It’s thanks to IVF on the NHS that I have my boy

Katy Pearson, scan photo, seven week scan, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydidUK
As a seven-week fetus – our first look at Sonny Jim

TWO years ago today I was sat clutching my husband’s hand at Bart’s Hospital in London.

After nine years of trying for a baby, five years of fertility treatments and a round of IVF, it seemed I’d finally fallen pregnant.

And two days before my 31st birthday we were waiting for a scan to confirm that it was definitely true, for a first look at our baby, to see its teeny little heart beating.

When Sonny Jim’s flickering heart flashed up on the grainy screen, I cried. He looked a bit like a prawn. Or maybe a crocodile. And it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

I remember almost dancing out of the consulting room. Of course, we knew that there was a long way to go. That things could go wrong. That we’d be heartbroken if the teeny prawn didn’t stay put. But at that moment in time I felt the luckiest girl in the world. It was the best birthday present I’ll ever get.

It was thanks to IVF on the NHS that I had my baby. That I fell pregnant. That I’ll be spending my 33rd birthday playing with my giggly, cheeky toddler.

Much is being said at the moment about IVF. And the fact that 13 areas of England have restricted or completely halted IVF treatment since the start of this year – including Chelmsford, Basildon and soon Southend – sits more than a little uncomfortably with me.

The cutbacks go against national guidelines and create yet another postcode lottery within our national health service. Now there’s one rule for those with cash, and another for the rest of us.

Yes you can argue no one has a right to have a child. But as Professor Simon Fishel, who pioneered IVF in the UK, says: “You have to treat citizens equally and this is a deliberate inequality and obfuscation.”

Selfishly I’m so glad we got in before they changed the rules. Before getting pregnant would have cost us the savings we’d need to actually bring up a child. But my heart aches for all those that follow us, for whom seeing that little heart flickering on a screen just got even more unlikely.

This post was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, August 11, 2017:

3 thoughts on “It’s thanks to IVF on the NHS that I have my boy

  1. Utterlet soul destroying. Even worse is the dangerously high levels they use in the UK which other European count tries do not as it is deemed as unsafe. The risks to hundreds and thousands of women of OHSS just to score success rates. This life threatening condition is becoming more prevelant and common with the high dosage round of IVF administered to patients. I sadly has a severe form and nearly wasn’t here to tell the tale. I too feel very grateful to have been able to have IVF available but I for one could never go through it again. Thankfully 5 years on I fell naturally pregnant. A sure Miracle!!

    1. I’m so sorry you suffered badly with OHSS! Totally agree that the risks can be extremely serious. Just wanted to say my exp with my clinic in London was quite diff and they monitored daily with blood tests and we’re very hesitant to increase from the minimum dose – I had assumed most clinics took that approach but that’s quite frightening to hear that larger doses may be being used to increase success rates. Congratulations on your very special baby xx

  2. Thank you for sharing this and im really pleased to see it went into the Echo (annoyingly I didn’t see it as I’m on maternity leave and would get the paper at work!).

    IVF isn’t spoke about enough and there’s so so much misunderstanding about the availability, accessibility (it’s certainly not handed out to everyone that asks) and the physical and emotionally toll it has on you and for some it is used in order to help treat conditions that have resulted in infertility. Thank you for shining a light on an important but also deeply personal issue!

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