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.
Five years ago we didn’t think that having our own babies was even a possibility, we thought we’d have to adopt. Luckily for us, fertility treatment is a lot more accessible these days.
During our initial consultation and scan with CREATE, it became clear that IUI (artificial insemination) was the most suitable option for us, mainly because we were a good age for it and had no fertility issues.
To all those looking for some hope!
I was 41 with high FSH and low AMH (hardly detectable) when I first came to CREATE. After the initial consultation they agreed to take me on and recommended Natural IVF due to my low ovarian reserve. I was only getting two follicles on each side. I had previously been told by three other gynaecologists that my only hope was donor eggs. The first round of IVF it didn’t fertilise and I was devastated. The second attempt was cancelled as no follicles. Third attempt we got one egg and it fertilised. The embryo was transferred but it didn’t stick! Again I was devastated.
Tracy aged 38, was told by another clinic that she would never have her own children. She was turned away from several fertility clinics because her FSH was very high and egg reserve was very low. She had been told her this meant she was approaching the menopause and wouldn’t be able to have a child with her own egg and donor eggs would be her only option. They weren’t ready to accept this and were absolutely devastated. Not only did she have very low egg reserve, but her husband suffered from infertility and no sperm as a result of carrying the Cystic Fibrosis gene. Despite this difficulty, she conceived with natural IVF/ICSI using her own egg and her husband’s testicular sperm. She became pregnant and had a daughter. She returned for further treatment 2 years later against all odds and conceived again with natural IVF/ICSI and had a son. She is convinced that staying away from fertility drugs helped her to have two children with Natural IVF/ICSI.
I was 31 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had my wedding booked and we had plans to start a family, but we had to postpone everything as I needed to start treatment immediately. One of the many stages of my treatment was chemotherapy which I was advised may have an impact on my future fertility. At the time I had allot of hard decisions to make regarding my cancer treatment and had to put family planning to the back of my mind and press on with treatment. Adjuvant treatment also consisted of a 5 year course of Tamoxifen which would delay my family planning further.