CREATE Fertility’s vision is to promote an approach to fertility treatment which offers the best chance of success and reduces the emotional, physical and financial burden associated with IVF. We are the only clinic in the UK which specialises in drug-free (Natural Cycle IVF and IVM) and low drug approaches (Mild IVF) and it gives us immense satisfaction to have helped thousands of women and families in their fertility journey.
We are very proud of giving a chance to women in all circumstances and that we do not select patients based on criteria such as ovarian reserve. We are experts are dealing with complex and difficult fertility problems and we have helped many women who have been turned away from other IVF clinics.
Here is a selection of Fertility treatment testimonials and case studies from our patients. To view all of our public testimonials and IVF success stories follow this link
We attended the Fertility Show, last year, to start our pregnancy journey. We had very little information about what to expect with IVF and we wanted to gather as much information as possible in one place. Being a yoga teacher and interested in natural health, the CREATE stand appealed to me with the headline of 'Natural IVF'. We went to the stand to gather leaflets and speak to their consultants. During our conversation we discussed the new techniques that the clinic were exploring to help reduce the cost of IVF. Long story short, we were accepted onto the walking egg/low cost IVF program; treatment starting 2 weeks after the show.
When I was 33, I had just come out of a relationship and started becoming concerned that I was no longer in a position to have children. I have always wanted children, so I wanted to know what my options were. I did some research, came across CREATE and decided to go along to one of their open days to find out more information.
I had thought about egg freezing for a few years, partly because I am 32 and the reality is that my biological clock is ticking. I’ve also had medical problems in the past such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts and part of my cervix removed, so I always worried that I’d have more problems which might affect my fertility. Furthermore, I work for an international children’s charity and spend a lot of time living abroad or travelling from place to place, so my life isn’t yet settled enough for a child.
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.
It was over six years ago when my partner, Russell, and I started trying for a baby. I got pregnant naturally in 2012 and 2013, but sadly miscarried on both occasions. It was after the two miscarriages that we decided to seek help from the medical profession to see if there was anything we could do to prevent the miscarriages in future and also see what we could do to help the conception process along as it seemed to be taking longer to conceive.
I first began my journey to pursue motherhood 10 years ago. When it became apparent after a year that my husband and I were not naturally able to conceive, I was referred for NHS fertility treatment. This involved a journey 60 miles away, however we were pleased to be approved for 3 IUI treatments and 2 IVF treatments.
The conventional methods of IVF involved very high dosage drugs which caused adverse side effects and did not lead to success. The consultant advised I asked a relative for eggs to donate, as if it was that simple! There was no recognition for my natural instincts to have my own biological child. He suggested I do not waste my money so I did not return to the clinic. Following this we decided to continue fertility treatment closer to home as I was still in my early 30s and was advised it was worth continuing attempts with conventional IVF.
I’ve wanted children for as long as I can remember but unfortunately have never had much luck in relationships. I talked with my friends about doing it alone and gave myself a deadline of 35 years old. A friend of a friend said they could put me in touch with someone who’d had a child on their own. Meeting someone who had done it made a huge difference for me.
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.
We had been together nearly four years when we decided to have fertility treatment. We had just bought our first house together and it felt like the right time to start a family. We heard about CREATE from a friend and decided to attend an open day.
We started researching fertility clinics in 2009 as we had both always wanted children. At first we started treatment with another clinic and had our first daughter through them.
I gave birth to our first child and we had planned for my wife to have our second. Although she’s very healthy, when we started treatment, we discovered that she had some very complex issues which we didn’t expect.
My husband and I had been trying to have children for 18 months. When nothing had happened, I went to my GP and was advised to keep trying naturally for a while longer. We did but still nothing happened. I had some basic tests and we were quite quickly put into the category of ‘unexplained infertility.’ That was the moment when we realised we had an issue.
I went to CREATE and further tests showed I had polycystic ovaries. I wasn’t surprised because my sister has it and I had some of the associated symptoms. However, because the scans through the GP hadn’t discovered it, I thought it had been ruled out. So when CREATE identified the issue very clearly we had an explanation for our problems. Further scans also showed that I had issues with the blood circulation around my uterus.
