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Blog: My journey through fertility treatments

4 Nov 2022

Here, Fi shares her experience of undergoing fertility treatment to help raise awareness of the impact it can have on person’s life.


It started when I visited the GP in 2017, requesting a gynaecology referral as I was concerned about having significantly light periods, and was worried about whether this could impact my fertility. I went on to have a host of tests including MRI scan, blood tests, transvaginal ultrasound scan and hysterosalpingogram (HSG). The investigations revealed I had a thin endometrium lining, and extensive uterine scarring and adhesions.

They attributed the scarring to an abdominal myomectomy surgery I had undergone in 2015 following the discovery of a very large 20cm fibroid. In 2017, I had a hysteroscopy surgery on the NHS to attempt to remove scar tissue in my uterus. However, this wasn’t overly successful.

As a result of the scarring, I was advised that trying to conceive naturally would be challenging and that if we were to go through IVF, there was a high chance that I would experience recurrent implantation failure. Furthermore, even if I were to become pregnant, I was advised that I would not be able to carry a baby to full term and could risk a uterine rupture. With this in mind, the consultant strongly recommended we consider surrogacy.

Receiving this news was one of the worst days of our lives. My mind was clouded by a range of emotions from overwhelming distress and sadness, to shock and confusion. I felt frustrated with my body and experienced deep and profound grief for the loss of my inability to carry a child. We had not known of anyone that had gone through IVF let alone surrogacy. I desperately searched online for stories similar to ours and for support to help me come to terms with the diagnosis. However, I had difficulty finding any sources of support that I resonated with and were I felt represented as a black woman. Sadly, in black communities, reproductive health and fertility issues are not spoken about freely and continue to be stigmatised. My husband and I confided in our immediate family members who were immensely supportive, however nothing could have prepared us for the emotional, financial, mental and social challenges we were going to experience on this journey.

IVF treatment

In 2020 I underwent one cycle of standard IVF treatment in Greece in 2020. I did this as I was not eligible for NHS funded IVF because of where I lived at the time.

I self-administered ovary stimulation injections once daily for two weeks and a second injection once daily for 5 days to halt ovulation. Ultrasound scans were scheduled every 2-3 days to determine whether the eggs/follicles were developing as expected. On day 8 of the treatment I was administered with an additional injection to trigger ovulation and prepare for egg collection. The side effects I experienced with the injections were bloating, frequent urination, intermittent abdominal pain and headaches. Following egg collection, I was prescribed an injection to self-administer daily for 10 days to prevent blood clots, and medication to take for 8 days to reduce occurrence of ovarian hyperstimulation. The whole process was daunting, I had to remember to self-administer injections at the same time daily and on different sites. Some of the injections were long, thick and painful. I dreaded taking them. Thankfully we were able to create 4 embryos.

The most difficult part mentally was the egg retrieval, waiting to find out whether they had collected enough viable eggs, and finding out how many eggs were successfully fertilised. Emotionally, I felt anxious and stressed throughout and constantly worried and feared having an unsuccessful treatment. Physically, the effects of the IVF took a while to subside and my body felt different for some time afterward.   

Impact of treatment      

The treatments placed an enormous demand on every aspect of my life emotionally, socially, financially and mentally. The experience was isolating as I didn’t know anyone that had gone through IVF. I am naturally a positive person, however balancing the hopes and fears that came with the whole process was a new challenge for me. On some days it felt like I was fighting a losing battle, and the uncertainty regarding the outcomes of treatment felt like I had no control over my life and future.

Joining the Fertility Network’s Black Women’s Group, created in 2021, was a tremendous source of comfort for me as it validated some of the roller-coaster of emotions I was experiencing and improved my coping skills.  In retrospect, I believe we should have also engaged in professional counselling at an early stage of our journey to help us come to terms with the inability to carry a child.

Surrogacy and our precious baby girl 

We were introduced to our surrogate for the first time in June 2020 and this was one of the highlights of our journey. The moment was a mixed bag of emotions as we felt nervous, anxious and excited all at the same time.

Two embryos were transferred to our surrogate at the initial transfer but unfortunately this ended in a miscarriage after four weeks. At the second attempt, one embryo was transferred but it failed to implant. Both attempts delivered a severe blow to any hopes of a successful pregnancy. When the final embryo was transferred, the two week wait for results was a stressful time. We were elated when we received a positive pregnancy result, but remained cautiously excited given the previous failed attempts.

In February 2022 our precious baby girl was born. It was a surreal moment. Beautiful memories of holding her in my arms for the first time, feeling her warm body against my chest, hearing her breathing and feeling her heart beat, will forever be imprinted in my heart.

To those seeking alternative pathways to parenthood, I encourage you to remain resilient in your pursuit and remember that your self-worth is not based on your ability to conceive or carry a baby.

  • Clinical and research
  • Fertility
  • Gynaecology