Alison and Matthew met about 14 years ago at college whilst attending a design course, they first became friends which eventually moved on from there. Alison is self-employed as an Avon Manager and Matthew is a Digital Designer. Several years into their relationship, they started trying for a baby but as Alison had been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries when she was 17 there were some fertility issues.
Alison says: “Like most people, we went to the GP and after tests were carried out, I was put on metformin and referred to Basildon Hospital in December 2011. We underwent tests and further treatment for the next four years or so but unfortunately during this time I suffered a back injury which went on for about a year and so I had to stop the fertility treatment because of the medication for my back."
“The back injury also had an adverse effect on my weight and I wasn’t very mobile. The NHS wouldn’t allow us to continue with my treatment because my BMI was too high. I joined Slimming World and over a period of time I did get down to a BMI of 30.5. They still wouldn’t refer me because the referral cut-off was a BMI of 30. I was due another appointment in early December 2016, which they cancelled. I then discovered Essex had cut all the NHS funding for IVF across the board. We were both devastated as we wanted a baby more than anything else, we now had to accept this would not happen with the NHS and we would have to look into other options. We had no idea where to start or even if it would be possible due to our ages and so on.”
It was then that Alison saw an advert on Facebook for Simply Fertility’s Open Evening in January.
Alison continues: “We decided to go and find out more. We went along to the Open Evening and the service they provided was amazing. We found all the team very friendly and they didn’t mind how many questions we asked. Nothing is too much trouble for them and it’s like one big family. It is a clinical environment but at the same time, it’s not. If that makes sense.”
The treatment Alison and Matthew had at Simply Fertility was ICSI. Alison says: “We had heard of it but it hadn’t ever been mentioned by the NHS because we never got that far. The Open Evening gave us as much information as possible to see what we were facing and we also had a 10 minute consultation with Mr Gangooly. I explained what had happened and he was able to tell us roughly what they could offer us. We came away with a lot of hope and the feeling that there was another door to open; we did have another option.”
The treatment process and the emotional journey can be tough but if you have each other, are in it 100% and have good family support, you will get through it.
“After the Open Evening we made the decision to go ahead. In the end, we had two lots of ICSI. Naturally we were quite scared as it was the unknown and we had not done anything like this before. Matt was a very supportive partner and was involved in everything including giving me my daily injections. Having IVF treatment can be very intense and emotional, it’s so important you have support around you, both as a couple and individually."
“For our first round, we had to go to sister clinic, Boston Place in London to have the egg collection and transfer. It was hard going to a different clinic as we did not know the team, although they were all very friendly, we had not built a report with them. To go through all of that and then find it was unsuccessful was very hard. We left it a few months and tried again. The second time wasn’t so scary and we knew what to expect and this time all the treatment was done at Simply Fertility’s new clinic in Chelmsford, so it was closer to home and so much easier because we knew the team and it was friendly and relaxing.”
“Getting the positive pregnancy result was amazing and my pregnancy was fantastic. I had no sickness although from six months, I had gestational diabetes which is quite common. The birth was a different story and I ended up having an emergency c-section because of a heavy bleed at 38 weeks. Although it was very scary at the time, we’ve got him now – and he’s perfect!”
Alison is currently on maternity leave and loves being a mummy to baby Oliver, now eight weeks old. She says: “Simply Fertility helped us get our little miracle and we will never be able to thank them enough. I have recommended Simply Fertility to two of my friends, one has gone to them and the other is thinking about it. I wouldn’t have any qualms recommending them to anyone, both of us found them amazing. It is still early days to decide if we will try again but if we do we will most definitely be returning to Simply Fertility.”