“HSFC was great for me, I was on my own but I didn’t have the feeling I was on my own!”
When we interviewed our patient Daisy, her twins Oliver and Abigail were 11 weeks old. We told Daisy how in awe of her we all were that she chose to have twins as a single mother. She laughed and said “I do what I have to do, without even thinking about it. They are a blessing. They are not an accident, they are wanted!”
Today's story is about Daisy’s wonderful journey with HSFC.
Where it all began
The journey began when Daisy started thinking about having children on her own in her mid 30s. “Three years ago I made the decision to investigate the IVF journey, keeping in mind I was on my own." Daisy expressed how difficult things could be in this day and age for working women to find a suitable partner and potential father.
She made the decision knowing that, as a single person, she wouldn’t be eligible for NHS-funded treatment. Daisy wanted to find a local clinic, in central London where she was based. After doing some research online, she found out about the open day at HSFC. Daisy tells us how she met Dr Venkat at the open day, who “resonated very much with me and reminded me of my aunt, who is a GP in Australia.”
Although Daisy had a supportive family network in the UK, she was still aware that she was going to go through the whole process on her own, and tried to take everything into consideration.
Coming to HSFC for investigations
When Daisy reached the point of starting the injections, she knew she had to tell her family. “I was very nervous about telling my parents. Dr Venkat wanted to support me – Dr Venkat is Tamil so she knows the heritage of the culture. She was very kind and volunteered to speak with my parents. Surprisingly, my parents wanted to be very supportive. The next day I brought them to HSFC and they met Dr Venkat. My parents realised how much I wanted to have children, and they supported me wholeheartedly”.
5 Rounds of IVF
Daisy had 5 rounds of IVF before having her successful pregnancy that led to her twins. “The first egg collections were a journey – lots of injections.” Luckily, the travel to and from the clinic was just a 20-minutes journey, which Daisy tells us “alleviated a lot of the pressure for me.”
Daisy had to have counselling before she started the treatments, and the clinic also offered acupuncture. “The counsellor and acupuncturist were all great,” says Daisy.
For the first IVFs, she had a good number of eggs and a few embryos, but they unfortunately didn’t implant. In December 2019, she underwent another IVF that ended up in an ectopic pregnancy. Daisy confesses that having her left fallopian tube removed was “mentally draining. I didn’t think I would be so affected but I was”.
Taking a break
“I took a break from my IVF journey to make myself ready, but then the pandemic started and the clinic closed. Thankfully, they restarted in June.”
Assuming the June deadline had passed, Daisy contacted Dr Venkat to tell her she was ready, but was unsure whether it was too late to start in June. “Dr Venkat said they could start within a week, which was perfect timing as I was on furlough. I started the medication, and got implanted in July. At the 7-week scan, they found 2 heartbeats.
Enjoying the journey
Daisy says: “It was the first time in 25 years I took time for myself. I started volunteering and cycling everywhere, I lost 2 stone and became healthier.”
She decided to take her pregnancy one step at a time, enjoying every milestone: 7 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks. “I didn’t tell many people, but I told a circle of close people: my brothers, my parents. I played the cards close to my chest. I wanted to go to my 20-week anomaly scan before I told work.” Daisy was in furlough until March, so she started maternity leave the day she gave birth to Oliver and Abigail.
“The support I had from everyone was amazing. Everyone really cared: the nurses, the admin, the doctors.”
A message for others
“I don’t get why people are in awe of me [as a single mother] - nothing is stopping you! In this day and age, more and more people do it. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. I am very lucky my parents support me - they say it takes a village to raise a child!”
Daisy encourages women to find the right clinic for an IVF journey. “HSFC was great for me. I was on my own but I didn’t have the feeling I was on my own - I had nurses coming to my place delivering medicines, and I was able to contact people anytime. Rachael was absolutely wonderful, as was Carys the acupuncturist, the doctors, the sonographer, even the receptionists were so nice. The care I got from HSFC just made it so much easier for me doing it on my own.”
Telling the Children About Their Conception
“I am going to tell them. Maybe not when they are young but when they are ready and can understand. They weren’t an accident. They are wanted babies. In this day and age, I am sure when they go to school they will meet other IVF babies. Maybe even IVF babies from single parent households.They weren’t a mistake - they are wanted, and a blessing.”
Daisy finishes the interview with Oliver wide awake, and Abigail still breastfeeding. The smile on her face shows just how happy she is now that she's a mother.