Single and 40, Julie Norman, from Ipswich, knew the chances of her dream of becoming a mum were slim, especially as NHS funding for IVF was out of the equation. Then her parents came up with an offer and Julie’s life was to change for the better.
Julie begins: “I’ve always had a strong desire to have children of my own but my partner didn’t; sadly we split up and I began to review my options, which were very limited.”
One possibility was to try IVF with donor sperm. Understanding Julie’s strong desire to be a mum, her parents offered to help support her in getting self-funded IVF treatment.
“Having Mum and Dad offer me this opportunity was amazing. Their support and financial help made IVF a possibility. We researched IVF clinics and based on its reputation and location I arranged to visit Bourn Hall Clinic in Colchester on 24th December 2013.”
Julie began her first IVF treatment in January 2014; initial tests including one for the anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) revealed that she had few eggs in her ovarian reserve. Even with medication she was unlikely to produce many eggs and the egg collection was unsuccessful.
“I was prepared for this, having been fully briefed by my consultant, but it was still disappointing.
“Bourn Hall was brilliant at offering a measured approach, explaining the process and my options. They made things so clear it gave me confidence to try.”
Having already elected to use donated sperm from Bourn Hall’s sperm bank, Julie decided to join the waiting list for donated eggs.
“Choosing a sperm donor from the anonymous details provided was straightforward and luckily I didn’t have to wait long on the egg donor list before I was paired with a potential donor.”
The other lady was having IVF treatment herself at Bourn Hall and offered to donate her spare eggs.
An egg donor may choose to donate for altruistic reasons and/or for a free cycle of treatment.
Julie adds: “It is an absolutely huge decision for a donor to make and so very generous of her to share her eggs; I’m so grateful she did.”
The treatment for the lady donating her eggs and for Julie was synchronised to ensure embryo transfer at the right time for both patients. The donated eggs were successfully fertilised using ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) with the donated sperm and the resulting two embryos were transferred into Julie’s womb.
“I was slightly nervous on the day of transfer but it was incredibly quick.
“Then ‘9th July 2014’ was an amazing day as it was the date I saw the cross on my pregnancy test. I wrote the date down as it meant so much and I wanted to celebrate this wonderful day even though I was aware that it might not become a baby.”
However Julie had nothing to worry about as 38 weeks later she was cradling twins: Sabine and Sebastian.
“I absolutely love being a mum and seeing the world through their eyes. I’m 44 now but for them everything is new and wonderful.
“My parents – the twins’ grandparents – have been fantastic all the way through my journey to have children and I’m so lucky to have such amazing people in my life.”
Bourn Hall offers all its patients specialist counselling and having decided to have treatment at the Colchester Clinic Julie was keen to make the most of this valuable resource.
“The counsellor gave me confidence and reminded me that there are many different types of families. That the key thing for children is to know they are loved and wanted. Having the opportunity to discuss these matters and the potential questions that might and will be asked of me was definitely very helpful.”
Julie concludes: “With the financial support of my parents and the expertise of Bourn Hall I was given the chance to be a mother, which I’m so grateful for.
“I nearly missed out, so I consider myself very lucky.”
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