In many ways I wish that I had started the process of IVF treatment years earlier, but I also believe that you have to start when the time is right for you. My belief is that most people who want a child can have one; you just have to be open minded about how you have that child, because whichever way you have your child or children, you will love them.
I had always wanted children and assumed that by the age of 28 I would have been married with kids. At 30 I decided that if I was still single by 39 I would start the process of having a child alone. Suddenly 39 came and went and I was planning my 40th birthday party alone; I knew it was time to start fertility treatment. It took me a further few months to get around to booking the appointment but by July 2013 my journey began. My sister, Sharon Pitt, works at Marilyn Glenville nutritional clinic and deals a lot with infertility and miscarriage, so she recommended CREATE because of the approach Professor Nargund takes with her patients, which is as natural as possible.
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.
We have had the most amazing experience with CREATE Fertility. All the staff have been so friendly and welcoming and have made the whole experience so relaxed and even enjoyable. It feels like a big family. They've been there to support us when we haven't had the outcome we expected but were there like family members joining in with our happy news!! We really can't thank you enough. We look forward to seeing you all in the future :)
We were recommended CREATE Fertility by a friend who had twin girls through treatment. All the staff have been friendly, sympathetic and supportive throughout our journey, and I have recommended CREATE to a friend of mine. I would also be happy to recommend CREATE to anyone who has had the same challenges as us getting pregnant. We would like to thank all the staff for their part in helping us to achieve our dream outcome.
I came to CREATE with a lot of hope as I had read online that their treatment is mostly natural. I had just literally walked out of a cycle elsewhere that nearly cost me my life. I was diagnosed with severe OHSS and sadly lost the embryo at 10 weeks. My experience with CREATE has been nothing short of AWESOME. The care I received and the assurance I had that I will not have OHSS again made me feel so much at ease. I sit here today as I write with a baby growing inside of me, thanks to your professionalism and the impeccable care I received. Thank you to everyone!! :)
CREATE Fertility completely took the stress out of IVF and made the experience a joyful one rather than like the "hell" which I experienced at other IVF clinics, prior to coming to you. The other clinics I went to were selling me far too many expensive drugs that all did the same thing. Having too many unnecessary drugs did not benefit me and I suspect might have caused me to have a missed miscarriage by interfering with my egg quality.
At CREATE, the drug content is kept to the most minimal levels possible. The clinic is completely genuine, honest and does not take advantage of people. Other clinics make you want to give up on IVF, but not at CREATE Fertility. The clinic is superb, the professionalism and advise is faultless and staff exceptionally friendly (especially Maria Mattia). I have been thoroughly recommending you to everyone and cannot sing your praises enough. You are the only IVF clinic I would recommend.
I am delighted to announce that with the fantastic assistance of CREATE, two of the most beautiful little treasures were born on 4th December. Our son Xavier weighed 5lbs 13oz and our little girl Rennie was born at 5lb 1oz. There were no complications with the pregnancy or birth, and both babies are absolutely perfect and thriving very well. They join their older sister Imogen who was also born through IVF with the help of Dr Melina Stasinou.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all at CREATE Fertility for making our dreams become a reality. The overwhelming feeling of love and happiness is mighty, words cannot describe how thankful we are. God bless.
My husband and I went for our initial consultation towards the end of last year. We had a history of two ICSIs without fresh transfer, and 3 frozen transfers, only one of which led to a clinical pregnancy followed by a miscarriage at 9 weeks.
We started our first Mild IVF cycle at St. Paul’s in the beginning of February and we have just had a fresh embryo transfer, so we do not yet know the outcome of this cycle. However, we wanted to pause and say thank you at this stage for designing an excellent protocol for us, and to express our appreciation of the whole clinical and nursing team. Our experience with all of the clinical staff has been excellent.
IVF is a horrible process but your team and the protocol you designed really worked for me. I had 10 mature eggs after 9 days of mild stimulation with 5 good embryos by day 5. I think you can see this as a real success for your mild strategy, and your focus on quality not quantity. My previous best cycle had about 18 mature eggs but that only led to about the same number of day 5 embryos, and that involved a freeze-all protocol to deal with the OHSS risk and nearly 8 months from start to finish for a single transfer.
