Fertility myths busted

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

No test-tube used here…

Despite the fact more than 60,000 couples have IVF every year, (us being one 2015’s crop!) there’s still rather a lot of myths surrounding infertility and assisted conception.

So, when the new Bourn Hall clinic opened in Wickford earlier this year I got chatting to one of the fertility nurses and asked her to dispel some of the more common…

MYTH – If a woman is born with no uterus (womb) it is not biologically possible for her to be a mother

FACT – If a woman has no uterus but has working ovaries then she still may be producing eggs. Having some of her eggs removed and fertilised with her partner’s sperm and arranging for a surrogate to carry her child is an option which some women choose. Bourn Hall was the first clinic to provide surrogacy with IVF.

MYTH – “Test-tube babies” are “made” in test tubes

FACT – Although embryology labs do have test tubes they are mainly for storage purposes not the actual process of IVF. The process of mixing the sperm with the eggs is actually done in a petri dish!

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New IVF clinic officially opens this week in Essex

Katy Pearson, Angela Leach

Bourn Hall Wickford: Me with fertility nurse specialist Angela Leach

A NEW multi-million pound IVF clinic officially opens in south Essex this week.

More than a thousand procedures, to help people struggling to conceive, will be carried our per year at the £5.2m Bourn Hall centre.

I was given a tour around the London Road clinic in Wickford ahead of the opening.

The purpose-built centre replaces a smaller, satellite clinic, which was in the same road, and is one of six Bourn Hall clinics in East Anglia.

Sarah Pallett, Bourn Hall’s business development director, said: “Our concern is people often go into denial about their fertility problems and put off getting advice through embarrassment. Continue reading

Siblings shape us… but do ‘onlies’ really miss out?

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Just how important are siblings? My Sonny Jim

We’ve just had International Sibling Day and it got me thinking…

Just how important are sisters and brothers?

I’m one of four (the elder sister of triplets. Yes, triplets. I knoooow.) Sonny Jim’s daddy is one of three (a big brother to two sisters.)

Growing up, both our homes were noisy, busy, at times raucous, places. As the eldest, we both looked out for the littles that followed us. Learnt to share, to row, to compromise. To love – even when they stole your hair straighteners (yes, Clair, I’m talking about you) or left the milk out before your breakfast (warm milk…yuuuuk. Thanks for that Luke and Sam.) Continue reading

When infertility leaves you feeling useless, it’s good to have options

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, IVF, #whatkatydidUK, Bourn Hall

Thanks to IVF: My darling boy

I’ve written previously about how IVF on the NHS in Essex is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Until 2014, all the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the East of England offered the same level of provision to all eligible patients, which was in line with the NICE recommendation of three full cycles of treatment.

Then things started to change all over the country… especially here in Essex.

By the end of last year lots of CCGs had ditched IVF completely – in a bid to save the NHS cash. Mid Essex now offers no IVF whatsoever, neither does North East Essex. Or Basildon and Brentwood. Castle Point still offers two cycles. And most recently, Southend (after an extensive consultation process) now offers just the one cycle – and only if you’re under 40.

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New clinic set to make IVF easier for mamas-to-be in south Essex

Bourn Hall, Wickford, Essex, #whatkatydidUK

Opening soon: Bourn Hall’s new purpose-built IVF clinic in Wickford

Sonny Jim was conceived thanks to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) at Barts Hospital, in London.

We were living in Leigh-on-Sea (in Essex) while undergoing the process. And while I think I would have travelled to Scotland three times a week, if it meant the treatment would be a success, there is no doubt the commute to the clinic did take a bit of a toll.

Juggling a job on a regional newspaper, with the newsroom based in Basildon, but travelling into London to undergo internal scans (always a joy!) and blood tests and egg collection and embryo implantation was not exactly easy. A lot of the appointments were mere minutes long… but the round trip meant it was at least a 3-hour plus process. Which was not simple to slip in before work. It meant I had to tell my boss I was having IVF – and while he was very understanding and good about helping me work shifts around it, I would still have rather not have had to tell him. Continue reading

Rubbish things no one tells you about IVF

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Worth it all: My Sonny Jim

The first IVF baby was conceived on this day, 40 years ago (#IVFis40).

To mark the (rather amazing!) milestone, as a mama of an IVF tot, here are some rubbish things no one ever tells you about it…

  • If you are a needle-phobe, it will either break you – or cure you.

By my reckoning, one cycle of IVF probably involves you getting stabbed about 70 times (in your belly, your thigh, in your bum cheek.) A lot of them you’ll have to do yourself, or get your other half to do. You’ll even have a special yellow toxic-waste sharps bin – like actual drug addicts on TV. Continue reading

Nine things NOT to say to someone struggling to have a baby

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydidUK

So worth the wait: Me and my Sonny Jim

Next week is National Fertility Awareness Week (#TalkFertility.) As someone who waited NINE years for her baby boy, it’s a cause close to home.

So, to mark it, here are nine things people who are struggling to have a baby really hate being told…

*Just relax… it’ll happen just as soon as you stop worrying about it.
Trust me, hearing this does not make you feel zen. At all.

*You’d be such a great mum/your husband will be such a great dad.
When you’re living with the fear you’ll never have children, this cuts. Deeply.

*It could be worse… you could have cancer.
Yes, generally things can always be worse. But this is kind of like comforting a person whose mother has just died by saying, it could be worse your mum and dad could have both died. Continue reading