“We want to give hope to other people – a year ago it was us holding on to that hope”
One sunny afternoon, we met our former patients Emma and Nick. The young, beautiful couple were all smiles, holding baby Felicity in their arms.
Here is their story, giving hope to other people who are seeking fertility treatments.
The start of their fertility journey
Emma and Nick’s fertility journey started almost 2 years ago. They were together for 9 years, married for 4, and were trying for a baby for about 12-18 months. Emma is 35, and Nick 36, and they knew the time was getting along. They went for a couple’s fertility check-up at another clinic, when both found out their fertility status was not as they thought it would be. Emma found out that she had a low egg count, and Nick found out his sperm count was so low that the chances of not having children was 99.9%. “I was basically infertile. A lot of it came from when I was in my 20s, I had mumps, I understand now that it affected my fertility”.
After finding out their devastating results and that it would be difficult to conceive naturally, they were advised to come back for another set of tests in 3 months. However, Emma and Nick wanted to start their fertility journey sooner rather than later, because the time wasn’t on their side. They started to do their research into fertility clinics. “We looked at different clinics, at the patient care, success rates and what was available for us. We found Harley Street on social media and it just had that personal care,” both said.
Emma and Nick met Dr Venkat who looked at their test results and explained all the options. “She told us we could start our fertility treatment in 3 months or we could start our treatment now. It made us feel like we counted, and we weren’t just a stereotype, it was just us, and that we were individuals. This provided us with more hope.” Emma says that “It was so easy to communicate. Every time I had a query, it was so easy to get hold of someone. Previously, at different clinics, we were chasing up results. “
Nick adds, “Not having to worry about medication, everything was being taken care of for us, it was great to have the stress taken out. The medication, the doses, if they needed to be changed, it was done straight away. “
Emma recalls that, “No question was too silly to ask. We went into this journey naively. We didn’t look at the big picture. We took it step by step. For us, it worked.”
To get her body ready for egg collection, Emma had to prepare her body for 3 months. And the whole journey was broken up in small steps, to be digested slowly, but thoroughly.
“At other clinics we were given reports with one big picture, and you get lost in that picture. With HSFC we looked at every tiny milestone, it wasn’t overwhelming. With HSFC, we could live our life and go through the journey at the same time.”
Beginning the fertility process
Emma talks about how because she was worried about her age and Nick’s fertility, she didn’t see the point in waiting any longer to start treatment or wait 3 months to redo the tests. Before Emma started IVF, Dr Venkat suggested that she take the time to prepare her body for egg collection. This was to improve her egg quality and thus, her chances of a successful pregnancy. She took medication and tablets for 3 months prior to egg collection. She recalls, “The end result was to have a healthy baby. We could’ve skipped all of these and just gone for an egg collection, hoping for the best, but we followed the advice and we’re so glad we did.”
After completing her egg collection in March, Emma said, “We didn’t have as many eggs as we had hoped, but we had enough.”
Emma collected 7 eggs, of which 3 fertilised. Although disappointed, she remembered that it only takes one good embryo. Emma and Nick decided that they wanted to carry out PGT-A testing on their embryos. Following this, she was left with 2 good embryos. The couple were delighted. “We were blessed to have those 2 embryos. One is still in the freezer and now one is right here with us”, says Emma.
Choosing Donor Sperm
The couple made the difficult decision to proceed with donor sperm for their fertility treatment. Nick recalls, “Unfortunately, as much as I would have liked it to come from myself, it was an unrealistic possibility. At first it was hard for me to get my head around, but we had counselling sessions which really helped me to focus on the positives from the situation.”
Nick and Emma say that the process for choosing donor sperm was very good. They went away and researched their own donors who had characteristics similar to Nick. But unawares to them, HSFC were also researching suitable donors for the couple. In the end, they went with the donor suggestion from HSFC. Nick states, “HSFC really took the stress out of the situation because we felt like we weren’t on our own.” Emma adds, “To hear comments such as -she looks like Nick and she has his cheeks really makes us realise how much of a fantastic job the clinic did.”
Reflecting on their Fertility Journey
Any couple going through fertility treatment, undoubtedly face their dark days and this was no different for Nick and Emma. The overwhelming worry of ‘what if this doesn’t work’ can be all-consuming and leave couples riddled with anxiety. “It is a hard journey,” confesses Emma. “You have to be prepared for the hard times, as well as the good times.”
Nick adds, “from the pregnancy, to watching Emma inject – I’ve never experienced anything like it. You just have to be as supportive as possible. From a husband’s point of view, it’s hard to watch your loved one injecting themselves daily. One of the reasons we did the IVF was because of me and I’m forever grateful to Emma and the clinic.”
Emma recalls, “The journey is hard, but the clinic is very transparent. They never said it’s going to be easy, it’s going to be guaranteed or it’s definitely going to be successful. They were realistic and said, your chances are improving, and we recommend this. We found that the valuable research they had done gave us a realistic view of our journey ahead.”
Two Little Lines
Emma and Nick could not believe that their perfect little embryo had stuck. Finally, they were pregnant. As you would expect, the couple were over the moon, but also aware that their journey to parenthood was far from over. The clinic continued to support the couple with scans, blood tests and a caring and reassuring ear at the end of the phone whenever they needed it right through to week 15 of pregnancy.
Nick recalls, “After 15 weeks onwards we were with the NHS”. Emma adds, “I was so sad, because I could call the clinic anytime, we felt safe in the care of the clinic. Although I know I could still call them at any time, I knew it was time for the next stage of journey.”
A few short months later it was time for Emma and Nick’s baby to be born. Unfortunately, Emma contracted Covid the day before she went into labour. This meant that Emma had to deliver their little girl on her own and isolate at home with Nick for the next two weeks; but always ones to find the positives from a situation, they said that isolating gave them the opportunity to spend some great quality time together as a new family of 3.
About the Clinic
Nick and Emma cannot praise the team at HSFC enough and this was a common thread throughout our interview with the couple. Nick adds, “The clinic changed our lives. We wake up every day, we are so thankful and grateful”.
They recall how all of the team at HSFC were so supportive. Every time they came to the clinic people would remember their names and ask them how they were and later, how the baby was doing. From the wonderful team in Reception, to the Nurses and Doctors, everyone genuinely cared. “We felt so safe and supported at the clinic, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience”, the couple said.
Nick and Emma can’t wait to being baby Felicity into the clinic and share in these wonderful moments with all of the staff who helped them get there.
If you would like to start your fertility journey, please contact us today. We would love to welcome you to our HSFC family.