Seeta, endometriosis sufferer and fertility preserver
When you are a woman in your early 20s, you may not be thinking of having children yet. But, it’s never too early to check your fertility health. This sentiment is endorsed by our patient, Seeta, who sat down for a heart-to-heart interview with us, to empower young women and make them aware of the importance of understanding their fertility health.
Seeta is a 24 year old woman who just completed three cycles of egg freezing. Her desire to freeze eggs was triggered by a close family member who has been trying to conceive. “I realised that it’s not so easy to conceive on your own timetable,” says Seeta.
Seeta was more open to this conversation since suffering with irregular and heavy periods from age of 13 years. Following a string of appointments across many NHS hospital depts, she was left undiagnosed and feeling very alone. However, it all started to make sense when Seeta met a personal trainer, who shared her story of having suffered with Polycystic Ovaries (PCOS) and suffering. A similar set of symptoms and discussions to address Seeta’s mental health, weight gain and painful periods, encouraged them to draw a link between PCOS and endometriosis. “My personal trainer really made me think, so I booked a fertility check-up with a clinic.” Having missed many weeks of education and work through related illness, Seeta was questioning what was normal. “I used to have periods so heavy, that I had to take a week off work and school,” she says.
Endometriosis and adenomyosis
Seeta asked her GP to refer her to the Gynaecology department for a scan, when she discovered she has endometriosis and adenomyosis, a condition that causes the lining of the womb (the endometrium) to bury into the muscular wall of the womb. Although she was worried about her future fertility and how it might decline over the next few years, the consultant told her “don’t worry you’re too young, come back to the clinic when you are ready to have a family”.
Although Seeta is in a happy relationship, she didn’t want to put pressure on her relationship and rush into motherhood. She was also realistic and didn’t want to discover in a few years’ time that she cannot have children. “Family is everything in Asian culture, and talking about such issues is still quite taboo,” says Seeta, who then decided to seek a second opinion with another clinic.
Why Harley Street Clinic?
She discovered Harley Street Fertility Clinic and Dr Venkat, put her at ease the moment they met. “Dr Venkat looks like someone very dear to me, so I instantly felt connected and at ease,” says Seeta. After having her fertility check done, whilst her adenomyosis was in remission, she discovered her AMH level was that of a 45 year old’s - a very worrying discovery!” “I simply calculated, if I’m at that level now where would I be in a few years’ time.” (AMH or Anti-Mullerian Hormone, is an indicator of a woman’s ovarian reserve. It is small for older women and typically smaller for women with endometriosis).
Egg Freezing at 24
Seeta didn’t want to delay, and her decision to freeze her eggs was taken almost instantly. “It’s now or never,” she said and she decided to discuss all the options with Dr Venkat, who advised her to have multiple cycles of egg collection. “I read about the side effect that the procedures for egg collection could have on my body, and I didn’t want to spend the whole year doing this,” she says. However, Dr Venkat reassured her that it can be done in as little as 6 weeks with back-to-back stimulation (sometimes known as duo-stimulation). “For a successful future pregnancy, I knew I would need 20-30 good eggs, and I was advised that in only one round of egg freezing, that probably wouldn’t be achieved. Dr Venkat was honest and transparent, and strongly advised me to progress with 3 cycles.
Given the cost involved, Seeta decided to start the process of one cycle of egg freezing. The result, 2 eggs collected. She immediately pushed ahead with 2 more cycles and whilst it was an uncomfortable and emotional period, she doesn’t regret it. The cycles improved as the hormones had a compound stimulation effect - 5 and 11 eggs for the second time and third time, a total of 18 eggs collected in the end, “a magic number”.
Stigma in South-Asian families and future generations
Seeta believes the stigma surrounding infertility discussions in South-Asian families is not going to disappear overnight, but the next generation will be more informed and aware. “I attended a HSFC webinar about South-Asian fertility and what I found out blew me away – I even shared the recording with my local GP who was equally ignorant about the findings,” she says. With her story, Seeta is now doing an incredible work as a personal coach in raising awareness about fertility issues in young women.
How her mindset helped Seeta in her journey
Seeta’s attitude to her endometriosis and adenomyosis’s diagnosis and simply “taking action” was helped by her mindset. Seeta says, " I'm proud of my body and mental health despite my body 'failing me'!”
Seeta takes great pride in her job within the fitness industry, empowering other women in their journey. “It is not all about burpees and planks. Mental health and wellbeing, and what we consume are the backbone to how we live our physical health.” Seeta is rightly proud of helping other women in their journey with her amazing approach. “At KMAK Fitness, we are proud to have a large community that supports one another through things that aren’t just typically ‘fitness’ related,” says Seeta.
A message for other women
Seeta has very wise words for other women who are considering freezing their eggs. “You're never too young to get your eggs frozen. A mild inconvenience in early life or a lifetime of heartache," she says.
For Seeta, 18 was her magic number. Although she might not be ready for children yet, she knows that her fertility is future proofed. Seeta’s incredible resilience to her story is proved by her very wise words: "Life does not present things to you that you can't handle".
We agree with her statement, but we would also like to add that sometimes you simply need to take action. Because there’s always an option available to you.
Thanking Seeta for telling us her wonderful story and empowering young women.
If you would like to check your fertility health, why not contact us today? We would love to help you and reassure you about your fertility health.