Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects one in five women here in the UK. But what exactly is it? And what does it mean if you're hoping to start a family? Here's what you need to know about PCOS.
To understand what PCOS is, it helps to know what polycystic ovaries are.
'Having polycystic ovaries means that your ovaries contain about twice as many cysts as normal ovaries,' explains Verity, the national charity set up to improve the awareness of PCOS in the UK.
'The "cysts" in polycystic ovaries are actually egg-containing follicles that have not developed properly, due to a number of hormonal abnormalities.
'It was originally thought that these cysts caused the condition PCOS but we now know they are one of the symptoms of PCOS and not everyone will get them,' explains Verity.
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a common female hormone condition that affects how your ovaries work.
'Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the name given to a condition in which women with polycystic ovaries also have one or more additional symptoms,' says Verity.
Undergoing IVF can be a roller-coaster experience, but can also be a rewarding one once you find the treatment that’s right for you. Here Carla, a businesswoman from London tells her IVF story.
‘After marrying my husband James 4 years ago we decided that we wanted to start a family, and I came off the pill straight away. I was told that my periods might take a little while to resume, but after 6 months had passed and they still hadn’t started I began to get worried. James and I went to get tested at our local NHS hospital, and initially the doctors could fine nothing wrong; my fallopian tubes and ovaries looked entirely normal. However, an AMH blood test revealed that my ovarian reserve was low, with an AMH of just 4.0. Being only in my early 30s, this came as a shock. We also discovered that James’ sperm count was low on a few parameters.
I always knew that at one point I would have children and I was never worried about it, yet I almost missed my chance. I enjoyed my youth, built my career, travelled a lot and I expected to meet the right partner along the way and eventually build a family “the standard way” but that unfortunately didn’t happen.
As I approached 40 and split up from my partner, it struck me that I would likely lose the chance to ever become a mum if I wasn’t actively doing something about it. This is when I decided to start fertility treatment by myself. Now I realise how lucky I am to be the mother of an adorable little girl.