We started trying for a baby 5 years ago and assumed that it would just happen. We got lucky and my wife got pregnant naturally. Unfortunately, after 12 weeks, we suffered a miscarriage, which really hit us hard. We carried on trying naturally for another year, but with no success.
It was such an emotional time—the hope, then the disappointment every month. We went for tests in the UK with the NHS (National Health Service) to ascertain why we had not been successful. Following the tests, the results told us that the sperm was an average count but the eggs were very poor quality. We were also told that my wife had endometriosis and her Fallopian tubes were partially blocked. It was a shock and we discussed whether to continue with more invasive tests.
We made the decision for my wife to have a laparoscopy, after all, we had nothing to lose. After the laparoscopy, the doctor suggested that we could conceive naturally. Unfortunately, a few months later we were still waiting.
Taking the next step
We looked at various routes for IVF in the UK, but to be honest, we were not impressed with the NHS during our tests and other fertility meetings with specialists. We received conflicting advice from the NHS that left us confused and wondering what to do. The chances we were given for successful IVF treatment in the UK were low and we knew we needed to use the money we had to give us the best chance of having a family.
Some of our friends told us about their experience at Shady Grove Fertility, so we decided to check it out. Even on the first call, they spent the time explaining how everything worked and discussed our options. The team at Shady Grove Fertility provided us with much better care than we received in the UK and helped us with our dream to have a family.
Our visit to SGF
We visited Washington, D.C. to have an initial meeting in August 2014. Our first impression was fantastic. The setup was so much better than our experiences in the UK; the staff was polite, welcoming, and very knowledgeable. During our meeting with Dr. Levy, we were advised that the quality of my wife’s eggs was sufficient to try with our own, rather than a donor egg. This advice was provided in a manner that was so much clearer than in the UK and the time invested in us was much greater.
So, we decided to go for it, we had nothing to lose. If it worked, great, if not, we knew we would try the donor route, something that is less available in the UK. The injections the first few times were hard. One of the drugs came in a different type of bottle but we phoned our nurse and sent her a picture. She rang back straight away and helped us with the process. My wife was scared that she might be doing the injections wrong but soon got used to carrying them out.
We flew to Washington, D.C. a week after we started the injections where we stayed close to the clinic. Every morning my wife had an internal scan and blood test to see how her body was reacting to the drugs. It took longer than expected to get to the point where the egg retrieval could be done. We had 12 eggs but only 7 were mature. Every day we waited to see how many continued to grow into blastocysts. Finally, we were ready for the transfer where we had two embryos transferred. The next day we flew home.
My wife got pregnant, unfortunately, the embryo did not imbed properly, and as soon as we received the positive test result my wife started to bleed. We were devastated, but we knew that with Dr. Levy and Shady Grove Fertility we had other options.
After a call with Dr. Levy, we opted for the donor route rather than try again with our own eggs. We chose to do the Shared Risk 100% Refund for Donor Egg. This way we reduced the costs but gave ourselves a real opportunity of becoming a family. We spent a long time choosing a donor and working out what the most important criteria were to us.
Initially, we agreed we would each pick our top three and rank them. Then we would see if we had picked the same people. We both struggled with establishing what the most important things were, the age of the donor, was it looking similar to my wife, the health of the donor and her family, or whether they were a repeat donor. There was so much information we agreed that we would narrow the age range of the donors, opting to not review any donors over 27.
My wife traveled to Washington, D.C. in May 2015 for the transfer, where she was told we had two good embryos. When she returned she was convinced it hadn’t worked but over the next 2 weeks she continued with the injections as we nervously waited to see whether we would be lucky and get a positive test result.
The positive results
We were blessed enough to be told my wife was pregnant and then at 7 weeks, after the sonogram, that the pregnancy was viable. Charlotte Eleanor was born in February 2016, she is amazing. We are so so happy to have a family and a wonderful smiling daughter!!
We would not have had a family without Shady Grove Fertility. We are so grateful for all of the advice, care, and expertise that were provided. It was such a better experience than in the UK, we felt much more confident with the advice given and are obviously delighted with the result! There were times when we thought we would not be lucky and have a family. We will never forget how lucky we have been.