Now we have all our fingers and toes crossed for a positive pregnancy test.
We can't thank you enough for your help in creating our family. Throughout the treatment process all the staff were incredibly encouraging- we always felt at ease and positive about the experience. We were blessed to have success first time round with the Mild IVF and ICSI and went on to have our beautiful twin boys. We would recommend the CREATE clinic to anyone considering or attempting fertility treatment. Having been to a few other open days we are so glad we decided to take the leap with you guys. A place that will now always hold a place in our hearts.
Second time I've been successful at CREATE and I couldn't be happier or more grateful! As with previous cycles at the clinic, all the staff have been extremely friendly and helpful- they really make an effort to get to know you personally which really helps the process. You are kept well informed throughout the treatment with everything clearly explained. It felt more friendly, caring and intimate than other clinics I've been to. Thank you for helping our dreams come true!
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.
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.
Many patients with low AMH results are turned away from clinics or steered towards treatment with donor eggs. However it is possible to use your own eggs and still get pregnant with low AMH results, as Sarah can attest:
“I came to CREATE after having negative experiences of treatment with the NHS, where I paid for a round of treatment, having not been accepted for funding. I found the experience incredibly impersonal; I once got called in to my appointment with a vibrating gadget rather than being called by name.
The cycle with the NHS failed, and I turned to natural medicine specialist Dr Trevor Wing, who recommended that I try CREATE....
I am very happy that I came to CREATE Fertility. I do believe God guided me to be treated there by very nice doctors and staff. I am 46 years old, 20 weeks pregnant and everything is normal. I do think women should be given an opportunity to try IVF and CREATE gives this chance to many women who would be refused by other doctors.
Dana was 43 and had very low egg reserve, low AMH (<1.0) She had not responded to ovarian stimulation in her previous attempts at IVF and she had been told that her only option was using donor eggs. She had regular cycles and was ovulating naturally. Using Natural Cycle IVF, without stimulating drugs, we were able to help her have a beautiful daughter, Dorothy, using her own egg.
We had a very pleasant experience from the get go, staff very accommodating. Explained everything in detail and had the same professionals assisting us from start to finish. We are pleased to say that after the first cycle of IVF we are 11 weeks pregnant! Special thanks to nurse Niki for her professionalism and for being always smiling and extremely positive!
This is to let you know my son was born in February 2012. He is a very healthy baby. I wanted to send my big THANK YOU to everybody at CREATE Fertility for all your information and support through the natural IVF treatment. Thanks to that treatment we are now proud parents. You should promote much more the natural option which worked for us at the first attempt after preparing for 6 months with very healthy eating, exercise and plenty of supplements and vitamins. We will try for our second baby naturally but if it doesn't work we will definitely do the Natural IVF at CREATE again.
Dear everyone at CREATE Fertility Wimbledon,
Thank you so much!
I cannot thank you enough for all your kindness, warmth, support, help and professionalism. It meant so much to me and aided my blissful pregnancy. The end result is my beautiful, amazing & chilled out daughter whom I am totally in love with.
As well as me, she is surrounded by loving people who also adore her.
PS… I have also been so impressed by your wonderful service that I've referred at least 3 people to you!
When.... was told that her low AMH meant that she couldn't conceive, she and her husband were ready to give up hope of having a biological child. However, after finding out about CREATE's more natural approach, she came to clinic and fell pregnant with a little boy.
Create provides a much needed alternative to the full IVF process which we did not want to go through. We embarked on modified IVF treatment with Create to help us have a second baby, and we now have a beautiful daughter – a much loved sister to our eldest daughter. We particular would like to say thank you to Dr Melina and Debs – both showed much compassion and care in their interactions with us – and really helped us through those nerve racking moments. We wish Create all the very best. – Anon
Dear Create Team
We are delighted to announce the birth of our baby son, … Weighing 3.65kg, he arrived at 10:43 on his estimated due date the 16th Jan 2015!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Create that made this journey possible and made what was a difficult and trying time much easier. All the way throughout the treatment at the clinic we both felt very supported by the great team that were always on hand for advice, taking the time to explain and answer any questions. And did so always with a smile and with kindness.
