The month of April marked National Infertility Awareness week and I was really touched by the amount of stories that hit my inbox from women who wanted to share their ordeal in trying to have a child and raise awareness about the subject of infertility. The most common theme to these heartbreaking stories was that maternal age was a resounding factor and that these women then had use donor eggs in order to achieve a pregnancy.
It seems a lot of women are unaware that they are born with all of their eggs and as time goes on this supply eventually runs out, there is a marked decrease in ovulation by the time a woman reaches 35 as the body clings to the reserves of its egg supply. Women are delaying starting a family until much later in life, our parents generation had children in their 20's, which today we consider to be very young to start a family. Now women are pursuing their careers and don't even start to think about starting a family until late 30's early 40's, which is when they will struggle to conceive.
The medical definition of infertility is when a couple has tried to conceive for 12 months with no success; at this stage they must seek medical advice. The sooner they seek treatment the better chance they have of conceiving with assisted reproduction, success rates are much higher for women under 38 compared to those having treatment over 40.
For some couples the only route open to them is to use donor eggs, this can be very expensive and waiting times in the UK can be very long. Infertility is a difficult and painful experience, couples feel very lonely and don't know where to turn for help and treatment.
Joanne is one such lady and she said, "That the battle to overcome infertility was a difficult and painful one is an understatement. We prayed, we cried, we lost hope at times, but we shook it off and kept on trying. Our struggles made us stronger so please persevere! The road to parenthood can take many different paths. For us, it meant IVF using donor eggs. To you, it could mean a similar path or an entirely different one depending on your own unique circumstances and what is the best option for your family. So keep hope alive, persevere, do your research, pray, meditate, and let your gut feelings guide you through!"
Joanne was already in her early forties when she decided to have children. Her and her husband had a rude awakening when they realised the effect advanced age had on Joanne's eggs and then another nasty surprise when they discovered her husband had issues with his sperm quality.
After three years of fertility treatments, specialists painted a very bleak outcome for them and strongly recommended that they use donor eggs to conceive. But the costs to continue IVF treatments were unreachable and so they begun their Internet research, which led them to
Barbados Fertility Centre.
Joanne said, "I was intrigued and encouraged to find such a facility existed in the Caribbean region. The facility had great reviews and since the treatment costs were half of what we had been paying, it was worth looking into. We were blown away by the warm and courteous staff that kept in touch with us every step of the way. Barbados is an island paradise with the most tranquil white sand beaches and waters you can find anywhere in the world. So, given all the factors and following our gut feelings, we booked a 10-day trip to Barbados for treatment. This decision was the best one we could have made. It was medical tourism at its best - a win-win!
The holiday was great and the procedure went smoothly without a hitch. We left Barbados feeling closer to each other and instinctively feeling that the outcome was successful. But, the two-week wait was the most difficult. Finally the day came when I could take the home pregnancy test and after doing about 10 tests, I finally believed that we were pregnant!"
Today, they are happily raising their beautiful five-month old baby boy Stevie, who was born in November 2012.
To anybody out there that is trying to conceive, you are not alone and there is help available. Knowledge is power so do your research and seek medical help as soon as you realise there is a problem with conception.
To find out more about the subject on infertility please click here.