St Judes Fertility Clinic
Providing care in a friendly and supportive environment

Contacting St Jude’s:

Wolverhampton: 01902 620831
Newcastle-under-Lyme: 01782 612500
  
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One of our former patients, Lynette Heaps along with her husband Brian, has kindly agreed to let us share their fertility success story with you, in the hope that it will inspire and help you if you’re going through fertility treatment yourself.
 
Lynette (age 35) and Brian (age 46) have been together for 11 years and were trying to conceive for 4 years before going through ICSI treatment here at St Jude’s Clinic. In this interview, Lynette explains some of the defining moments in their fertility journey…
 
When did you first start trying to conceive and how long was it before you decided to seek help through fertility services?
 
We started trying to conceive around 2007 and decided to seek help initially in 2009. We went to one IVF clinic where I was told I was too overweight for treatment which knocked me back massively and I felt really down about myself for a while.
 
After 18 months of trying to lose weight unsuccessfully, I contacted St Jude’s in early 2011 to see what the ideal weight was that I needed to reach so that I could know what to aim for. A week later I had an appointment with Mr Adeghe who confirmed that my weight was fine and I could start straight away!
 
How did infertility affect you in your personal life?
 
It had a massive impact. Due to me struggling to lose weight I was very down which affected our relationship. My husband also had a daughter from a previous relationship so although I didn’t mean to, I spent some time resenting this and feeling that he wasn’t as bothered about having a child as I was because he already had one.
 
Family and friends constantly asked when we were going to have kids and as we didn’t want to explain our situation to everyone, we made up excuses and told white lies to stop the questions. I also dealt with all the pregnant ladies at work as part of my role (in HR) which could be quite hard at times but I also kept my hopes up as sometimes they would have had a nice story about their own struggles.
 
Tell us about the sort of fertility treatments you had - what were they like to experience?
 
We went straight through ICSI with St Jude’s. The first clinic we tried felt clinical and cold and I really didn’t feel at home there, but from the second we walked into St Jude’s and met Mr A, we felt like part of the family.
 
How long did it take for you to get pregnant after starting treatment?
 
I was pregnant roughly about 8 weeks after my first appointment – I really didn’t realise it could happen so quickly and I also appreciate how lucky we were to be successful on our first cycle.
 
How did you feel in that moment you realised you had a positive pregnancy test?
 
We had so much go wrong on route… it was estimated we would have around 20 eggs but only 8 were harvested. Of those 8, 6 were good enough to work with. Of the 6, only 2 fertilised and on the day of transfer, only 1 of those had developed enough. I was distraught and convinced that everything was going to go wrong. When I did the test I didn’t believe it. It took a while to sink in but once it did we were thrilled and so excited and couldn’t wait to meet the baby.
 
Did you face any challenges or worries during your pregnancy?
 
Many! I spent the whole of the first trimester convinced it was a phantom pregnancy or something was going to go wrong. I had no symptoms at all which in my head meant that I wasn’t pregnant. I paid privately for extra scans every few weeks just to alleviate my fears and prove to myself I was actually still pregnant!
 
At 20 weeks I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to monitor my food carefully and take a tablet each day as well as taking my bloods 4 times a day. I was warned that we may have a big baby too!! I was under a consultant and given extra scans and at 28 weeks was told I had SPD which caused quite a bit of pain for me.
 
At 35 weeks I was surprised by my waters breaking at 10pm and after being admitted to the MAU, my contractions started at 2am. I was obviously worried and concerned for the baby and I remember asking if he would be taken away from me with him being so early. After 24 hours of labour and not being able to get him out even with assistance due to him being back to back, I was rushed to theatre for an emergency C-section where he was born at 10.41pm.
 
Tell us about your baby!
 
I remember seeing my baby for the first time held over the screen and a little drop of blood ran down the screen but I was too out of it to register anything else. I slept while they stitched me up and my husband had to answer the questions about the Vitamin K injection as I took a while to come round.
 
They asked me to hold him but due to the spinal, my arms were numb and I was scared of dropping him so I asked Brian to do it. When I came out of theatre and they put the sides up on the bed, I had a bit of feeling back and was able to hold him. It was amazing. I was so tired and emotional but thrilled to bits that my baby boy was here and seemed to be ok.

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We named him Isaac Robert John Heaps and he was 7lb 8oz born at 35 weeks! But he was mine and he was beautiful. He had a swollen head from the forceps and ventouse attempts and marks on his face too, but to me he was perfect.
 
I was told he was slightly jaundiced so he had to go onto a billy bed in my room and I wasn’t allowed to keep taking him out so I didn’t get to hold him much for the first 24 hours. Then just as he was a day old, a nurse came into my room in the middle of the night and said she was taking him to Intensive Care and that someone would explain.
 
I was distraught. My husband was at home, my baby had been taken away and I was scared he was going to die! The words ‘Intensive Care’ scared the life out of me and because nobody had explained why I was in such a mess. A few hours later I was taken to see him and he was naked in an incubator with nothing but a nappy on and wires coming out from under him. He had a tube through his nose and I was hysterical.
 
