Before Christmas, we met Faye, a 32-year-old primary school teacher form Lincolnshire. She bravely shared with us her journey and quest for motherhood, with a unicornuate uterus.
What is a unicornuate uterus?
During fetal development, only one side of the uterus develops, leaving a single horned uterus, known as a unicornuate uterus. This also means that only one side of the uterus is attached to a fallopian tube. Although having a unicornuate uterus can make pregnancy harder, is it still achievable with the right support.
Where Faye’s journey started
Faye starts her story by telling us, “In 2019 I went to hospital in Nottingham to have a laparoscopy as I had endometriosis and my husband and I had been trying to have a baby for a couple of years. They also carried out a HCG, which is where they put dye through your fallopian tubes to check that neither are blocked”. It was here that Faye found out she had a blocked tube, which may have been contributing to her infertility. “They asked me to have more tests and another laparoscopy”, says Faye. But Faye didn’t want to go ahead with another laparoscopy, and so started searching for a second opinion.
Finding Harley Street Fertility Clinic
“I spent hours and hours researching,” confesses Faye, “there were seemingly no specialist clinics in Lincolnshire”. Faye joined Instagram and soon discovered our partners, Fertility Help Hub. It was here that Faye saw Dr Venkat speak with Eloise during a few live sessions. She tells us, “I remember Dr Venkat saying they were a small clinic, which appealed to me. I didn’t want to just be a number; I wanted a personal experience”.
Faye organised a zoom call with Dr Venkat, “she really, really put me at ease, she listed all the ways that the clinic could help me without the need to have laparoscopy.”
The zoom call was followed by Faye’s holiday, but she came back refreshed and ready to start her fertility journey.
Dr Venkat suggested a 4D scan, a great decision as Dr Venkat discovered that Faye had a unicornuate uterus. She tells us, ‘I was relieved to discover what the problem was, but at the same time, really apprehensive.’ Dr Venkat reassured Faye and explained the appropriate next steps.
Next Steps: A Hysteroscopy
The next part of Faye’s journey was to have a procedure called a Hysteroscopy (a procedure to examine the inside of a womb). It was during this examination that Dr Venkat and the team tried to find out about the lining of Faye’s uterus, her septum, and if there’s enough space to carry a baby. “Everything was very well explained, the doctor came to talk to me, explaining what they were looking for throughout the procedure,” says Faye. “I didn’t feel a thing, the procedure was pain-free, mild cramping, nothing major.”
A few weeks later, on returning for scans and blood tests, Faye was told her AMH was low. ‘Oh no, something else,’ she thought. “Dr Venkat was amazing, she put me on some supplements to help with the egg quality and I took these supplements ‘religiously’ before I started injections for egg collection” says Faye. She admits she felt nervous about the injections but with the help of her husband, she overcame this hurdle. “To everybody who worries about having the injections, you read a lot online about how painful they are, they were absolutely fine,” she says
Leading up to Egg Collection
“The process was very stressful because my body wasn’t responding as well as we hoped. During the scans we could see that I only had one follicle growing. I was devastated”, says Faye. However the doctors recommended Faye continue with her medication for an extended period. This resulted in 4 follicles ready for egg collection with one viable egg being collected. This egg fertilised beautifully and developed into a blastocyst.
Since we spoke with Faye, she completed another egg collection with Harley Street and we are pleased to report that she has 3 PGT-A tested blastocysts safely in the freezer, ready for a frozen embryo transfer. Faye wanted to wait to transfer her embryos until more bloods had been taken and the doctors had a better idea of what could be going on with her body. In January, she found out from the blood tests that she has low folic acid and elevated NK cells. Now that the doctors know this, Faye can be treated and give her embryos the best chance. She’s looking forward to transferring her embryos soon!
About Harley Street Fertility Clinic
Faye tells us, ‘They go above and beyond for what it can be a very stressful situation’. “When I walked up to the door, I thought this is no nice! It doesn’t look like a hospital. It has a clinical feel, but it’s a nice feel. ….everyone is so friendly,” says Faye.
If you would like to follow more of Faye’s journey, be sure to follow her Instagram account @unicornuate_motherhood_journey.
Through her blogging, she hopes to raise awareness for other sufferers and to be part of the IVF community.
A message for other couples
‘Always have hope. There’s always an opportunity, always people to help you, always people there to support you,' she says.
Faye’s late mum struggled with fertility and it took her 14 years to have Faye – even when you think it’s not going to happen for you, it might … – so you should never give up hope.