When we first spoke with Magda, she finished her fertility check-ups, wondering about the next steps (read her blog here).
“Last time we spoke I was just at the beginning of my journey. First appointments, check-ups. Since then, lots of things happened,” starts Magda her story.
The egg collection and first ovarian stimulation
Magda says that, following the investigations, they decided to do one round of ovarian stimulation with own eggs. They did an egg retrieval in September. 3 eggs, 2 got to day 5, sadly none were good enough to be frozen. They ended up having no eggs to transfer. About the difficult time, Magda admits, that it was “devastating and very difficult to accept. Because of my age, and low AMH, many different things were working against us.”
Choosing to take the egg donation route
At the follow up consultation, they spoke with Dr Venkat and decided to cancel the next cycle. “Because of my age, the chances were less than 10% so it wasn’t worth the stress. We decided then and there to go with egg donation.”
About taking the egg donation route, Magda said that “It was a big decision but we knew it was going to happen. We tried with my own eggs but the chances were slim. I was 43. It was a big decision because there was no other alternative.”
They met with Dharshi, the egg donor coordinator, and used the HSFC’s in-house egg bank.
Choosing a donor and counselling
Magda says she wasn’t concerned about physical characteristic, because Magda’s partner is Caribbean, the child would be mixed-race. For Magda it was important that the child would share her ethnicity, so their preferred donor had to be of Polish ethnicity. “We used a young Polish donor. Luckily the clinic had a few Polish donors to choose from.” Magda had one session of counselling before starting her egg donation journey, which was “most beneficial for me. The counselling was very helpful, especially for couples who are having doubts [about egg donation], to discuss these things. I am open about my journey, I don’t hide anything, I want to help.”
“After choosing the donor in September, we waited until May because Dr Venkat decided to do some preparation before treatment. We embarked on a multitude of tests – Endometrio tests (ALICE, EMMA and ERA tests), immune tests (NK Cells, cytokine ratios, thrombophilia screening and autoantibody profile),” says Magda.
Based on the tests, Magda required multiple Humira injections, multiple intralipid infusions and B12 injections ahead of the embryo transfer (all based on the immune test results). She also needed 2 months worth of probiotics to provide a good microbiome in the uterus (owing to the EMMA test results).
Magda says that, “Dr Venkat was very optimistic and encouraging, she said everything was going well.” Although Magda’s partner wasn’t very happy with the delay, they both knew “we gave it the best possible shot”.
Out of 12 eggs that survived thawing, 8 were fertilised. Out of 8 Magda and her partner managed to have 3 good quality, usable embryos. The embryo transferred was 3BB. The other 2 were frozen.
We note, Magda’s partner’s has male factor infertility.
“I was a bit disappointed, very young eggs- the donor was 24-25, a good chance of having a good amount, however, I was disappointed we only got 3 but in the same time I got 3 good quality embryos, and I am grateful.”
The 2-week wait
Magda decided to not do a pregnancy test early and instead to wait for the blood test to be performed at the clinic. At the time of our interview, she had only 2 days to find out. “Two very long days,” as she stressed.
What makes a family
Magda’s partner was very supportive in terms of helping to make the decision of using donor eggs. “My partner was raised by a man who was not his biological dad, so we know it’s not important – it’s about the bond and the love, and the family. As a woman I wanted to experience [motherhood], I wanted to experience pregnancy and being able to carry a child, I didn’t want to give up on that.”
A message for other couples
When she first started her fertility journey, Magda confesses she had no idea about the struggles that will come with a fertility journey, so she would like to reinforce the previous message: “Don’t wait, just do it. Have a fertility check-up. Start your journey. Even if you just want to find out, for your peace of mind, don’t delay. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone’s family is different. Genetics don’t make a family, but love.”
And we had to stop Magda at this moment of our conversation, and to completely and utterly agree with her. Genetics don’t make a family, but love. Love, a bit of science (thank you, Dr Venkat and the HSFC team!) and a bit of magic.
Since the moment she came to our clinic for fertility tests, it took Magda almost a year to get ready for where she is now. A year of tests, preparations, more tests. She is a warrior, fighting for her right to be a parent. Because, they say, the hardest battles are given to those who can fight. Magda’s weapons are syringes, pills, IVF medication, and an incredible amount of love and positive attitude.
Wishing Magda the best of luck with her results, knowing that, whatever the outcome, she is the same strong, beautiful, amazing IVF warrior, part of the HSFC family 😊
Dr Venkat, Director and Senior Consultant HSFC, about Magda and her journey: "Magda's chances to have a pregnancy with own eggs were less than 10%. Her donor cycle went well given the male factor. I am very pleased to hear the news that Magda is pregnant."