If you’re considering in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a way to build your family, it’s important to find a fertility clinic you can trust. The clinic you choose should offer continuity of care – from the initial consultation through treatment and beyond. We offer an IVF refund programme that helps make things more affordable and works with your clinic for a seamless, stress-free experience. In this interview, Sarah shares the story of her IVF journey with SIMS and Access Fertility.
Before you started your IVF journey, where were you, and what were you doing?
We’ve known each other for about 16 years. He’s my brother-in-law’s best friend. We’ve always been around each other, and it was only around 9 years ago we decided to get together.
Part of my own story and journey was that I used to be 24 stone. I lost an awful lot of weight in my early 20s and that’s where it all started.
What triggered the weight loss?
I was 24 years of age and couldn’t climb the stairs without getting breathless. I knew something had to change. After about 2 and a half years I lost 15 stone, thanks to healthy eating and exercise.
It improved my health but had an impact on my fertility. It was about six years ago, that I realised it wasn’t normal that my cycle was either completely gone, or very sporadic.
We’d always had kids around us, and six years ago we decided we wanted children of our own too.
How did your IVF journey begin?
We started at the GP, I tried a lot of drugs and we tried to conceive naturally for a year. My cycle got back on track, but nothing happened.
We were at the Rotunda for about a year. My LH hormone was low, we discovered, and I wasn’t ovulating. I had a pump attached to me, which I had to change every three days, and go into the Rotunda every three days. It was a lot of pressure on both of us. I was constantly injecting myself. I had to have an endoscopy on my uterus. They couldn’t see why it wasn’t working.
In January 2020 we had our final meeting with the consultant – either go through it all again or try IVF.
What was your experience like with SIMS Swords?
It was brilliant! I can’t tell you the relief it was. The four years we were trying, I actually had a mental breakdown. My anxiety level was through the roof and was put on antidepressants. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not their fault, but every time I went in I was having to repeat my story. It was like banging my head against a brick wall.
SIMS Swords was like night and day. Nothing was hard. If I wanted to change an appointment in the public system it took forever and it wasn’t always possible.
The support at SIMS was such a relief. Even though I had no clue, I knew someone was there, who knew my story. It’s the simple thing that someone would answer the phone, they knew who you are.
By that stage, I’d been through everything, the injections were no bother. The relief of the procedure was that I could only do what I could do – it was out of my hands. There was no more pressure on us. They took over.
Would you recommend SIMS Swords to others?
Oh 100% and we’ve actually gone back ourselves. We had two viable embryos from when we had Charlotte, and we’ve actually had a second transfer (St Patricks Day), but sadly didn’t work out. We’re blessed with Charlotte and we’re going for another go. It’s a testament to them that we’re going back.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your IVF journey?
I’ve never actually met Dr. Adeola Adewole because everything was by Zoom, which was rather strange.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. My support is Christopher. We’ve been through everything together. To not have him there was hard. He wasn’t allowed at appointments. Even egg retrieval (or ‘scoop out day’ as we called it!) On transfer day, he came and did what he had to do, and left. Then when we had the positive scan, he couldn’t hear the heartbeat. He wanted her as much as I did, but was kept at a distance – that was really tough on him. Even when I was pregnant, having to go back to those rooms where I’d been before, I couldn’t have him there – there was a huge knock-on effect. That was the biggest hurdle.
When did you hear about Access Fertility?
Pretty much day one in the Rotunda. You’re told that you could explore IVF – which is obviously an expensive procedure, but we have Access Fertility. When Chris was sent to SIMS to give a sample he saw them.
What attracted you to the IVF Refund Programme?
Do you know what, it’s my pessimism! I never thought it would happen. I didn’t want us to feel we’d wasted the money, I wanted the safety net. My husband didn’t want the 100% version, so it was great that it was tiered. We went for the 70% which suited us, in terms of the flexibility.
We were blessed that it happened the first time around. We’ve had family members go down the IVF rabbit hole. For us, it was a last ditched attempt, and we gave ourselves 3 cycles as a limit. Having paid for it, there were no hidden costs, it was all done upfront. You don’t realise how it all adds up. This way, we had nothing to worry about.
You’re not alone
Covid-19 had a devastating effect on many people’s lives. For those trying to conceive, the pandemic made an already difficult journey even more challenging. Our IVF refund programme is perfect for couples who have started their IVF journey but were unable to complete it due to Covid-19.
We understand that you are making important decisions about your fertility, and we want to make sure you feel confident in your choice. Contact us today for more information about our refund programme and how we can help you achieve your dream of starting a family.