I would and have already highly recommended Create to other struggling couples.
Thank you again.
We received fertility treatment from Create Wimbledon last May, having had unsuccessful IVF treatment elsewhere and were thrilled to get pregnant following your programme. We now have a healthy, beautiful baby daughter called Rebecca – born last Thursday on her due date – and would like to thank everyone in Wimbledon for all their help and support in what’s been a very emotional journey. We couldn’t be happier!
Best wishes to everyone
*we respect our patient’s wish to remain anonymous.
It was this time last year that it all began for my husband and I. We had been trying for another baby for 6 years and apart from some very early un-diagnosed miscarriages, we had been completely unsuccessful. I thought that at my ripe old age of 46 it would be impossible to have another child and completely impossible to have one with my own eggs. I started searching on line to see whether there was any help out there for us and came across several Fertility Clinics in and around London and wondered whether this might be the route we could take. Upon reading the criteria of several clinics I found that I was too old for any treatment and thus I thought we had left it too late and we would have to rely on nature and a great deal of luck. Then a chance conversation with a new friend who had conceived both her lovely children with some help from Create and Prof Nargund, with renewed hope I looked at their website and made an appointment to go along to the clinic to find out whether there was any possibility at all of adding to our lovely family.
It was a beautiful sunny day on the 12th January when I first entered the Create Clinic in Harley Street with my husband who had nipped out from work to join me. A consultation with Prof Nargund informing us of our chances (to be honest at my age there really aren’t any statistics available because a lot of clinics do not help after the age of 45) and what it might involve. Following the consultation, we went into the scanning room to find out how many follicles I had left and give an idea of potential egg reserves. To everyone’s surprise I had an amazing 21, which was very good news although of course this does not guarantee how many eggs you might have left. Back in to see Prof Nargund and a plan was compiled for us to start our treatment with my next cycle which was at the end of January.
Now we were on board we switched our treatment centre to Raynes Park which was much closer to home and much more convenient. A visit to the Clinic and a lesson on how and when to take the medicines and then it was over to us, or should I say me, to do exactly as instructed. I have to say at times it was very hard to slip away from work commitments on time, only to sit in a public toilet with syringe in hand, but I was committed and nothing was going to stop me trying my hardest to make this work.
Several visits to the clinic and several scans later everything was ready for egg collection and sperm retrieval. We went in to the clinic and were met by a lovely nurse to put us at ease, we also met the embryologist and the Dr who was going to perform the procedure. After a short wait it was our turn and the collection took place. A total of 10 eggs were retrieved which was amazing, but still it would be a waiting game to see which eggs would fertilise and then which ones would be good enough for implantation. It was the start of what would be a few long days of waiting for the phone call. The phone call came and it was great news all 10 had fertilised and now we just had to wait a little longer for the eggs to reach blastocyst stage as it was felt that this would give us the best chance of conceiving. A further nail biting wait and the news was again amazing 7 of the eggs had reached the blastocyst stage and were looking good, so the date was set for the implantation. The day of my 47 birthday was the day the eggs were reintroduced to my uterus, 3 of them in total to optimise my chances. It was then the longest, sleepless wait in history before going back to the clinic to have my blood taken for the early pregnancy test. That morning after the test and lots of encouraging wishes from the lovely staff, I left the clinic aware that the blood had to be sent off to the lab in Harley Street and decided that I needed to keep myself busy. I went shopping for food, had lunch with my husband then went off to the DIY store to get some paint and various bits and pieces. Whilst walking up and down the aisles filling my trolley with items from my list my phone started ringing. It was a message, the reception in the shop was so bad that it hadn’t rung, but there was a message from the Clinic. I wandered around the shop until I found a signal then dialled the call back number but the Dr was on the phone, so I hung up and as soon as I did my husband rang to ask me where I was and how I was, he then excitedly told me we were pregnant. To be honest I couldn’t believe it and all I wanted to do was get home to him. As I was walking back to the car the clinic rang, it was the nurse we had seen right at the beginning, she was so lovely, congratulating me, then I realised it was true, it was real we were pregnant.
The journey had just begun, but thankfully it was all going to be well worth it. We now have the most beautiful healthy baby boy and our family is complete, his big brother loves him to pieces and we are so grateful to all the staff at Create….Thank you, Thank you so so much.
