“If you follow Dr Venkat’s advice, you will have a baby – I had mine at 48 using donor eggs.”
Fairly often, we have older couples coming to our clinic. For them, age is not just a number, but an obstacle in the way of having a child. Today’s story is about Cat and Tom, a couple who decided to come to Harley Street Fertility Clinic a little later in life, in the hope that they would eventually leave with the baby they’d been longing for.
Adoption Or IVF?
Cat and Tom had wanted a baby since they got married, 5 years ago, when Cat was 43. When the subject of children popped up, the couple wanted to choose between 2 routes: adoption or IVF. Cat tells us: “the pressure was off, because we had another option in case IVF didn’t work.”
In January 2017, Cat and Tom went to Denmark for their first IVF treatment which unfortunately was unsuccessful. Following this, they looked at other countries including Spain and Turkey. While at first they were set on doing IVF abroad, it wasn’t long before the hassle of flights, hotels and general arrangements became too much. In the end, they decided to find a London clinic to make things easier.
Finding Harley Street Fertility Clinic
Cat tells us she found information about Harley Street Fertility Clinic online. “I was reading an article about a lady who said she went to Harley Street and really liked the way they treated her.”
Cat and Tom decided to book the first appointment with Dr Venkat - at this point, Cat was 47. She remembers Dr Venkat saying to her: “We have to do all the checks to make sure your uterus is in good condition and is healthy. We also have to run some tests. If there is a problem, we’ll know what it is.”
The couple were convinced that IVF was the right option: “IVF is expensive, but we decided that if we wanted to do this, we had to do it the right way and listen to the experts.”
The test results came back, and luckily all the issues could be rectified with medication. “We discussed the fact I was a certain age – the eggs at 40 are not the same as they are at 35,” says Cat. Dr Venkat told Cat that she may use her own eggs, but that the probability of having a live pregnancy and carrying the baby full term would be low. Cat and Tom thought about the possibility of having IVF with donor eggs. They decided to go ahead, and also chose to attend some counselling sessions.
Choosing The Right Donor & Starting The Process
Cat and Tom were very particular about their donor - they both wanted the donor to look like Cat (they used Tom’s sperm), and also for them to be much younger (18-25). Eventually they chose someone who fit the profile they wanted.
Cat says her fertility journey wasn’t an easy one: ”I had to inject myself every day. I had constant blood tests and drips that would take 2-3 hours.” She also says that, despite the challenges, “the clinic made it amazing. The staff were always kind to me, always trying to help, going above and beyond - truly removing the stress. The IVF journey takes its toll on your body, and your mental and emotional state.”
She also explains that the Harley Street Fertility Clinic staff were like family: “The people that Dr Venkat employs are special. They do really go the extra mile. The nurses were very gentle – every time I had a blood test there, I wouldn’t feel a needle. I can’t say enough about the staff – incredible. They’d be giving me a blanket when I was asleep while having my drips, bringing me tea, checking up on me...”
Cat remembers the moment she was called to be told if she was pregnant, and that she could sense the excitement in the nurse’s voice. “I dropped the phone and I started screaming with joy and my husband picked up the phone and the nurse was laughing,” remembers Cat.
Thinking About A Sibling?
When asked about having a sibling for her toddler, Cat told us how she had already been so blessed with a little bundle of joy. However, the couple are indeed back at the clinic, hoping for a sibling! “We are going to start our next round soon, using the embryos we have.” In her previous cycle, Cat and Tom tested 5 embryos, and 3 came back normal. “We have frozen embryos left, so it’s going to be a frozen embryo transfer”.
A Message For Other Couples
Talking about IVF journeys, Cat says: “it’s a very difficult decision [to have IVF]. It is an expensive procedure, but it is a sure way of having a baby. If you are willing to do what Dr Venkat wants you to do, and do all the checks, the results will be happy. It’s not a simple procedure - at Harley Street they check everything to find the reasons why you haven’t been able to conceive.”
Cat continues: “Yes, it might be expensive, but there is no price for what you are getting - a healthy baby. People try 5 times elsewhere and it doesn’t work. Dr Venkat is very knowledgeable, very caring. She tells you the truth, she won’t sugar-coat it. I didn’t do it 3, 5 or 10 times – I did it once and I fell pregnant. We just followed Dr Venkat’s advice.“
Their message for other older couples is to go and have IVF, but go with an open mind. “You can try using your own eggs, but for us it was IVF with donor eggs. The people who donate eggs are a blessing. I am so grateful that I was able to experience pregnancy, to give birth, nurture and raise the baby.”
At the end of our conversation, Cat confesses that she felt emotional talking about the experience as it brought back some sad and happy memories that she’d almost forgotten about. “There’s nothing in life that compares with being a mother – no price on earth for having a baby. We are going to try for a sibling, if it works then it’s good, but if not, then we are already blessed with a child.”
If you would like to start your fertility journey, we will be delighted to hear from you.