IVF: Our Journey

On the eve of our twins second birthday, I am feeling incredibly blessed. It wasn’t long ago that we were told we may never have children of our own and to be sitting here now with one having just started nursery school and two others in bed enjoying an afternoon nap, I have to pinch myself to know this isn’t actually a dream. I have been blessed three times and I don’t know what I did to deserve these angels who I am lucky enough to call my children.

With those emotions in the forefront of my mind, I wanted to tell you more about the bumpy road to parenting we faced and invite you to share your own story of fertility (or anything else) over in the new Members Area at Love from Leyla. I would love to hear your story, but for now – here’s mine.

My story

If you’re reading this, then you could be one of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world that are battling with infertility as I was just 5 years ago. Talking about IVF is not something that comes naturally to me as for many years, it’s a subject that my husband and I have limited to our most private conversations through fear of attracting well-meaning sympathy from people with no experience of the topic. I felt so isolated, I didn’t know where to turn and I really believe that with the right psychological and emotional support I could have had a much more positive experience of assisted fertility, which is what I am hoping to provide for here at Love from Leyla.

I describe IVF as a journey because that’s exactly how it felt for me. At times, I felt like I was being thrown into the unknown, like one minute I was standing on a platform of a train station staring into a dark tunnel and the next I’d been pushed onto a speeding train without a clue about destination. All the Googling and forum trawling in the world never managed to shift the feelings of desperation and isolation I felt building up inside me back at that time in my life.

 

All I was certain of was that I wanted to be a mummy and I knew that children were a part of my story on this earth. I could feel in my heart that I would never have been complete without the blessings of sticky fingers around my neck and jammy handprints on my walls. Both my husband and I had that dream for many years before the universe answered our wish through assisted fertility and like the love that I have for my children now, the sheer force of my feelings back then propelled me to research everything I could to learn about improving our chances of conception, and if I can help anyone else at the same life-stage as we were back then, then that’s what I would love to do here. I’ll tell you about our journey now.

Ste and I met in 2006. I was a fun filled, optimistic and ambitious graduate with nothing but the present in my mind and when the universe conspired for our paths to cross, the magic we felt in those early months made me think more about the future and how much I wanted Ste to be a part of it. Within months we were madly in love and spent just under two years traveling the world. We spent time in Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia and lived in Australia for a year, returning to England to be reunited with our families and then to decide on the next stage in our adventure. As time went on, we enjoyed a wonderful wedding day bought our first home and inevitably of course, began trying for a baby.

I couldn’t have written a more perfect first few years of any relationship. We really felt like we had it all with a beautiful home and the most amazing memories that will warm our hearts forever so it did come as a huge blow when our honeymoon period bubble was burst by the diagnosis that we were unlikely to conceive naturally. I’ll never forget being stood in the doctor’s office one afternoon in the Summer of 2010 when our fears were confirmed. I knew something wasn’t right as Ste and I had been married for a year with no luck conceiving by the time the dreaded words were said to us “you need to be referred for IVF”. I remember holding my husband’s hand and walking back to our car with a heavy heart and a mixture of emotions including anger, fear and utter frustration. We were told that Ste had a low sperm count, for reasons we still don’t know as a young and healthy man it’s just something we never expected to hear and a shock, I suppose.

I sometimes wish I could have met more people with the same challenge as us. To talk about our situation and offer each other support and positivity would have made a huge difference to me back then, rather than bottling up my emotions and only have each other to talk to. Here at Love from Leyla, I would like to be the person that’s available to talk to YOU if you are experiencing fertility issues. There are so many techniques that I learned about that improved our chances of conception and I will share them with you on a one-one basis through my Coaching Service or through the posts and articles that will be coming soon. Never lose hope. Being the family of five that we are today has made all of the troubles in the past worthwhile and if I can share some of our success with you, I would love to try.

Acupuncture and IVF: How Acupuncture can Improve IVF Results

Having a child or children, to call your own is one of the most magical and rewarding experiences in the entire world, yet sadly not all couples are able to conceive quite as easily as others. The fantastic news, however, is that because modern medicine and technology have advanced at such an astonishing rate over the last decade or so, there are now a number of options available to dramatically increase, not only fertility but also your chances of conceiving as well. IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation) for example, is one of the most successful treatments in the entire world, yet even then, sadly there is no guarantee that a treatment will be successful. IVF treatments are pretty expensive, and they are pretty taxing, both physically and mentally, so what most people want to know is what they can do themselves to improve their chances that treatment will lead to a successful pregnancy. Recent studies have revealed that acupuncture could help to drastically improve IVF results, by up to 65% in most cases. But why and how can acupuncture be so beneficial? Let’s take a more in-depth look.