Dear Professor Nargund,
We firstly wanted to say a huge thank you for doing our embryo transfer procedure last week. We are now back home in Cornwall – keeping relatively rested – and hoping for a positive result in 10 days time, fingers crossed …
We also wanted to pass on how positive our whole Create experience was again this time, all of the staff were incredibly helpful, supportive and professional, and we felt that we were in the best possible hands.”
Our fertility journey started in 2009 when we discovered that my partner had a very low sperm count (some samples found no sperm at all, some found only 1 or 2 sperm). At this stage my partner was 46 And I was 29. My partner did quite a few samples which we froze in the hope that we would be able to get pregnant using these if no sperm were found on the day of egg collection during IVF. I had had various tests and none seemed to suggest any cause for concern. We began our first IVF cycle (a long protocol) in 2010 but I was absolutely devastated when my first scan showed no response. We waited another couple of days – still no response, so the cycle was cancelled. I was so shocked and upset as I had thought that there were no problems on my side. The consultant at our local clinic suggested I have my AMH re-tested and it was less than 2. It had been 8 when I’d been tested less than a year before and for some reason had dropped suddenly. The consultant told us that our only real chance was to go for egg donation.
Despite the advice, we tried another cycle using my eggs, this time a short protocol. Amazingly, I had 8 follicles growing, but only 3 eggs were collected (the rest of the follicles were empty). All three eggs fertilised, two were put back, but sadly did not result in a positive pregnancy result.
We knew we wanted to try again using my eggs but thought we would try going to a London clinic that saw a lot of women with low AMH, rather than going to our local clinic where the consultant didn’t have confidence in achieving a pregnancy using my eggs. In June 2011 we did a 3rd cycle with a London clinic that uses high doses of stimulation drugs. Five eggs were collected although only 2 were mature enough to use. Both fertilised and were put back, and we achieved a positive pregnancy result. The rest of that cycle is a very long story, but sadly we miscarried at 11 weeks.
Our 4th IVF cycle began in October 2011 and this time we went to Create, having attended an initial consultation we decided we on the advice of doctors at Create to try ‘natural’ IVF with the aim of focusing on egg quality and reducing the strain on the body of having high doses of stimulation drugs when I was unlikely to produce many eggs. During this fourth cycle I had two follicles growing, and two eggs were collected, both fertilised but only 1 embryo was strong enough to put back. I thought the chances of this pregnancy working were so slim – only one embryo, plus my partner hadn’t been able to be with me during the egg collection day due to unchangeable work issues so we’d had to use frozen sperm – knowing that each vial may only have 1 or 2 sperm I thought it was so unlikely it would work. BUT – two weeks later we had a positive pregnancy result, 7 weeks later there was a heartbeat .. and 9 months later we had a beautiful daughter who is now 11 months old.
I wanted to share our story to give hope to anyone out there who is wondering if it can happen – we were lucky enough to find that it can! Our situation seemed pretty hopeless at one point – hardly any sperm, hardly any eggs, but it still worked in the end.
I found Create to be fantastic, I loved how small and personal it was, and the ‘natural’ IVF approach clearly worked in our situation. We are just about to start a new cycle with Create in the hope of having a sibling for our daughter as we are just loving the experience of being parents. I know how blessed we are, and wish anyone reading this the very best of luck.
We approached Create in November 2011. This was after undergoing 10 cycles of traditional treatment at two top tier London clinics, all of which did not result in implantation. One of these clinics recommended that we give up as the clinical director believed that we had “close to zero” chance of success. The other clinic recommended that we keep going, cycle after cycle, and eventually it would work.
Hence, we were quite sceptical in our early dealings with Create, primarily due to our history.
Create described a different approach with varying levels of stimulation including a natural cycle and a modified natural cycle with some medication. The key was to focus on maximising the quality of a single egg (quality not quantity).
Create made us realise that as I had low ovarian reserve, the quality of the eggs was likely to compromised by heavy ovarian stimulation and hence reduce chances of success i.e.: traditional IVF was never going to work.
