x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Heartbreak turns to joy for UAE expat who used IVF

Kate's daughter Evie was born in March thanks to IVF, and the birth came three years after she was warned it possible she would never conceive.

DUBAI // When Kate gave birth this year and counted out 10 perfect tiny toes, she could hardly believe she finally had her miracle baby.

Her daughter Evie was born in March thanks to IVF – three years after Kate was warned it was unlikely she would ever conceive.

The Scottish expatriate, who lives in Dubai, sought advice from doctors in 2010 after months of trying to get pregnant.

She and her husband Mark were told she had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the most common cause of female infertility.

Despite seeking treatment for the condition, the months rolled by without Kate getting pregnant. In January 2011, she was referred to a fertility specialist, Dr Pankaj Shrivastav, at the Conceive Gynaecology and Fertility Hospital in Sharjah.

“I thought it would be a case of seeing the doctor in January, getting fertility treatment in February and becoming pregnant by March,” Kate said. “But it was not as simple as that.”

Further tests showed that in addition to PCOS, the lining of Kate’s womb was very thin, which would further complicate potential pregnancies.

Kate tried three rounds of IVF but was disappointed each time.

However, Dr Shrivastav then attended a medical conference on fertility in the United States and heard about a case similar to Kate’s.

He learnt that giving human chorionic gonadotropin hormone treatment directly before the implantation of the embryos had led to a successful conception.

Dr Shrivastav used the same technique with Kate and she became pregnant.

When she saw her baby’s heartbeat at the crucial 12-week scan, Kate was overjoyed.

“I was so emotional,” she said. “It had been such a journey.”

But her happiness was short-lived. A 20-week scan showed an irregular heartbeat and further tests showed her unborn baby boy had a congenital heart defect. Weeks later, she miscarried just over a year after first opting for IVF.

“We were just very, very unlucky,” she said.

It took Kate two months before Dr Shrivastav convinced her to try again.

The fifth round of IVF saw Kate get pregnant for the second time – and this time it was trouble-free. On March 31, Evie was born weighing 2.8 kilograms.

“Until they put her in my arms, I did not want to believe that I finally had a baby,” Kate said. “Even for the first 24 hours, I still could not believe it. After all I had been through, I kept thinking, ‘what next?’

“Then it was just mostly tears. I kept thinking, ‘is she really mine?’.”

While it was a difficult journey, Kate said IVF gave her the baby she would never have been able to have.

She is considering further fertility treatment at the Sharjah clinic for a second child.

“There was no way I would have been able to conceive without IVF,” she said. “IVF and its medical advances gave me my baby girl.”

jbell@thenational.ae

* All names have been changed at the family’s request