Acupuncture and Fertility 

Currently, statistics has revealed that in the UK alone, 25% of all couples planning to have a child, or children, will encounter fertility issues and will therefore, find it extremely difficult to conceive naturally. That means that 1 in 4 couples may never get the child/children that they so desperately want. Because of this, more and more couples are turning to specially designed fertility treatments, such as IVF, to help them have a baby of their own. With IVF, eggs are removed from the woman and are fertilized artificially, either with donor sperm, or with the sperm of the woman’s partner. The strongest fertilized eggs will then be replaced inside the woman, with the remaining eggs being frozen, just in case further treatments are required. There is however, no guarantee that IVF will be successful, which is why more and more couples are turning to acupuncture to help improve their chances.



How acupuncture benefits IVF? 

Acupuncture which is fertility focussed has been proven to help improve circulation and enhance blood flow to both the male, and the female’s reproductive organs. On top of this, it helps promote relaxation and rest, it balances and regulates hormones, and can enhance uterus health, and indeed enhance the quality of the eggs the woman releases. Even men can benefit from acupuncture in terms of fertility, as it helps improve libido, enhance blood flow and oxygen circulation, as well as sperm counts and sperm mobility. The main benefits of acupuncture on IVF for both men, and women, include:

 

  • Enhanced ovary function which produces better eggs
  • Healthier, stronger, and faster sperm
  • Reduced likelihood of miscarriage
  • Enhanced number of follicles as a result of hormone regulation
  • Regular menstrual cycle
  • Reduced side effects of drugs used during IVF treatments
  • Promotes rest and relaxation, reducing stress and stress inducing hormones such as cortisol
  • Improved uterine lining health and thickness
  • Enhanced libido
  • And more…

 

If you are about to embark on IVF and are looking for treatments that could improve your success, it is highly recommended that acupuncture could be the answer to your prayers.

IVF: Nurturing Your Relationship

Talk to any couple undergoing IVF treatment and they will be sure to tell you that the process combines stress and anxiety in equal measure.  Taking on such a psychological and physical challenge  can put even the most solid of relationships under strain with the goal of enjoying raising a child with the person you love gradually buried under a fear of the unknown. But with some useful tips, you can cherish this time and look forward to the future and all the blessings it has in store.


If you are the woman in the relationship, you may feel that you bear a huge responsibility to ensure you can conceive, your life-partner may also feel left out of the process uncertain as to the best way to help you through this major life transition. Below, we have outlined a few helpful tips to nurture your relationship throughout IVF procedures to guarantee that the end result is one where both you and your partner are supported and remain connected.



What a Woman Goes Through


The first step in nurturing each other is to understand what each of you is going through. If you are the woman, you undoubtedly feel a combination of excitement and emotional strain at the same time and have probably spent months researching everything from vitamins to alternative therapies. You want the procedure to lead to positive results, but you can’t help feel overwhelmed by the invasiveness of the tests, injections and examinations you are being subjected to.


The years of trying to conceive before starting  IVF could already have affected your self-esteem and manifested other emotional concerns, all of which are perfectly normal and understandable given the highly pressured situation. If so, remembering you’re not alone is so important as is expressing any anxiety to your partner. Communication is of the upmost importance during this trying time.



What a Man Goes Through


Because it is the woman who undergoes all of the physical procedures, men have a tendency to feel left out when it comes to the processes IVF entails. Men may feel that their needs are not the focus and although they love their partner, some can find it hard to support her as it is impossible to relate to the physical demands her body is going through. The important thing is to ensure that both partners have their emotional needs met and any questions that cause concern answered by the medical professionals at all of the appointments.


IVF is an incredibly isolating experience for men and women alike. Most commonly, women have a support network of family and friends to talk to when they need to, but typically men don’t share the same intimacy with those around them. Rather than bottling up the anxiety infertility often brings with it, talking to your partner or investing in counselling will keep the paths of communication open and prevent any anxiety harbouring between you.



Sexuality & Communication


Trying to conceive can put a serious strain on sexual activity. Making love can fast become more of a calculated process after several failed attempts at pregnancy when pressure and resentment can sometimes begin to build. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy for both parties, feelings of blame and anger can emerge.


Getting intimacy back on track is a very important factor in the success of IVF. It is so important that both people remember why you began trying for a baby in the first place to get back to a more positive and relaxed space so the excitement at becoming parents can return. Planning fun activities that you once enjoyed at the start of your relationship can really help. A guaranteed date night once a week where you both switch off your phones and give each other your undivided attention over a candlelit meal in a nice restaurant or at home in your pyjamas will give you something to focus on other than your fertility challenges. You might as well make the most of these precious times because there won’t be any romance when your baby/babies come along!



How to Maintain Love During IVF


The number one way to achieve a better relationship during IVF is to make your relationship your number one priority. Remembering the love that brought you together and why you have decided to bring a baby into the world is important in maintaining a positive relationship throughout the process.


The best way to keep communication open is talk about your emotions and feelings, no matter whether they are negative or positive. Avoiding communicating during particularly stressful times and instead setting aside time to talk in a relaxed atmosphere may lead to more effective communication.


Sadly sometimes IVF can bring out the worst in a couple, for others the challenge brings them closer together. Warmth, love and kindness will help you both feel connected and allow you to embark on the process to parenting in harmony. And what better environment to bring a child into than that?