So with very low expectations, we embarked on a modified natural cycle. Scan appointments took place every few days at Harley Street. We never felt that we were on a conveyor belt as the waiting room was not over-flowing with patients unlike many other clinics, and generally appointments ran close to their scheduled time.
There were injections to administer the hormones but these were quite manageable and so much less physically and emotionally demanding.
Egg collection took place under sedation (not general anaesthetic as other clinics). We had direct contact with the doctors carrying out the procedure who were willing and available to answer our questions.
After the egg collection and embryo transfer, we were given a more medication to maximise implantation.
Throughout the process, and subsequently, we had access to the clinical team to answer our queries, however trivial.
We were lucky to have a positive pregnancy and a beautiful baby daughter born in December 2012. We would recommend the natural approach to anyone in a similar situation.
(please note we respect out patients privacy when they send us feedback and ask to remain anonymous)
I’m writing this while my beautiful daughter lies next to me sleeping. She’ll be 3 months old in three days and nothing feels more natural than caring for her, spending time with her and getting to know her. When I look back now on our journey to get to this point it feels unreal.
I worked in the fertility industry for a few years and I don’t think I thought that being unable to conceive was something that was going to happen to us. On the other hand I knew we were unlikely to conceive immediately and I really wanted to take a calm approach to conceiving – you know being laid back and just letting it happen without too much effort. Of course knowing in deep clinical detail the workings of human fertility this was nye on impossible!
We had been trying for a year when I started to get concerned and we went to the GP for investigations. At the time I was 31 and my partner was 34 – nothing unusual about that and all the tests came back within normal range. We were referred to the hospital for further investigations, I wasn’t too concerned and comforted myself with the knowledge that many of these appointments are cancelled because the couple conceive while waiting for the appointment. This was not the case for us and another round of tests and an exploratory operation and again nothing was identified and we were given lots of encouraging comments. Of course all of this had taken time and by now we had been trying for nearly 2 years.
Throughout this I continued to remain positive – I had read and indeed talked to women who had felt distraught at the first sign of their monthly period but I seemed to have escaped this feeling. I did indulge myself in a jolly good cry whenever I found out that a friend was pregnant but aside from this felt pretty calm really. The reality was that I was genuinely pleased for friends when they got pregnant and lets face it if no one else was getting pregnant and having babies, I wouldn’t want to either – they were my inspiration! In view of my job and knowledge I found myself being the sounding block for those experiencing similar problems, friends, colleagues, colleagues family members the list goes on. As time went by these people would cry on my shoulder and then pop off on their maternity leave while I was still patiently waiting.
It was decided that we should try IUI whilst waiting on the NHS waiting list for IVF. I was happy with this plan as I didn’t want to leap straight into trying IVF and IUI felt a little less invasive. We affectionately termed it the turkey baster and we tried this with ovarian stimulation three times. One of the cycles had to be abandoned because I produced too many follicles and the risk of multiple pregnancy was too high. When I look back now I wish I had been reckless and gone ahead and tried the old fashioned way during this cycle – having said that I could be sitting here writing a piece about my triplets or quads, scary!
When finally we reached our place on the waiting list for IVF we were raring to go. I think that everyone at the clinic was really positive. They were surprised the turkey baster hadn’t worked and I suspect they were rubbing their hands together and thinking that we would be boosting their IVF success rates before long.
The cycle bumbled along as normal. It was a long cycle (by name and by nature!) I was down regulated before the stimulation of my ovaries was started. This down regulation also allowed the clinic to decide when it was suitable to start the stimulation portion of the treatment. This was scheduled according to there timetable. I think the egg collection was scheduled when I had about 5 follicles at the right size – egg collections took place three days a week. Again this was my cycle being manipulated to work alongside the clinics timetable. The clinic operated a transport system. This meant my follicles were emptied on one clinic site, then my partner was sent off with an incubator to another clinic where they examine the contents, count the eggs and then marry them up with the sperm which he produced fresh at the second clinic.
