Unexplained infertility: I went through IVF to get pregnant and here is what everyone should know
"Don't delay seeking help – you know your own body."
In 2018, at the age of 28 and 32 and with over two years trying to conceive, Hillary Murphy and her husband Eanan were referred to the ReproMed fertility clinic in Galway by her GP.
Hillary's AMH test had come back normal, and her GP figured it was time to ask for help.
After the usual testing, many scans and a hysterosalpingogram, Hillary was diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
Unexplained infertility is when there is no underlying cause for the inability to conceive and it can affect as many as one in three couples who are having problems conceiving.
As part of the process, Hillary did three rounds of fertility treatments between October 2018 and February 2019.
On February 19th, she took her last Tigger injection and had her eggs collected two days later.
What was to become their son, Ayra, was a grade-A, day 5 blast who was transferred on February 26th 2019.
The day before the couple were due to take the pregnancy test, Hillary recalls she woke up with severe morning sickness, and so she said she "knew instantly that the treatment had been successful."
As part of their treatment, Hillary had a confirmation scan at seven weeks – and when they finally saw a heartbeat on the screen, they knew it was real. They were going to become parents. Finally.
Unfortunately, Hillary developed hyperemesis gravidarum, and other complications that followed as a result of that.
"It was a difficult pregnancy, but at 39 weeks and six days, Ayra Raymond Murphy was born by elective C-section. And after a quick stay in NICU, we got to go home – and it has been just a dream ever since."
Of her treatment and the process of IVF, Hillary explains:
“The care and compassion we received from the clinic was outstanding. From preserving my modesty when I had a fit during a scan to keeping me comfortable while I was fainting during the egg retrieval, they were amazing. I was able to call the nurse with any questions I had – and I had a lot!
This really puts your mind at ease when you are going through the treatments. The two tearful phone calls to inform the clinic the first two treatments didn't stick and we needed to go again were handled with both kindness and professionalism.”
Don't delay seeking help
Having gone through the treatment and now welcomed her darling son, Hillary has some advice for others going through unexplained fertility.
“If I had to give advice to someone just starting their journey it would be to not delay in seeking help. You know your own body and if a significant amount of time has passed without getting pregnant no matter what age you are listen to your body and not anecdotal evidence that people who have no medical knowledge give you.”
Starting your IVF journey
Deciding to seek the help of a fertility clinic is a major step – and pursuing IVF a major decision. The most important thing you can do is trying to stay calm and positive – and don’t ever lose hope.
According to Repromed, here are a few things you should know before starting an IVF cycle:
Be prepared to be committed - Depending on the protocol prescribed, an IVF cycle can take from 2-6 weeks. During that time, you may have frequent appointments with your clinic and they can often be at short notice.
Think about a support network - Fertility treatment can be daunting. Think about talking to a close friend or family member. You will be surprised who knows more about it than you think – so many have journeyed through fertility or know other people that have.
Be prepared for change - Fertility medications can have a toll on you. Hormones administered in high doses can result in mood changes and you may find yourself more emotional than normal. You will also notice changes in your body, from feeling bloated to finding you have put on some weight, this is the time to be kind to yourself and not worry about these things.
You will be able to self-administer the medications - One of the biggest fears a woman has pre-IVF is the thoughts of injecting herself. Your fertility nurse will meet you one on one to go through the medications so you can safely learn how to take them. All fertility medications that are prescribed for IVF are designed for self-administration.
Clinics are proceeding with treatments and online consultations. In times of Covid, things are a little different - Appointment punctuality is important, PPE equipment will be worn when with patients and husbands and partners will be asked to wait outside in order to reduce numbers in the clinic.