When they finally explained, his jaundice had gotten so bad and kept going up that he was close to having to have a full blood transfusion, therefore they had placed him under some really strong lights to try and get the jaundice under control. I was told that his life was not at risk at this stage so I managed to calm down a bit and call my husband to explain.
 
He was kept in there for 2 weeks and it took a week for him to come out of the incubator. I didn’t get to hold him much as he needed to stay under the lights and I was afraid I wouldn’t bond with him as well as I should due to not being around him as much.
 
I stayed by his side when I wasn’t sleeping and although he wouldn’t breast feed, I pumped constantly to give him the best chance at fighting through the jaundice. Eventually he improved and after 2 weeks we were allowed to take him home! That was the best day of my life.
 
What’s it like being a mum after the long awaited journey that you had?
Amazing! I can’t explain the love I have for Isaac and I would do anything for him. He is a total mummy’s boy and is so loving and kind.  I couldn’t wish for a better son. It’s the best job in the world and I only wish we could afford the treatment again so that I could give him a brother or sister.
 
What advice could you give to couples going through their own fertility journey based on your experiences?
 
Take time out. Talk to each other. Most importantly for me, find someone you feel comfortable with to do the treatment. I remember Mr A hugging me when we arrived for treatments, holding my hand through sedation and telling me he would pray for me. All those things were comforting and made me feel at ease. It’s a stressful process so to take the stress away from at least part of that was a huge help to me.

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The team at St. Jude’s Clinic would like to thank Lynette and Brian for taking the time to share their story. We’re sure it will inspire others who are currently trying to start a family.
 
If you’d like to talk to someone about our fertility services and how we could help you in your own fertility journey, please get in touch by calling 01902 620831.
It gives us great pleasure to announce that the HFEA's proposal not to renew our license has been overturned unanimously by an appeals panel.

We are pleased to say that it is business as usual for St Jude's. We continue to offer our full range of services to both new and old patients.

We are grateful for the support of all our patients, friends and family.

Thank you all.

Mr J. ADEGHE
PR & Medical Director

1. Attend for review with your Specialist/Consultant and ask specific questions:

  • His or her opinion on possible causes responsible for treatment failure

  • What further tests should be performed to throw more light on possible underlying causes

  • Was the endometrial thickness adequate durng treatment cycles?

  • Was embryo development satisfactory

  • If Blastocyst culture indicated?

  • Would seeking a second opinion help?

2. Investigations to Consider:

  • Blood test for Thyroid Function - TSH, Thyroxine, Thyroglobulin Antibodies, Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies

  • Full Blood Count - Haemoglobin level and other indices

  • Blood test for Vitamin D & Calcium levels

  • Infection screen

  • 3D Pelvic Ultrasound scan

3. Other Specialist Investigations To Consider:

  • Blood test for Immunological factor - Checking for Natural killer (NK) Cell activity

  • Laparoscopy to exclude Hydrosalpinx which will require Salpingectomy

  • Hysteroscopy to exclude endometrial polyp and also to take a biopsy to check for underlying inflammatory pathology

  • Uterine artery doppler studies

  • DNA fragmentation test on semen sample

This list is not exhaustive . It is unlikely that you will require all the tests above. Your specialist will decide which ones are appropriate based on your history and findings.

02J04752Snippets of fertility wisdom from the Practice Committee of the Society for Reproductive Medicine in collaboration with the Society for Endocrinology & Infertility

Clinicians are often asked to provide advice about sexual and lifestyle practices to enhance the chances of achieving a pregnancy in couples trying for a pregnancy who have no evidence of infertility.

Currently there are no uniform counselling guidelines or evidence-based recommendations available. This is the first part of a series of “blogs” to highlight some salient points based on a consensus of expert opinion.

The expert opinion is from the Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in collaboration with the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility.  The reference for the opinion in this blog is cited below:

“Optimizing natural fertility: a committee opinion” Fertility & Sterility Vol. 100, No. 3, September 2013.

a)    Some basic fertility facts (Fertility & Aging)
  • Fertility is defined as the capacity to produce a child. Approximately 80% of couples will conceive in the first 6 months of attempting pregnancy
  • Relative fertility is decreased by about half among women in their late 30s compared with women in their 20s
  • Fertility declines with age in both men and women, but the effect of age are muchmore pronounced in women
  • For women, the chance of conception decreases significantly after age 35yrs, male fertility does not appear to be affected before approximately age 50
b)    The Fertile Window
  • This is best defined as the 6-day interval ending on the day of ovulation.  The viability of eggs and sperm should be maximal during this time. The interval of maximal fertility can be estimated by analysis of interval between periods, ovulation predictor kits, or cervical mucus assessment
  • Pregnancy is most likely to result from sexual intercourse within the 3-day interval ending on the day of ovulation
  • In one study based on a combination of criteria for assessment of ovulation, the likelihood of pregnancy is greatest when intercourse occurred the day prior to ovulation and starts to decline on the day of presumed ovulation.
  • The probability of achieving a pregnancy per month increases with the frequency of intercourse during the fertile window