I was sitting in the recovery area with the other ladies who had undergone egg collection that day. I was feeling quiet drowsy and a bit lonely when the calls started coming in. The two women before me both got calls from their partners delivering the news of how many eggs they had. They were all pleased and it wasn’t long before my phone rang. My partner was all excited on the other end “we got two” he said “isn’t it great”. I was crushed and could barely speak. I didn’t want to dampen his enthusiasm but I knew this was not a good harvest for a heavily medicated stimulated cycle. Of course there was hope – it only takes one embryo to make a healthy baby. I think it was at this moment that I realised there was a problem with my ovarian reserve. For me it was like a total rush of information all in one go. I knew what this meant and I knew our chances of success had just dropped dramatically.
I was not hopeless and of course we had our two little eggs flirting with the sperm overnight in the petri-dish. By the time it came to embryo transfer 3 days later there was only one growing embryo and it had only just reached the size needed for transfer. We went ahead but in my heart I knew it was highly unlikely I would fall pregnant. Of course two weeks later we did the pregnancy test and it was negative. That was that then – our one NHS funded cycle failed.
We went back to the clinic to discuss the cycle and met with the consultant. I swear he had tears in his eyes as he explained to us that the harvest of eggs was far short of what they expected. Peri-menopause was mentioned and some more blood tests ordered. In short we could try again but the chances of success were reduced. There was no way they could have guessed that this was how the cycle would have gone. I felt our journey had suddenly got a lot longer. My biological clock was chiming in my ears, Christmases had come and gone and every year I thought to myself well next year I’ll either have a baby or be pregnant – I kept being proven wrong. On top of this we now had to find the funds to continue the journey, an extra pressure we could do without. We know a couple that had spent £50,000 on fertility treatment, there was no way this was achievable for us. Now I have to say at this point we had access to money and it was not something that was going to stop us – I do not know how people who are not as lucky as us cope with this added pressure.
I had faith we would have a family somehow and at sometime – but when and how this was the question that was going round and round in my mind. Would we conceive naturally? Would we need donor eggs? Were donor eggs acceptable to me? Would donor eggs be acceptable to my partner and family? Would we adopt? How would we cope with that? Would we give up and be a happy family of two?
We decided to go to see Geeta Nargund at Create Health and take a gentler approach with drugs. Having only got two eggs on a heavily medicated cycle it seemed silly to take all those drugs again when the chances were we could achieve the same or better with less drugs over a shorter space of time. We embarked on a Mild IVF cycle. The side effects of the drugs were much easier to handle and it spanned a much shorter length of time but alas it was unsuccessful again. I was seriously considering egg donation at this point.
We decided to try one more cycle and went for the Modified Natural cycle –a small dose of drugs for 2-3 days only. This was the only reason I was really willing to go ahead. I hated taking the drugs – they made me feel premenstrual and to be honest every injection was an unwanted reminder of what was happening – I think this made them more painful, the more injections I had the more painful they became. We also decided to tell more people what we were experiencing. My partner hadn’t really discussed things with any of his friends. Telling people was hard but everyone was very supportive. I think for some people the surprise was how far down the road we were with the treatment and how low our success rates were, I could see them struggling to know what to say.
The cycle was a breeze, my growing follicles were closely monitored and the cycle was wholly bespoke to how my body was behaving. The egg collection was scheduled to take place the minute the follicles were mature and surprisingly we got 5 eggs. This was high for a natural cycle and especially for me with my previous low egg harvests. The eggs fertilised and there was even talk of having embryos to freeze (sadly none made the grade but the fact we were talking about it was a first!). Embryo transfer took place and it was time for the dreaded two-week wait. To be honest I spent a lot of this time thinking about egg donation and trying to work out how I felt about it. Perhaps it was self preservation but I truly didn’t believe it would work.
My first clue that I might be pregnant was watching comic relief. One of the Blue Peter presenters was doing a tightrope walk over Battersea Power Station, when she reached the end I burst into tears, then I had to pee – again! A few days later I had the blood test and the clinic called me a few hours later to let me know it was positive. I believe I screamed and then of course I cried! It was the most amazing feeling.
If you’ve just read this story the chances are you are reading it because you or someone close to you is having fertility problems. Perhaps my story has inspired you or given you hope, its hard to put what happened to us in words and what I discovered while writing this is I could have written a whole book on the topic! I truly wish you every success in your journey – believe me I know how hard it is to accept that you don’t know what the outcome of your journey will be.
