transfer for their first attempt and then, if there are a surplus of embryos left, then those can be frozen. This allows the woman a chance to use the frozen embryos for a second pregnancy, like in my case, and also a second attempt at the first pregnancy if unsuccessful with the fresh ET. Additionally, women who are at high risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) during the fresh IVF cycle can freeze all their embryos and do a frozen embryo transfer at a later date.

Previously, many centres had FET success rates that were about 10% less successful than their fresh ET. That has changed due to:

  • The frozen embryo transfer pregnancy success rates being influenced by the method of freezing embryos which is far quicker than it used to be.
  • Fast freezing that leads to approximately 90% of embryos surviving the thaw process.  The survival is because there are minimal ice crystals forming with vitrification and minimal cellular degeneration to the embryo.
  • The frozen embryo transfer success rate being influenced by the quality of the embryos frozen. Some IVF centers freeze all the remaining embryos while others will only freeze those of good quality.  The better the quality of the embryos at the time of freezing, the better the freeze-thaw success.
  • Some IVF centers are doing embryo banking cycles with Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS).  They biopsy the embryos and test them for genetic abnormalities, and freeze them.  Once they have enough genetically normal embryos then they transfer these.  This is good for woman with recurrent pregnancy loss or advanced maternal age.

So the evidence suggests that like peas fresh is as good as frozen!

Doppler – Do or Don’t?

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If you, like me, are paranoid and fearful about your baby’s health you may have entertained the idea of buying a doppler, the machine that detects the baby’s heartbeat. I thought that perhaps it would put my mind at ease if I could continuously check the baby was still alive. Hand-held Dopplers are thought to be perfectly safe, however, most doctors and midwives advise against using them at home. Dopplers are meant for professionals, who are trained in finding a baby’s heartbeat. Not being able to find your baby’s heartbeat could cause you a lot of worry. And you can’t always be sure that it’s your baby’s heartbeat that you are hearing. It’s very easy to pick up the sound of blood flowing through the placenta, or your own vessels, and mistake it for a heartbeat. This may cause you to be falsely reassured. On that basis I have decided not to get one. Let me know if you are using one at home and whether it is easing your worries.