Emma-Jayne: when IVF doesn't work

23 July 2018

Interview with

Emma-Jayne Watkins, IVF patient

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Fertility science has come such a long way in the 40 years since IVF began to be used, but even so, overall only about 30% of treatment cycles are successful. Sadly, this means that at least 2 thirds of people don’t achieve the outcome they had hoped for. Katie Haylor spoke to Emma-Jayne...

Emma-Jayne - Me and my partner had been trying for about six years to have a baby and then we realised that something was definitely wrong. We decided to go to the doctors and have some tests done. They revealed that my husband had a very low sperm count and they wasn’t the right shape or form. Also, I found out later on that I had polycystic ovaries.

So the only way forward from there was IVF, which turned out to be ICSI. At first it was absolutely heartbreaking knowing that you can’t do something that you’re naturally meant to do as a female. But once we spoke to the doctors and the nurses and they reassured us. I mean they were fantastic. Of course, there’s an emotional side of it which was hard to deal with and is still hard to deal with. You never really get over it. You know, if was a good opportunity and we thought we would take it.

Katie - Tell me a bit about it. What did it involve?

Emma-Jayne - A lot of emotions. It’s a massive massive roller coaster: hormones, injections. It makes you a completely different person. One of the injections, one of my doctors said that it would make you feel like you’re in early menopause stages, which they were right - night sweats, hormonal swings, hair loss.

We then had the eggs taken and they then inseminate afterwards the eggs with the sperm. So they call you and they keep you updated on your eggs. There was nine eggs; one made it to blastocyst stage. They show you a picture of your embryo when you go back in on the day that they implant it. They show you on the screen and you can see it go in, which is amazing. Absolutely amazing, it’s like a little white light that goes in.

Then you have to wait two weeks to take a pregnancy test and it came back positive the first time. We were really really happy. But we had to wait about six weeks to go back into the clinic so they could do the first scan. They took me into the room, and I sat in the chair; you could see on the screen it was a little baby. The nurse’s face did kind of give it away a little bit that there was something wrong. It turned out that the amniotic fluid in the sac, there wasn’t enough of it and the heartbeat was very very low.

So they told me that it was probably not an ongoing pregnancy and just to prepare for the worst. So we did. My partner and I stuck together like glue. We were each other’s rocks and he was absolutely fantastic. After that I had the miscarriage and it took me a while to get over that. But we knew that we wanted to try again.

Katie - Emma-Jayne and her husband Malcolm had a second round of IVF along with a drug intended to reduce the risks of miscarriage. But, unfortunately, none of the resulting embryos became blastocysts…

Emma-Jayne - From the first time we were absolutely brokenhearted. The second time we kind of went in with a different look on it. We thought okay, if this doesn’t work this doesn’t work, but there are always other options like adoption, and egg donation and - that we didn’t really know of at the time. It did hurt, but we got through it a lot easier than the first time.

It’s a year on from the second try. We are looking to adopt at the moment, but we’re also keeping our options open for other treatments. It’s just the financial side of things that we can’t really afford it at the moment.

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