I have read a few negative articles in the press recently regarding surrogacy. Allow me to tell you my story, in the hope of leaving you with a fuller heart. Infertility is still a fairly taboo topic. Yet the reality is that many people need help to have a baby. It is a serious issue, and it was for me too.
There have been some tremendous scientific developments over the last three decades in the realm of assisted conception, opening a great number of doors for women and transforming the way we think about fertility. However, I still believe that self-care needs to be front of mind for couples that are trying to conceive.
It can also, dare I say, be quite frustrating for the woman in the relationship to do all the talking. Yes, it's our bodies going through most of the testing, poking and prodding, but it takes two to make a baby. Men aren't just there to provide the goods! As a woman, I need my other half to talk to me, communicate his feelings to me.
Couples can wait up to two years if they qualify for a free round of IVF with their local NHS Trust, but the qualifying criteria varies, and usually excludes couples if one of the partners has a child already, can be age dependent for the female and is basically down to funding, which can run out at anytime regardless of where you are on the waiting list.
I have secondary infertility, in other words I had fertility issues after my first child was born. She is now six. After five and a half years of numerous procedures, operations, four rounds of IVF, a miscarriage and ending up with a fairy godmother surrogate, I got my happy ending, my complete family.
One of the many reasons that women, and occasionally men, come to see me for weight loss advice is because they want to start a family, but are struggling. Did you know that obesity is a major cause of difficulty getting pregnant - and can increase the risk of miscarriage or problems during pregnancy and childbirth?
In the end, I had to pick the outcome to the situation that would make me hate myself the least. Retrospectively, it was like picking a way you'd like to die. Obviously, you're going to go for the easiest, most painless option you can. But, in addition, you're still going to die. And all of this is quite ironic, seeing as it wasn't my life I was choosing to end.
I feel really passionate about the patients that I see suffering with the loss of their baby through miscarriage and particularly those suffering from recurrent miscarriage. It is documented that 1-in-4 women has had at least one miscarriage, which equates to around a quarter of a million women in the UK each year.
One of the problems with treating infertility in Britain is that infertile couples are often sent straight to IVF clinics. They come to expect the need for IVF. Instead, we need to get them thinking in a different, much more positive way rather than scheduling them in for three rounds of expensive treatment as soon as they've walked through the door. It is not all about IVF.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS as it is more commonly known, is not a glamorous condition. I know that sounds like quite a negative statement to open with, but it is the truth as I see it. It is something that affects a large number of women in the UK, yet only receives very limited and stereotypical media coverage.