From referral to starting treatment

In July 2018, we had our first consultation with a fertility specialist to discuss our fertility issues and a treatment plan. However, we had both quit smoking and were using an e-cig to help kick the habit (I would have really struggled without that e-cig!). We were honest about using an e-cig with our fertility specialist, but this meant we had to do a 6 month no smoking course! So we ditched the e-cigs straight away and had to meet up with this lady every month in our local sainsburys cafe and breathe into a machine which measures the amount of carbon dioxide in our breath to prove that we were non-smokers, which of course we passed each time!

So 5 months later in December, they invited us back for another consultation to prepare for treatment!!! This was so exciting, it felt like we were really going to have a baby soon!
We were told that we would get 3 cycles free on the NHS (thank the lord for the NHS!)
3 cycles is actually really generous we thought! Especially seeing as depending on where you are from in the UK determines how many cycles you get on the NHS, if you are from Oxford you only get 1 cycle!

Anyway, for Christmas that year Will bought me the coolest Christmas present ever! A hp sprocket, which is kind of like a polaroid, but rather than it being a camera its like a mini portable printer which you connect to from your phone through bluetooth and can print mini photos. Also you can peel the back off and stick the picture to anything! Which gave me the idea to start a scrapbook of our IVF journey and fill it in as we go along, with mini pictures of us together and what we’re doing at that point in our lives, and obviously what we’re going through treatment wise.
Imagine when our child can look back at our scrapbook and realise just what a miracle they really are!

A bit about me and why I am going through IVF

So, first off I will start by saying this is my first attempt at creating a blog! So i’m a bit all over the place at the moment because i don’t really know what i’m doing, and definitely winging it! So apologies if it all looks a bit messy!

My name is Steph, i’m 23 years old currently living in Gloucestershire, UK.
I don’t really have any hobbies as such, I just LOVE animals!!! In particular cats, you can see three of my beautiful babies on the right. But I really do love all animals. And cheese.

So, what we’re really here to talk about is why am I going through IVF?! And probably a question you’re all asking is, why so young?
Well, 2 years ago when me and my partner Will, age 31, decided we wanted to have children in the near future, I came off the pill and thought it wouldn’t be long before I fell pregnant and everything would be perfect and we would live happily ever after. Well obviously that wasn’t the case. We werent actually trying for long at all before we made an appointment with our GP, and that is because Will knew he had a very low sperm count and was concerned that we would not be able to conceive without assistance.

So the GP tries to expain to us that we need to have been trying for 2 years before we would get referred to fertility specialists. But Will being Will, (he’s an EXTREMELY impatient person, he wants everything done there and then!) managed to get them to refer him for a semen analysis, and also test my fertility to rule out any other possible cause of infertility. We had actually only been trying for 6 months at this stage, which I know is no time at all, however we were soon informed that the chances of us conceiving naturally were very, very slim!

Photo by sergio souza on Pexels.com

So Will had a semen analysis test, which came back showing he has very low count. The average sperm count is anywhere from 15-200 million sperm per ml. Will’s sperm count is only at 2.2 millions, which is considered very low. Tests also showed that the motility of his sperm was very poor, meaning that they aren’t very good swimmers either!
In the midst of this, I had lots and lots of blood tests to check my hormone levels. Luckily, all of my results came back normal, which was a relief! However due to Will’s semen analysis results, our GP agreed to do an early referral to a fertility specialist.