“Don’t rush! It took us 10 years to have the family we wanted to have!”
We love finding out about our patients’ journey, and keeping in touch with them long after they first set foot in our clinic.
Today’s story is about Anne-Marie, who started her fertility journey with Harley Street Fertility Clinic in 2015, and now she is a proud mother of two, a new-born and an almost 3 year old.
We interviewed our patient Anne-Marie using modern technology, while her newborn son was having a nap and her daughter was watching a movie. While talking to us about her fertility journey, Anne-Marie was sometimes joined by Poppy-Mairead, her daughter, who wanted her mummy – which made our podcast simply amazing (can you guess what Poppy-Mairead was singing in the background? We absolutely loved hearing her saying “mama” a few times).
“We got married in 2011 and tried for a family. The trouble was, I was diagnosed with Polycystic ovaries syndrome, and had issues ovulating. My husband also had had sperm motility issues so we thought IVF would be the best way forward,” Anne-Marie starts her story.
They had their first consultation in August 2015 and, as part of the treatment, they had complete fertility tests. “My husband and I wanted to have a full picture of our fertility so we took tests and discussed everything with Dr Venkat.”
The process started and as part of it, the killer cells were tested, followed by a treatment with intralipids. “We started our treatment with intralipids in January 2016. They didn’t come down at sufficient levels. I took time off, to be able to do the whole treatment and to recover. I remember Dr Venkat calling me at 10 or 11 in the night, saying ‘I have the results, unfortunately they are still not low enough to make an IVF cycle as successful as it could be’. I trusted the team all the way through, the embryologist, the nurses and Dr Venkat,” recalls Anne-Marie.
Anne-Marie had egg retrieval around Easter 2016, then she and her husband decided to use ICSI, a technique that uses a single sperm injected into an egg, and to freeze the embryos at day 3. “We used in the end ICSI, because we wanted to have as many embryos as possible,” she says.
In summer 2016 Anne-Marie had the embryos transfer that didn’t lead to a positive pregnancy.
18 months of treatment to have a baby
“We still had 2 embryos left,” Anne-Marie continues her story. “It was important that it wasn’t rushed. It had to be done at the optimal time, and in ideal conditions for a great success rate.”
Anne-Marie had treatment for more than a year - from the initial consultation in August 2015, to the embryos being created in April 2016, and first embryo transfer in August 2016.
“I was in treatment the whole year. I continued to lose weight, another issue that concerned me. I continued to have some top-up intralipids, and in December 2016 we had another frozen embryo transfer which was successful. The following September I had my daughter Poppy-Mairead,” says Anne-Marie, while Poppy-Mairead, the living proof that the treatment worked, sings and laughs in the background.
The second child
When Poppy-Mairead was 1, Anne-Marie and her husband decided to try for a sibling. “We were both getting older, which obviously affects your fertility. Just after Christmas 2018, we decided to go and see Dr Venkat so we went back to the clinic.” They had a consultation in January 2018, but the treatment didn’t start until August – 8 months later! “Again, we didn’t rush into it. Having polycystic ovaries and being overweight, the prospect of starting the IVF journey helped me and motivated me to lose weight.” They repeated all the tests, including the killer cells, “we decided to not do the intralipids this time but went straight for IVIG.”
Their son was born in May 2020.
Flexibility of appointments
“The flexibility of appointments was great. I didn’t miss any time from work to have my treatment, I had lots of appointments in the evening, in my time off or weekends. The clinic was very good, if we could do something over the phone, even before Covid, we would. This encouraged me to come back to HSFC – as a team, they really tried and helped me out – the second time I had to juggle the childcare, asking for people to babysit my daughter, some appointments were a couple of hours long. This was something I really appreciated, weekend, or evening appointments,” says Anne-Marie.
When asked about her fertility journey, Anne-Marie’s reply was that “it wasn’t a straightforward journey. There were lots of ups and downs, and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with IVF.”
The whole experience of having IVF, says Anne-Marie, was “a little bit overwhelming for the first time because I didn’t know if it would work, I was nervous. I really wanted to have a family. Both my husband and I didn’t know what to expect. The support that we’ve got throughout the process helped us, kept us focused and on track, and the sense of humour of the whole team helped us.”
When asked about the staff, Anne-Marie said that “Rachael, Adrian are great nurses. Marion is absolutely brilliant as well. They were frank and open. They tried hard and were very patient.”
Anne-Marie doesn’t forget to mention our brilliant reception staff. “The guys at reception, Stephen and Joana, were brilliant. When I had tests with my second child and I had to bring Poppy-Mairead with me, they were quite happy to entertain her at Reception. I think Suvir (the General Manager) just had a baby so he was also happy to entertain.”
“When they are stressed, or busy, they are very good at not transferring that stress to the patient, and moving on quickly. They would still give you time needed for whatever that might be,” says Anne-Marie. When she came back to have her son, Anne-Marie compared “being back and talking to the team, like counselling.”
What about the embryologist? “You could only see the embryologist at the end, although they play such an important part of the journey. They are all just lovely. The nursing staff, the reception, the embryologist”.
Dr Venkat – one of a kind
“The support that Dr Venkat offers throughout the whole process is outstanding. She always greets me with a smile. What strikes me with Dr Venkat is that she is always willing to listen to me. She is one of a kind.”
Anne-Marie has a few words for people who are just starting their fertility journey. “My biggest message would be: don’t rush! I understand the needs and the emotional state of mind when you start the process. I would describe it as a journey, because you have to take your time, listen to medical advice and not rush it. Everyone’s journey is different. Don’t measure yourself against other people, it has to be what’s right for you!”
“It took us 10 years to have the family we wanted to have. Take your time, and trust the staff, they know what they are talking about and are very supportive.”
Would Anne-Marie recommend HSFC?
“Without a shadow of doubt, I would recommend it. Once you go in and talk to the team and start meeting the team, you know they are a close-knit network, it is almost like a family, everyone knows everyone, they support each other very well and they are able to support the patients.”
Anne-Marie is looking forward to visiting the clinic in person and seeing the whole HSFC family. Anne-Marie finishes her story with a very strong statement. “I always feel, it’s a shame that we’ve completed our family so we don’t come to HSFC anymore.”
And we are here to contradict her and to say that, once you’ve become part of our HSFC family, you will always be part of our family. The loving, supportive, amazing family that always welcomes you back with open arms.
If you would like to start your fertility journey with us, please email us on email@example.com or call us 020 7436 6838. We are looking forward to hearing from you.