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October 15, 2020

Our Family: Zoe, mum of an angel and a schoolboy



“Never give up!”

 Our incredible stories feature many patients, each at different stages of their fertility treatment journey. While some have simpler pregnancies, others go through heartache and loss before finally meeting their precious babies. What our patients have in common is that all of them are prepared to fight to become a parent. All our patients are also strong believers that one day, they will get to hold their baby in their arms. At Harley Street Fertility Clinic, our IVF specialists make it their mission to help these patients fulfill their wishes.

Today's story is about Zoe, a wonderful mother of two. She's the mother of an angel, Finlay, and a four-year-old schoolboy, Reggie. While her story is about a painful loss, it's also about hope and determination.

You can listen to Zoe’s full story via our podcast.

Zoe and Mark’s Fertility Treatment Journey

Zoe begins her story by describing her first visit to Harley Street Fertility Clinic, London, eight years ago. “We went there for my first, initial tests as well as my husband’s,” she says.

After having both the male and female fertility check-ups, tests, and scans, the couple found out that Mark carried the cystic fibrosis gene, and consequently had low sperm count. Dr Venkat then assessed their case and discussed all the procedures suitable for them.


The Angel

Zoe's first child was born after eventually having a successful treatment at the IVF clinic.

“We went through a few IVF cycles before having Finley, who was born prematurely,” Zoe recalls. “Finley passed away. He died from Sudden Infant Death, which had nothing to do with IVF. He would have been seven years old.”

Dr Venkat and Marion soon found out about Zoe and Mark's tragedy and called the couple straight away in an attempt to comfort them.

“Their door was always open, even if we just wanted to pop in for a chat, they were just fantastic,” Zoe says.


Trying Again... and Again

After a while, the couple felt “desperate to have a baby,” and so they decided to try once again with the help of our IVF specialists.

The whole process started again for the couple, but unfortunately, the first few procedures failed.  Zoe remembers being advised to start looking at other options such as donor sperm. "Dr Venkat said that she didn't want to keep putting us through all these [treatments].”

After numerous failures, the pair decided to try one last time. Zoe remembers asking Dr Venkat, "please, one more try, then we’ll sit down and explore other options."

Zoe had egg retrieval and the eggs were fertilised with her partner’s sperm. Once again, it turned out to be a difficult cycle, with only two embryos surviving.

“Dr Venkat suggested having the embryo transfer straight away, [she said] ‘the best thing to do is to put the embryos with you. Not in the lab, but with you, in their natural environment’ and this is what we did.”

At this point, Zoe remembers feeling very pessimistic, but she did as Dr Venkat suggested, and both embryos were transferred.


The Miracle Pregnancy

When the results finally came in, there were smiles all round.

“We went to the clinic for a blood test because we never wanted to have a blood test at home. Dr Venkat called me and said ‘you are pregnant’. The worst cycle I could have had, and it turned out I was pregnant,” smiles Zoe.

Zoe and Mark returned to the clinic for the seven-week scan, but had some concerns. “I called Dr Venkat and I told her I didn't feel pregnant anymore. Medication can prevent you from knowing you had a miscarriage because this is what happened in the past, in another miscarriage.”

Because of these concerns, Dr Venkat invited Zoe to come to the clinic for another blood test and an earlier scan. Zoe was prepared to hear the worst news, and was full of nerves. Marion, a nurse at HSFC, held Zoe's hand as she felt for a heartbeat.

"It all went silent and I said to myself 'oh no, it’s bad news’. But then Marion said ‘I can see a heartbeat!’”

After hearing the great news, the couple went straight to Dr Venkat’s office and "the whole clinic came in...they were so happy for me”.

Whenever she talks about her second son, Zoe beams with happiness. “Reggie is four and he already goes to school. He is a summer baby.”


Our HSFC Family

Zoe talks about her experience at our London fertility clinic:

“Dr Venkat cares so much about what she does. The whole clinic does. We went to another clinic and felt we were just a number. [At HSFC] you are so much more."

“Dr Venkat was incredible to me and Mark. She was always there for us.  Always making us feel so special. She was very sensitive about what happened but she was also there for the whole process, trying to make me pregnant. Marion as well. Incredible, just incredible.“

“We had so many scares throughout the pregnancy. Dr Venkat always said, ‘call me, if I can’t answer I will get back to you’.  Marion, Suvir, Krystal and Dr Muhkergee, they were all incredible."

“When you're having a fertility treatment like this, it’s so intrusive and personal. Not everybody can do it and also tailor the treatment to you. Dr Venkat takes the time to go through everything with you."



A Hopeful Message

Zoe ends her interview with an inspiring message for other women hoping for successful fertility treatments.

“Never give up. I so nearly did. You become tired and emotional. Don’t give up, keep believing it will happen, and it will happen, as long as you keep trying. I am the living proof of that. Reggie was the sixth cycle. I wanted to give up so many times but I would never allow myself to. Keep persisting and believe it will happen.”

Our patient also had some words about the team at HSFC:

“Dr Venkat? She knows how special she is to me. And Marion and the whole team.”

We would like to thank Zoe for sharing her heartbreaking, yet inspirational story. Zoe, the fighter, the believer, the mum of two- baby angel Finlay and schoolboy Reggie.

At Harley Street Fertility Clinic, we understand the difficulties and complications that may come with IVF, but we are always here to support our patients, who are and always be part of our family.