Here’s the article by Katherine Rushton, published in the Daily Mail telling our story from the start…
A BBC presenter who has spent four years trying to have a baby has told how she would sometimes hide at home because she is so afraid of seeing pregnant women.
Sophie Sulehria said that – after six failed rounds of IVF – she has had to miss birthday parties and walk out of shops because she finds the sight of expectant mothers so upsetting.
Sophie, 35, said: ‘I’ve not left the house [on occasion] because I’ve got to the front door and just thought I can’t face it because if someone’s pregnant or if someone tells me they’re pregnant I won’t be able to face the rest of the day…It’s jealousy.’
She and her husband Jonny Baker, a studio director, started trying for a baby in 2013. But they were told after a year that they would never be able to conceive naturally.
The BBC presenter suffers from severe endometriosis – where cells similar to those in the lining of the womb grow elsewhere in the body, including the reproductive organs. She also suffers from a condition called ‘premature ovarian failure’ which means she has the egg count of a 50-year-old.
When the couple started IVF in 2014, she was full of hope.
‘I think I went into it blissfully unaware [of the odds]. I had heard a million and one [stories about] IVF as a miracle thing. Everyone who comes out of it seems to come out with a baby, and any time you’d read about it always seemed to be a success story.’
In Britain, around 50,000 women have IVF every year, but the treatment fails 70 per cent of the time.
By the third cycle, Sophie and her husband started to lose hope. And now – after the sixth cycle and nearly £40,000 of fees – the couple have given up and are looking at other ways to become parents.
Sophie will chronicle their experience in a series of interviews on Radio 4’s PM, as she meets people who have adopted, fostered, or used an egg donor to become pregnant with a child that is genetically linked to their partner but not themselves.
The couple hope that making their search public will throw off some of the ‘stigma’ of infertility and help others enduring a similar ordeal.
Sophie said that the emotional rollercoaster of the last four years has been so all-consuming, she regards it as a ‘mental health condition’. She added: ‘It’s like being in a pressure cooker.
‘All you want is that little person in your marriage…we live with it [infertility] like a ghost, in a way. I am basically grieving the baby we’ll never meet. Both of us. We’re grieving.’
The radio presenter was at her lowest in 2015, after the third round of IVF failed, and realisation set in that she may never become pregnant.
On holiday she found herself envying a pregnant woman’s belly as they lay next to each other on sun loungers. ‘I spent pretty much the whole of the four hours just weirdly glancing at this bump,’ she said.
Sophie, who describes her relationship with Mr Baker as ‘fairytale’, believes their struggles to have children have made them closer. However, there were occasions when they disagreed over how to handle the problem. Mr Baker wanted to stop trying after the third round of IVF. Eventually they made a pact to try until they were 35 – the age that women’s fertility starts to decline rapidly. They have now reached that milestone.
She said she struggles with what she regards as the stigma of being infertile. ‘You feel that as a woman it should be the most natural thing in the world. I’ve wanted to be pregnant since I knew that happened to a woman. I’ve been maternal my whole life.’
Looking back, Sophie said she is ‘riddled with regret’. She wishes that she had had her problems properly diagnosed before it was too late, and that she had frozen her eggs and started trying for a family earlier.