Premature ovarian failure but natural ivf resulted in success

Despite anti-sperm antibodies, premature ovarian failure and IUI, Sharon became pregnant through natural cycle IVF and ICSI

The Lister Fertility Clinic had faith in me, which gave me strength and hope

After trying for a child for five years, in April 2007 we were due to start IVF as my husband was diagnosed with anti-sperm antibodies which weren’t spotted in our routine NHS tests. I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure and told that I wasn’t able to have IVF. I couldn’t believe it and my world literally fell apart over the following months, as I turned from an eternal optomist to a miserable, negative, controlling thing that felt that the world was against her! After a lot of counselling (we were on the verge of a break-up) we undertook three rounds of Clomid-assisted IUI on the NHS, without success. I remember the day when I literally begged my consultant to at least try IVF as I was still ovulating and having regular periods, and he practically shouted that I could go anywhere in the world and they would be mad to give me IVF! He also said that a natural cycle wouldn’t work either - the clinic was awful and the most senior team member had a terrible bedside manner. I felt like he had slapped me in the face with the force of his words.

After that last meeting we resolved to get a second opinion. We went to see Zita West who referred me to The Lister Fertility Clinic and to Dr Jaya Parikh who was lovely; after my previous experience she was such a breath of fresh air and said that she was willing to try: it looked like I was still occasionally ovulating and my age was a positive factor (33). We tried a cycle of stimulation and it didn’t work – I just didn’t respond to the drug which is what was anticipated. At this point I was licking my wounds and trying to contemplate egg donation and adoption.

We went back to Dr Parikh and she said that we should try a natural monitored cycle. It was a long shot -the odds were extremely low - but it could work with one special egg (not the multiple ones we had hoped for!) I went in for a scan and was told I had a lovely follicle of my own close to ovulation and it was suitable for extraction. Following the egg collection procedure, we got a phone call on the hotline next to my bed to say that there was a mature egg in the extracted follicle and would be able to go ahead with ICSI. My husband did his part and then an hour later we left for home. The next day we got a call to say our egg had fertilised! We returned for the embryo transfer that again wasn’t too bad – it felt just like a long cervical smear and we left with our first picture of our 'cells!'

The two week wait was horrendous - much worse than the physical procedures that you endure! To cut a very long story short, we found out two weeks later whilst visiting friends in Hong Kong that I was pregnant - we both sat and cried for twenty minutes before we phoned home and told our family... after six years there it was on my digital test: 'pregnant.' We couldn’t believe it. My message to you is that do what is best for you; don’t ignore the advice you are given, but if you are still ovulating there may be hope with a monitored cycle. I wanted to say that if I had listened to my NHS hospital I would never have had the chance to at least try - so if you aren’t happy with the way you are being treated, get a second opinion and don’t be afraid to swap clinics! I wanted to tell my story as I have struggled to find many cases of Premature Ovarian Failure and IVF/ICSI...

It took one follicle, with one mature egg in it. They injected one sperm and it created one beautiful strong embryo which decided to stick with me - for that I will be forever grateful.

That embryo grew into the most amazing little boy who is now nearly six.

My doctor had faith in me, which in turn gave me strength and hope, and here we are. I wish the same for all of those people out there struggling to have a baby.