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Forces family Charlotte and Andrew successfully undergo IVF whilst moving base

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Primary school teacher, Charlotte, 32, lives near Swindon with her Army Officer husband Andrew. She explains how her baby Nathaniel was helped into this world by clinics 500 miles apart.

“Both Andrew and I have always wanted children; I picked my career because I love children, so shortly after marrying, we started to try for a baby. A year or so with no success, we underwent fertility tests, but as these came back with no concerns, we continued to try naturally.

“A few months later Andrew was transferred to Inverness. With Andrew in the forces, we move every few years. My teaching qualification isn’t recognised in Scotland and so unable to work, I spent lots of time with lots of the other forces wives. Whilst this was great, we did some fantastic walks, it also meant spending lots of time with their children, reminding me of my dream of having a child.

“So we visited our new GP and asked for more fertility tests. But still young, they recommended we try naturally for another two years. After this time had passed, we returned and underwent testing, which came back as unexplained fertility. Although frustrating, it did mean we could be referred for NHS IVF treatment.

“We waited six months for our treatment to start, at a clinic two hours away in Aberdeen. Once underway everything seemed to go well, but when my eggs were being harvested, although 28 were gathered, I started to bleed. I had to be transferred to a hospital to stay the night.

“Despite feeling traumatised from the experience, we did produce 17 embryos, ten of which were good quality. From these, seven were frozen and one was transferred to me. After all this, I was shattered when ten days later I started bleeding.

“Shortly after, we moved to Salisbury. We wanted to continue our IVF treatment plan so we contacted our local NHS team and were shocked to learn that NHS England won’t take embryos frozen in Scotland. Our good quality embryos waiting for us couldn’t be used, we would have to start the process again, and I would have to go through another egg harvesting.

“Rather than abandon our embryos, risk me reacting badly to another egg collection and wait any longer, we decided to pay for private treatment. Based on personal recommendation from a family member, we chose Oxford Fertility.

“The facility is fantastic – very bright, easy to get to and lots of parking. All so less stressful than my Aberdeen experience. But most importantly the team were fantastic and the nurses were lovely. The clinic also felt that it made sense to use the existing good quality embryos, and avoid the egg harvesting that caused me problems last time. They arranged for the embryos to be safely transported the 500 miles. At £500 this seemed good value compared with re-starting a fresh IVF cycle.

“Two embryos were transferred but two weeks later, I started to bleed. We took a pregnancy test, and it was negative. We were crushed. Whilst overcoming the disappointment, about eight weeks later I had sharp pain in my abdomen and was bleeding. Thinking maybe I had appendicitis, I rushed to hospital, where I discovered I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. My bleed had been one of the embryos not implanting, the other had become stuck in my fallopian tube. I was rushed in for emergency surgery, and one of my fallopian tubes was removed.

“It had been such a shock, but it had also given us hope. We needed to take time for my mind and body to recover, but we planned to try again. We went on holiday, I started mindfulness, yoga and saw a counsellor that the clinic had recommended.

“As we started our third attempt, I was so much healthier and positive than I had been before. Two frozen embryos were transferred, again avoiding an egg collection. This time when we took our pregnancy test, we were overjoyed to see the ‘pregnant’ sign shining back at us. Our early scan showed that both embryos had started to develop, but when it came to the twelve week scan, only one had continued to grow. My pregnancy went well, although at 37 weeks my ‘bump’ had turned into a breach position which meant a caesarean birth. I was also petrified when arriving into the world he didn’t breathe and was rushed into the neonatal unit.

“But thankfully after two weeks Nathaniel was able to come home. He’s everything that we dreamt of. We can now experience the joys of having a child. Starting the baby classes, sharing experiences with close friends. We both come from close families and can now give that to a baby of our own. We could never imagine our lives without Nathaniel.

“I would recommend Oxford Fertility to others. I would say to go and visit. Going through IVF you are so vulnerable, going through an invasive procedure. You need to feel comfortable with the people you are entrusting. Oxford Fertility has a positive feel, and although IVF was tough, I felt happy there.

“We are so grateful to have our own baby. Although our journey has been hard, I would do it again. I’m glad we explored every option to have our own child, we’ll never wonder or regret anything.”

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