‘I SPENT £50,000 BUT STILL COULDN’T HAVE A BABY’

Closer (UK) - - Real Life - Visit Alice’s blog Egge­donblog.com

Alice Mann* had al­ways as­sumed she’d have a fam­ily, so when she sud­denly found her­self sin­gle at the age of 36, she froze her eggs. Alice spent £14,000 freez­ing 14 eggs and paid hun­dreds more to store them. Yet when she tried to use them four years later, she was told that none of them was healthy enough to pro­duce a baby. But she says she has no re­grets.

Alice, 40, says, “In 2013 I’d split up with the man I thought I was go­ing to marry. I was heart­bro­ken, sin­gle and wanted a child, so hit­ting pause and freez­ing my eggs seemed like the best op­tion. The odds weren’t stacked in my favour, the to­tal num­ber of ba­bies born from frozen eggs in the UK was still only in dou­ble fig­ures. But it gave me some hope.”

IN­CRED­I­BLY ALONE

How­ever, the process wasn’t easy. Alice ex­plains, “Egg freez­ing is ba­si­cally the first half of IVF, so you spend a lot of time alone in wait­ing rooms, all the while be­ing sur­rounded by loved-up cou­ples. I felt in­cred­i­bly alone.”

Af­ter freez­ing her eggs, Alice car­ried on with her life as nor­mal, but in the year she turned 40, she was still sin­gle, so de­cided to use her eggs to have IVF with donor sperm. How­ever, when the first seven eggs were de­frosted and fer­tilised, only one em­bryo was good enough to be im­planted. She says, “Af­ter two weeks, a test re­vealed that I still wasn’t preg­nant. I con­vinced my­self that no­body gets preg­nant first time around, so I tried again and stayed op­ti­mistic. But heart­break­ingly, I re­ceived a call from the clinic telling me that de­spite my eggs be­ing de­frosted and fer­tilised,none of them had made good enough qual­ity em­bryos to trans­fer. I was ut­terly floored by the news. I felt an­gry but, above all, in­cred­i­bly sad.”

But Alice is de­ter­mined not to give up on her baby dream. She says, “Af­ter my frozen eggs failed me, I de­cided to at­tempt con­ven­tional IVF us­ing my ‘fresh’ eggs. Yet af­ter three cy­cles of treat­ment, I’m still not a mother. But I’ve fi­nally met a man who is keen to have chil­dren, so who knows what could hap­pen.”

HEART­BREAK­ING RE­AL­ITY

Alice doesn’t re­gret freez­ing her eggs, but she is urg­ing women to think about the re­al­i­ties be­hind the process and re­search other op­tions. She says, “I’ve spent around £50,000 try­ing to have a baby – in­clud­ing egg freez­ing, donor sperm, IVF, drugs and blood tests. But even though I haven’t had a child yet, I have no re­grets. For me, even the three per cent chance of get­ting preg­nant was worth it. Freez­ing my eggs at 36 meant that I didn’t have to spend the rest of my life won­der­ing whether do­ing it might have made the dif­fer­ence be­tween me hav­ing my own bi­o­log­i­cal child or not. And that is worth ev­ery­thing.”

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