一本道理不卡一二三区

My chances of having a baby are fading away due to coronavirus

一本道理不卡一二三区 Ruth O’Leary left her job in February to focus on starting a family with her husband Matthew. But then a pandemic struck...

Ruth and Matthew at a friend’s wedding in 2018
Ruth and Matthew at a friend’s wedding in 2018 Credit: Courtesy of Ruth O’Leary

When I left my job in February to focus on trying for a baby, I was full of hope. This was going to be the year I’d get pregnant. Instead, I’m in limbo, the possibility of becoming a mother seeming further and further away.

一本道理不卡一二三区My husband Matthew and I have always wanted a family. We’ve been together for 11 years, but because we’d been teaching abroad, we waited until we moved back to the UK to start trying. In 2017, when we were settled in North Yorkshire and both in our mid-30s, I came off the Pill, but after six months nothing was happening.

一本道理不卡一二三区My GP told me to ‘enjoy’ trying to conceive and that everything was fine. But by January 2019 we were worried so had our first IVF consultation. The consultant said my FSH [follicle-stimulating hormone] results were ‘concerning’, as were the results of my AMH [anti-Müllerian hormone] test, which confirmed that I didn’t have many eggs left. It was the first time we were told there was a problem. I cried all the way home.

一本道理不卡一二三区We started IVF last May, but my body didn’t create enough follicles [ovarian sacs that release eggs for fertilisation] to proceed to the egg-collection phase, so we cancelled the cycle and began again in October. It was a difficult time. The doctors upped my medication and the combination of the hormones and the desire for it to be a success made me anxious. Teaching had been my life, but suddenly it felt like it was getting in the way.

一本道理不卡一二三区Four eggs were collected, and grew into two embryos. But by the time I was due to have them transferred into my uterus, the embryologist called with awful news: they had stopped growing. I couldn’t speak, I just started crying. Matthew and I spent the rest of the day in tears – that was our one free NHS cycle.

一本道理不卡一二三区We looked for a private clinic we could afford, opting for Serum IVF in Athens, which suggested we do two lightly stimulated cycles. The cost, including flights and hotel, came to £6,000, compared to £8,000 back home for just one cycle. On 2 March, we flew to Athens. At the clinic, the doctors spotted a huge polyp in my uterus, so after my egg collection, I had it removed. I later found out that they’d only collected one egg but ‘it was a good one’.

After we returned home, we found out that our embryo had developed into a blastocyst, a more advanced embryo ‘of very good quality’. It was frozen for use at a later date. I felt calm and positive, and despite coronavirus emerging in Europe, we still thought we’d be able to return for our second cycle.

But a few days later the clinic told us it was following strict new guidelines not to proceed with any transfers until further notice. I was in total despair. After two and a half years of trying and getting so close, it had all been taken away. It felt so cruel.

In another blow, British IVF clinics can now apply to reopen, but we don’t know when we can return to Greece, or if we’ll be able to afford it as – ironically – I left my job to focus on IVF, and Matthew has been furloughed. I feel so disappointed and devastated by the cards we’ve been dealt.

I’ve started blogging (at ), which is very therapeutic. Instagram is helping too, as there is the most wonderful community of women going through the same thing as me. But the not knowing is the worst. My only comfort is thinking that if ultimately we can’t conceive, after exhausting all avenues, we’ll look into an IVF cycle with donor eggs. I just want the chance to be a mum. 

As told to Luisa Metcalfe

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