Sometimes it takes barely a moment for a lifetime of dreams to be shattered.
For me and my husband Jonny that moment came in 2013, in the London consulting room of a gynaecologist we were seeing to investigate excruciating abdominal pain and ask why I was struggling to fall pregnant.
Frantic googling had already me convinced I had endometriosis, a condition which affects the womb lining and makes it difficult to conceive, but I thought this was a problem that could be fixed – until a laparoscopic investigation confirmed that my womb effectively looked like a warzone…
Just before our series started on BBC’s Radio 4, I met with Natasha Lunn – the wonderful features editor at Red Magazine.
What was supposed to be a quick chat turned into a two hour breakfast meeting as we both opened our hearts and talked about fertility. A woman’s inherent desire to have a child verses the obstacles. Meeting someone you want to have a child with. Career. Age. Biological clocks. Bad damn luck.
That day I agreed to write an article for the February 2018 edition of Red Magazine. It took a lot to do it, but as I say in the article, “when you feel like you can’t go on, somehow you do.”
Christmas can be a hideous time for people who can’t have children.
In December 2017, I was approached by Tasha Jennings, a Naturopath and Nutritionist from Australia whose personal struggle with fertility prompted her to help others trying to conceive.
Tasha asked me if I would be her expert guest for a webinar session entitled “Surviving Christmas with Infertility”. So one morning before work, I sat and had a chat with this lovely lady from across the pond.
Thank you for having me Tasha, I look forward to the next one.
The best review we received so far. Thank you Bio News.
“As a whole, the radio series achieves what it sets out to do. It offers listeners a window into the tumultuous world of assisted reproduction and demonstrates just how pervasive the desire to start a family can be when all attempts to conceive naturally fail. It is open and honest and isn’t afraid to shine a spotlight on the darker emotions that can descend when future plans seem unattainable.
It is very easy as a listener to become invested in Sophie and Jonny’s journey and I would thoroughly recommend the series to anyone who has experienced their own fertility struggles. The series would also be of benefit to anyone wanting to gain an understanding of how best to support friends or family through fertility treatment.”
Approximately 3.5 million people in the UK have trouble conceiving naturally. Around 50,000 of these people seek help from fertility doctors every year. Yet IVF is only successful for 30% of them. Then what do people do?
That’s why we are sharing our experience, in the hope that others in the same boat can take something from it.
Thank you to Eddie and the team at PM for their support, and for totally getting behind this subject. Please do listen, share, comment, and keep talking.
Jonny and I have been making a series for PM on BBC Radio 4. It explores what it’s like for a couple who are struggling to have a baby.
Our first piece followed our last IVF cycle:
When Jonny and I first discussed documenting this round of IVF, it sounded easy. In fact, it was easy. Being able to focus on something other than the injections, appointments and medical process was a welcome distraction. Then once the piece was edited and filed, we got on with our lives for a while.
It was only the hour before it played out live to the nation, did I realise the enormity of the situation. Everyone who knew us were about to find out exactly what we were going through. What the last four years had meant for us. All our personal medical information. And we weren’t even together to listen to it – I had gone shopping with friends, and Jonny was at home with the cat.
I’d been a reporter for years, but this was by far the most emotional and personal piece of radio I had ever made. Hearing it again was like reliving the trauma. I didn’t know what to do initially… but the response was incredible. So many friends, relatives, and complete strangers reached out to send their love and tell us how it helped them.
Every year around 50,000 people turn to IVF clinics across the UK, hoping to achieve their dream of parenthood. But despite almost 40 years of research, the treatment fails 70% of the time.
Then what do you do?
On the 23rd October my husband Jonny and I decided open up about our own personal problems we’d faced while trying to have a baby. After six failed rounds of IVF, my low ovarian reserve and severe endometriosis was proving difficult to beat.
It would seem our hope of having a baby was disappearing fast.