My advice to you is to take control, ask lots of questions and make sure you are aware of as many options that are available to you as you can. If you have been told that your ovaries have low reserve or you are peri-menopausal and high dose IVF drugs do not work, do not give up!
Natural IVF can work as long as you are ovulating. You need your own egg and NOT drugs to have your own baby!
Harriet, 34 years old had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). She had tried conventional IVF elsewhere, got severe OHSS (Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) and nearly died in intensive care unit. She was warned that further conventional IVF treatment would put her at risk again. She had given up hope of having her own baby. Two years later she was told about Natural Cycle IVF/IVM and came to us. Last year we successfully transferred one embryo following IVM with no drugs and now she is eight months pregnant! She believes that Natural IVF/IVM should be used widely to avoid risks of OHSS and other health risks to women with conventional, drug stimulated IVF.
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.
Claudia, 35, already had a child after aggressive, conventional IVF, and wanted another. However, because she had blocked tubes, she needed IVF. She was exhausted after her conventional IVF and said “never again”! It had been very aggressive IVF, had cost her nearly £9000 and she had lots of unpleasant side effects. She had never even heard of Natural Cycle IVF before coming to us; so two ultrasound scans, one follicle, no drugs and £2,000 resulting in another baby made her very happy!
Abigail was a 36 year old with severe endometriosis and she was not able to undergo ovarian stimulation because she suffered from extreme pelvic pain with ovulation and ovarian stimulation could make her endometriosis worse. Her husband’s sperm was normal. She had damaged tubes and needed IVF to help her get pregnant. However, she was not offered IVF without drugs and was told that she should consider having donor eggs. She found out about Create Health Clinics and came to London for Natural IVF. She conceived after her second cycle of Natural IVF using her own egg without any ovarian stimulation. She has a 5 year old daughter following her successful Natural IVF!
My husband and I came to Create following unsuccessful treatments at another private clinic. The initial consultation, a gynaecological MOT in April 2011, enabled the early diagnosis of a benign ovarian dermoid cyst. Following the removal of the cyst, we returned to Create for treatment in August, a process which had begun with testicular sperm extraction and concluded with natural cycle IVF. We were successful. Our first IVF attempt resulted in a beautiful baby girl born in April 2012.
The staff at Create were quite simply fantastic- professional, empathetic and positive. I was looking for an environment which would offer individualised treatment and the possibility of examining all options. Natural IVF worked with my cycle and the reduced level of medication was also a major bonus. Create’s vigilance also allayed any worries I had about ovarian hyperstimulation. As Create rightly state, all that is needed is one viable sperm and a healthy egg. The wonderful ethos of this clinic is woman centred prioritising Gynaecological health not statistics.
Being in my early forties, my expectations of having a child were exceedingly low. The attitude of all staff at Create is so genuinely encouraging. The doctors, consultants, nurses and embryologists cheerfully affirmed my possibilities. During the early stages of my pregnancy I was also able to contact both my doctor and embryologist for advice regarding prenatal testing. This clinic works as a team and has a unified vision. Create really is an extraordinary place with committed staff eager to enable women’s reproductive possibilities safely. My husband and I considered Create to be our support mechanism. This extraordinary achievement is due to the extraordinary people working at this clinic. It should be noted that had we not been successful I would have had absolutely no hesitation in returning to Create for further treatment.
We just want to say a simple thank you. We feel that without you we would not have had our happy ending. During our treatment you were such a positive support and and provided us with hope. We will never forget you and and the role you played in our journey.
We would just like to send you a huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the kindness and care that you have given to our daughter and son-in-law. Their struggle to have a baby was overwhelming.
Our daughter was a patient at another highly reputed fertility clinic and the care she received was cold, miserable, uncaring. She had been diagnosed with low AMH even though she was only 30. Unfortunately her first round of IVF resulted in an ectopic pregnancy which was hugely distressing. She then started her next round of IVF and sadly when she had egg collection the follicles were empty - another sad blow to her somewhat fragile mental state. The IVF clinic that she was attending at the time was heartless, the patients were merely numbers. They were not treated with any understanding or sensitivity that they were a desperate couple who wanted to have their own biological children.