Pregnancy after IVF

51loqemj0hl-_sx310_bo1204203200_I’m really interested in the subject of pregnancy after fertility problems – there’s often an assumption that the years of trying to conceive disappear the instant you see a positive pregnancy test, but I think there’s a growing recognition that maybe it’s not quite that simple.

I was really delighted to be asked to speak at a workshop in Haywards Heath called Time to Heal organised by local midwives there – you can find them at @@BSUH_TIME2HEAL on Twitter. There were so many fantastic speakers and the audience were very receptive and interested.

When I was pregnant after IVF, I had two brilliant midwives who made me realise that just because I’d had problems getting pregnant, it didn’t mean that I was automatically going to have problems being pregnant. I went on to write a book about this – Precious Babies: Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting after Infertility – because I felt so strongly about the issue.  I think my main feeling about this is that pregnancy after fertility problems is different but that it doesn’t mean a woman necessarily needs additional medical support – but what many of us could do with is some additional emotional support and understanding. This was a theme very much reflected by many of those attending the workshop, and I hope that going forwards this will be better understood.

If you have been successful with IVF…

120px-Pregnancy_test_resultIf you are pregnant after fertility treatment and live in the South East, would you be willing to help with a research project?

Liz Gale, a Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at the University of Greenwich, is interested in the experiences of parents to be who are expecting their first child through IVF. This study is open to prospective parents who live in London or the South East and are expecting their first child, conceived using IVF or ICSI, genetically belonging to both parents. Full ethical approval for the study has been granted from the University of Greenwich research ethics committee.

Involvement in the study will entail 3 interviews, one antenatally at 34 weeks, the second when the baby is six weeks old and another 3 months following the birth. Interviews will take place in participant’s own home or somewhere convenient to you. You will also be asked to keep a diary to complete at your own convenience; this will not be onerous but will allow you to record your early experiences of parenthood; the diary will be reviewed by the researcher but will be yours to keep as a record of your early days with your baby. Anonymity is guaranteed and if you choose to participate you would have the right to withdraw at any point.

The study is undertaken as part of Liz’s PhD and once completed, the findings will be used to improve the care and support for parents with an IVF baby. If you are interested in taking part or wish to find out more information, please contact Liz at e.a.gale@greenwich.ac.uk

National Fertility Awareness Week – Day One

niaw_logo_line_bottomThe week seems to have started really well with lots of social media conversation about fertility. I marked it by going to talk to staff at a City law firm about fertility and about how to help colleagues and employees who may be affected. It was encouraging that the subject had generated so much interest, and there were a number of questions and issues which came up for discussion at the end of the talk. It’s something many more employers could consider as increasing understanding about fertility problems can make all the difference.

I was also delighted that Piatkus, who publish my books, are offering five free copies of Precious Babies (the book about pregnancy, birth and parenting after infertility) to celebrate the week – all of these things help to raise awareness.

If you haven’t got involved with National Fertility Awareness Week yet, it’s not too late – go to the website and see what you might like to get involved with from baking to the Fertility Show! 

Win a copy of Precious Babies – pregnancy, birth and parenting after fertility problems

51+JSiCIa1LIf you’re pregnant or a parent after fertility problems, Precious Babies is written just for you – and Piatkus are kindly donating a copy each day of National Fertility Awareness Week.

If you’d like to be entered into the draw for a copy – you can use the contact page on this blog or on my website giving me your details – and you may be one of the lucky winners of a free copy of the book.

National Infertility Awareness Week – Day Two

DownloadedFile-15So it’s Day Two of National Infertility Awareness Week, and on Twitter there’s been a lot of talk about the first baby born using “musical IVF”. This is a story which has been around for a while now, based apparently on some research (?) from a clinic in Spain where they have been experimenting with playing music in the laboratory which they suggest improves their success rates.

There have been some variations on this theme – the original story some months back claimed that embryos liked Metallica, now they apparently like anything from Nirvana, Michael Jackson and Madonna to Mozart.  The story was described by one leading fertility specialist as “trivial, lazy and irresponsible journalism”, and elsewhere as one of the “silliest” fertility stories.

It’s hardly surprising that fertility patients are tempted to leap on the latest bandwagon whether it’s musical or mini IVF – but the reality is that many of these stories are more about marketing than science – but it can be hard to work out which is which.  I feel there is a bit of a backlash against this kind of fertility headline hype at the moment, which can only be a good thing for anyone who needs help to conceive. If it’s something you’re interested in, Progress Educational Trust Director Sarah Norcross will be talking on this very subject at The Fertility Show on Saturday in a seminar titled ‘The science behind IVF – sorting the known knowns from the known unknowns’ – go along and hear what she has to say!

Meanwhile today there has been lots of activity around National Infertility Awareness Week, with some amazing cakes baked to raise funds for Infertility Network UK at clinics across the country. Tomorrow there will be a new support group launching in Fulham, and if you’re not in the area but are interested in finding your local group you can check out the Infertility Network UK groups here. A second winner was announced this evening in the draw to win a copy of Precious Babies (the book for anyone who has had successful fertility treatment). It’s not too late to get involved with National Infertility Awareness Week whether you’re going to enter the competition, bake a cake or join in the debate – for more ideas, see the website at www.niaw.org.uk

Come and say hello…

If you’re going to The Fertility Show at London’s Olympia tomorrow, do come and say hello.  I’m speaking at 11.45 about choosing a clinic, and then chairing a Q and A session with two overseas clinics at 3.30, so do come and find me if you’re there.   If you haven’t booked in advance, you can still turn up and pay on the door.

Piatkus, who publish my books, have very kindly donated some copies of The Complete Guide to IVF to the Infertility Network UK stand where they can be exchanged for donations to the charity, and I will also have some copies of Precious Babies, my latest book about pregnancy, birth and parenting after infertlity.

The Fertility Show is always a really interesting two days, and this year is on track to be the best yet with a fascinating array of seminars and exhibitors from around the world.  If you want to know more about exactly what’s on and when, go to www.fertilityshow.co.uk