Ark­low cou­ple hope to re­move ta­boo sur­round­ing in­fer­til­ity

PAUL AND KRISTEL BRADLEY SHARED THEIR STORY ON TV3’S ‘THE BABYMAKERS’

Wicklow People - - NEWS - By NI­COLA DONNELLY

AN ARK­LOW cou­ple who found it dif­fi­cult to con­ceive were one of six cou­ples fea­tured on TV3’s doc­u­men­tary The Babymakers.

Paul and Kristel Bradley were fea­tured as a ‘good news story’ be­cause, after years of try­ing to con­ceive and months of IVF treat­ment, they con­ceived their baby girl Zoe nat­u­rally.

‘Be­cause the is­sue of us not be­ing able to con­ceive was down to me, we wanted to speak about the is­sue as it’s some­thing that’s not talked about. There’s a ta­boo around it es­pe­cially as men don’t talk about it,’ Paul told the Wick­low Peo­ple.

Their story started four years ago when they were try­ing to have a baby.

‘Dur­ing the first year we didn’t look for any as­sis­tance and by the sec­ond year we started to think maybe there’s a prob­lem,’ Paul ex­plained.

‘By the third year we went to our GP and all the anal­y­sis on me came back fine. So then we went to a fer­til­ity clinic and they started Kristel on as­sisted re­pro­duc­tion hor­mone in­jec­tions to grow the eggs. We did seven or eight months of that and it didn’t work.’

It was then the cou­ple de­cided on get­ting a sec­ond opin­ion and started to en­gage with SIMS clinic – Ire­land’s most ad­vanced fer­til­ity clinic.

‘They told us there was only a 2% chance of con­ceiv­ing be­cause the more hor­mone drugs, etc, you go on, the less of a chance there is to con­ceive,’ he said.

For the first two months Kristel’s pe­ri­ods were reg­u­lated and then they started on IVF, which in­volved Kris­tle tak­ing four to five in­jec­tions a day, at spe­cific times. Two of the in­jec­tions had to be re­frig­er­ated at all times.

‘They col­lected 11 eggs and nine were fer­tilised with my sperm sam­ple. Then it went down to five fer­tilised eggs but then none of them were vi­able,’ he said, adding the cou­ple at this stage were ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed.

How­ever, the cou­ple praised the nurses and coun­sel­lors at SIMS clinic for the help and sup­port they gave them.

‘We took two weeks out and then I did a DNA Frag­men­ta­tion test on my sperm. When the egg tries to fer­tilise with the sperm and if the DNA is dam­aged, the egg then tries to fix the DNA rather than fer­tilise,’ Paul ex­plained.

Very of­ten cou­ples will ex­pe­ri­ence fer­til­ity is­sues de­spite hav­ing a nor­mal se­men anal­y­sis. Many women be­lieve that the prob­lem lies with the woman when a preg­nancy does not oc­cur or is lost, when it is pos­si­ble their part­ner may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­fer­til­ity due to high lev­els of DNA Frag­men­ta­tion in their sperm.

‘The stan­dard read­ing should be 15% but my sperm had a read­ing of 49% DNA Frag­men­ta­tion, which was one of the high­est read­ings they had seen,’ said Paul.

Over the next three months, Paul made huge changes to his life­style and diet, in­clud­ing cut­ting out caf­feine and al­co­hol, amongst other things, and then re-took the test. This time, in Jan­uary 2016, his read­ing was 19%.

‘I was de­lighted the read­ing dropped down so much, we were both re­ally happy with that and the clinic started to get us ready for the next round of IVF.’

He said Kristel started to feel sick over a num­ber of days prior to start­ing the next round of IVF.

‘We said just to be safe we’d do a preg­nancy test and it turned out pos­i­tive,’ said Paul, adding the preg­nancy was de­scribed as a spon­ta­neous preg­nancy mid­cy­cle.

‘We were so sur­prised but ab­so­lutely de­lighted and a year ago this month Zoe was born.’

‘She’s a happy smi­ley baby,’ said Paul.

‘Peo­ple need to talk more about in­fer­til­ity and get rid of the ta­boo around it, which is why we spoke about our jour­ney and the help SIMS Clinic gave to us to start our fam­ily.’

Kristel, Paul and baby Zoe Bradley.

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