Since we launched IVF babble three years ago we have been sent so many messages from people who are currently or have been on a fertility journey and want to help and support others in the same position as them
The compassion, empathy and kindness among the global TTC community is so inspiring and almost always follows a personal struggle. We know from our own experiences that when you survive something so painful, you have this need to help others by using the strength and wisdom you developed on the way – this is the reason we started IVF babble.
We think a lot about those messages from readers, and decided that the best way they could help, would be to listen to others trying to conceive – others who may be struggling, who may feel alone, who may need to just talk, or rant, or cry or just feel like they aren’t the only one struggling to conceive.
So we have launched the IVF babble ambassadors initiative – a global group of men and women who have experienced infertility firsthand. These lovely people will share their stories and invite you to message them via their instagram pages, so that you can start conversations and friendships.
The ambassadors aren’t trained fertility professionals or counsellors, but they understand how you are feeling – ‘they get’ it because they have been where you are.
We are also delighted to say that some of our ambassadors will also be joining us at the Fertility Show London in November and if you’d like to be one of them, then please get in touch.
The ambassadors will be in the little oasis we call the IVF babble lounge and so if you’re planning on coming along then come and join us for a cuppa.
For now though, can we introduce you to the lovely Rebecca, one of our babble ambassadors who would like to share her story
My Story, by Rebecca
“My husband, Nick was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 19 and because of the aggressive chemo and radiotherapy, the chance of his sperm being unaffected was pretty much zero. Banking sperm was just one of the long list of to-do’s before starting treatment and neither of us gave it much thought at the time. We were both a year into university courses and having a family was the last thing on our minds.
“Fast forward 15 years and we’re happily married, renovating our dream house and pursuing our careers. Building a life after remission from cancer is never easy, but we’d got there together. After our wedding, our thoughts naturally focused on the next step – bringing little people into our world. Even though IVF was in the back of our minds, neither of us knew much about it.
“Nick’s medical history meant we were referred to a fertility clinic straight away, something we were thankful for when we realised just how long the waiting list was. We were entitled to NHS funding but made the decision to self-fund for two reasons; we just wanted to crack on and we thought because our situation appears to be a mechanical one (using frozen sperm), that surely we’d be prime candidates who hit the jackpot first time around – oh the benefit of hindsight.
“Before we could even get started, an absolute cock-up between the clinic where Nick’s sperm was banked (not close to home) and our NHS clinic (close to home) meant that our treatment was in jeopardy. Since 2004, when Nick’s sperm was banked, the legal requirements for consent to storage and use of sperm have changed. Under the new rules, the consent forms Nick originally signed didn’t meet the new criteria and the clinic had not thought to correct this. The NHS clinic refused to use his sperm in our treatment because of this error. We had nowhere to turn as we were stuck in the middle of two clinics, neither of whom would accept the other’s explanation of how to resolve this.
“We sought help from fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority(HFEA) and engaged specialist fertility lawyers to see what could be done. After months of back and forth, plus the threat of going to court to get a decision in our favour, our amazing legal team convinced the HFEA that Nick’s sperm was lawfully stored. We were then able to transfer the sperm to our treatment clinic and make a start with our first round of ICSI. The unbelievable stress of this situation was not what you need as a precursor to IVF; the emotional rollercoaster had well and truly begun.
“We’ve now undergone two rounds of ICSI, both which have failed, to our total shock and disbelief (did I say how naive we were before all of this?). Our first cycle resulted in two half decent embryos, but the one that was transferred didn’t implant and we froze the second. We then moved to a private clinic for a second fresh cycle, with the hope we’d be able to bank some good embryos for future use. Despite the stimulation phase going well, we only came away with one embryo, which sadly failed to implant, again. On paper, there is nothing wrong with me and our 19 year old sperm is in fine order.
So far, the doctors have not been able to explain why we’re not getting the result we so badly want, other than its just ‘bad luck’
“We’re picking ourselves up to try for a third time with our frostie, although honestly we’re struggling to keep positive after the many curve balls that have been thrown our way. We’re well aware that 20 percent of frozen embryos don’t survive the defrosting process, but we’re determined to keep trying and have not given up hope just yet. Going through IVF is something no one can ever prepare you for – there are the highs of excitement and hope of ‘what ifs’, followed by crashing blows of loss and grief (sometime in one day), as well as finding ways to deal with all the triggers coming at you from every angle.
“Navigating how to share all of this with friends and family, as well as juggling a busy job is mentally draining, and the financial burden adds a whole other pressure. Despite all of this, I know that whatever happens our relationship will not falter, not when we’ve been through so much to get to this point. Plus the support of the IVF community is just incredible in making you feel that you are not alone on this crazy obstacle course of infertility.
“If you feel like you need to talk to someone who understands how tough this fertility rollercoaster is drop me a DM on Instagram. My insta handle is @mrandmrse_vs_ivf.
I’m not a professional or an expert, but I get it. Sending you huge love.”
If you would like to become an IVF babble ambassador, please drop Sara a line at firstname.lastname@example.org