A journey in Fertility and beyond
Even though many of you know me through the various webinars I have hosted for the Nutrition Collective, I wanted to share my health journey with you today. I’ve always felt like I wanted to be a mother but since I was not quite there yet in terms of settling down, I decided to look into IVF and egg freezing treatments.I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that being a mother is something I feel innately built for.
Researching Egg Freezing options
I thought the process would be quite simple but it wasn’t! An egg freezing process can take up to 2.5 weeks of constant ultrasound monitoring and daily hormone injections to bring follicles to maturity. It involves collecting my eggs, freezing them and thawing them later so they can be used in IVF treatments. I was told mood changes and weight gain can be expected.
I initially started with researching IVF clinics across Europe and finally found a clinic in Madrid with the highest rates of successful IVF babies in Spain. At the start of the treatment, I was given hormones injections (a mix of gonal and menopur) daily and told to come back on the fifth day. The ultrasound on day five however showed that only one of my follicles had responded to the treatment. The fertility experts told me that this can happen in some cases. As I put on my ‘practitioner hat’, I explained myself that everyone’s biochemistry is unique and therefore our results will vary. I thought I was doing everything right, following my nutritional protocol, taking a good quality pregnancy multivitamin to keep my folate and Vitamin D up but I was wondering why the hormones didn’t work.
So what were my options?
To go for ‘round two’ with a different set of hormonal cocktails to trigger ovarian stimulation. Dismayed, I went back to the ‘drawing board’ and asked my practitioner friends for some advice. This is when I came across the incredibly useful book ‘It Starts With The Egg’ by Rebecca Fett. I was amazed at all the research the author had done around a couple of additional key supplements such as Methyl Folate, Melatonin, DHEA and CoQ10 to name a few. I realised that I could dig so much deeper to make sure that not just the quantity but also the quality of the egg needs to be considered!
Another help I received was the support of fertility expert and nutritional therapist Liadh Fitzgerald who encouraged me to take the protocol further. She advised to start with relevant pelvic supporting exercises and a further adjustment to my supplement and lifestyle recommendations. She was also a great emotional support. These treatments can be such an emotional rollercoaster!
The final result
I decided to give it a try again. This time, scans revealed that only my left ovary had responded to the hormones..This was somewhat disappointing but I decided to take the plunge anyways. I got myself mentally ready to start a new cocktail of hormonal injections for the next two weeks. This time, I combined it with a powerful nutritional protocol of personalised supplements, pelvic exercises and dietary changes. Every two days, I was monitored with ultrasounds as my fertility expert Dr. Zineb Meski would decide the time for egg retrieval. Once most of my follicles reached the favourable sizes (between16 to 22mm), we would start the process.
As the egg retrieval procedure came close, Dr. Meski explained that this would involve a needle puncturing each follicle, and a gentle suction applied to remove the eggs and fluid within the follicle. I was grateful they sedated me. When they woke me up, I was told that I had 9 eggs retrieved!
These eggs now have been frozen and ready to be used in my IVF procedure shall I wish to use them in the future.
I can’t thank some of the professionals at the clinic enough, especially senior nurse Raquel who was by my side at every step of the challenges, Dr. Meski, as well as my family especially my siblings, my close friends and my colleagues Liadh, Gareth, Lucy and Amy for the support I received during this time.
I hope the gives you an insight into my health journey.
The IVF is a growing area and I truly believe that practitioners can have a very big impact on supporting clients by thriving in the area of fertility.
My mission has always been to help practitioners feel confident in healing chronic disease by being armed with all the information and knowledge possible.This is one of the reasons, I created the Nutrition Collective. Our pledge to you is to solely bring you educational resources which have scientific evidence to support their use and that we believe to be of benefit as the science stands.