Amber, a small business owner from Bournemouth, knew from an early age that she would have trouble conceiving when her periods stopped at the age of 14. However, after an emotional and complex journey, Amber and husband Dan are now proud parents to son Leo.
Amber experienced one period at the age of 14, but unfortunately never experienced another, and despite investigations, doctors were unsure of the cause. “I had a womb and ovaries, They didn’t know why I wasn’t having periods, but I was told that if I ever wanted a baby, I was likely to need help” Amber remembered. She was initially put on the contraceptive pill which was eventually changed to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to keep her womb active and her heart and bones healthy.
When Amber was 29, she and husband Dan, were ready to try for a baby. The couple were referred to a local fertility clinic, where Amber was told to come off HRT and was given hormone tests and scans. The tests showed that Amber had slightly low oestrogen, but all her hormone profiles were normal. However, due to being taken off HRT Amber had no womb lining. As there was no indication that Amber had been through early menopause, the doctors were baffled. She was unfortunately given an incorrect diagnosis, leading to the prescription of Clomid, a commonly used fertility drug used to stimulate ovulation.
After 3 years at age 32, after an Initial Consultation at Wessex Fertility the couple finally got the answers that they needed. She was referred to Dr Sue Ingamells, and was diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhoea. Hypothalmic amenorrhoea is a condition that occurs when the Hypothalamus in the brain slows or completely stops releasing hormones that stimulate menstruation. Amber’s womb and lining was extremely small.
No one person was to blame, but the system was letting me down, and years were going by without any treatment because the doctors couldn't find the problem.
The couple felt they had been lost in the system, so decided to fund privately for treatment at Wessex Fertility. “I was put on a very long cycle; they literally needed to re-grow my womb”. Amber was given a course of oestrogen patches, and had scans at the clinic every 3 weeks to check progress. After a 3 month wait, the couple were nervous to discover if the course of drugs had worked, but were delighted to be told the news they hoped for, Amber’s womb had re-grown. “Wessex had literally saved my fertility!” remembers Amber.
Amber was then given drugs to stimulate ovulation. The couple were stunned to find out that they had been successful on their first cycle of treatment. After a healthy pregnancy Amber and Dan were delighted to finally welcome their son Leo into the world. “We felt so incredibly lucky.” remembers Amber.
After settling in with baby Leo, the couple went back to Wessex Fertility for an appointment with Dr Sue Ingamells to review their options for trying for another child. Amber was advised to stay on HRT to maintain the size of her womb, so that another cycle of Ovulation Induction could begin when the couple were ready to try for another child.
I feel like Sue was the first doctor to really understand. Wessex literally fixed our fertility and all of the mistakes that had previously been made by other consultants. I wish I had come to Wessex Fertility much sooner, but I wouldn't change it, as we wouldn't have Leo.
Amber and Dan have always felt at home at the clinic. “It’s really lovely and welcoming, and equipped to deal with tears. Dan likes that you can relax and have a cup of coffee!” recalls Amber.
“If I could tell women going through fertility treatment anything, I would say yes, it is stressful, I have moments of anxiety, but try to keep calm, I really believe it helped me and my treatment. Take matters into your own hands, and always get a second opinion.”