Case study: My Fertility Journey - Natassia's Story
Without research, we wouldn't have Penelope
By Natassia Garton, Research Project Delivery Manager
I have worked for Research and Development at University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire since 2012. I am passionate and very engaged in my love for research. I work with an incredible team, who spend their days making research happen and I am also lucky to work with a team that is supportive, caring and looks after its staff.
My work and home life combined forces in January 2018, when my husband and I found out that we would not be able to conceive naturally. We went into an initial appointment a little naïve and assumed they would just give me some medication and we would then be sent on our way; this was not the case.
We were informed our best chance was to have Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) treatment, this is where the sperm is screened and then injected directly into the egg. Even though I was only 32 years old, we were told that I only had around six months to start the process as if we left it any longer then this there was a chance the treatment would not work. This information was heart-breaking and, to be honest, I felt a complete failure.
However, due to us living in a world where fertility treatment exists because of brilliant research, within 10 days of this heart-breaking appointment a large box of medication arrived, and my husband and I were trained to mix and administer the injections. This then led to weeks of scans and injections (47 to be exact) and for the whole month of Fertility February 2018 I undertook treatment, which was both mentally and physically exhausting.
I was lucky that I felt happy to share that we were undergoing fertility treatment with colleagues and my manager, and I felt so supported by them. I also felt quite broken but carried on working to give myself a distraction. I felt work really looked after me.
One part of my fertility journey that I found the hardest is the constant anticipation and hope. We eventually got to the point of egg collection and even though I was on the highest level of medication, we managed to retrieve just three eggs. My husband and I then waited to see what stage they would get to (embryos need to get to a state called Blastocyst which usually takes 5-6 days, if they don’t get to this stage then they effectively won’t be viable) and if we would be able to have any embryos transferred.
On 12 March 2018 we were told we had one embryo that was viable, the other two had not survived the journey, so we had one chance. Following this I was introduced to the TWW (two week wait) where you wait to take a pregnancy test. I can confirm this was the longest two weeks for us both! On 25 March 2018 at 6am my husband and I did a pregnancy test and we were extremely lucky that it was positive. In November 2018 I gave birth to our daughter Penelope.
I will never forget our fertility journey. We were so very lucky that we had one go and it worked, as so many people can’t access treatments or are not successful when they do. I feel lucky every day this worked for us. Our daughter was made with Love, Science and Research.