Now it’s just a waiting game – Bernadette and Paul’s embryo transfer at Pelargos IVF Clinic in Greece

Updated, 6th of August, 2023

“All we can do is hope” – Bernadette and Paul look to the future

Bernadette and Paul were dealt a blow when their embryo transfer failed – but the couple are looking to the future with a sense of hope. They previously flew out to Pelargos IVF Clinic in Greece where two embryos were transferred on July 17th. Sadly, a blood test revealed the transfer had been unsuccessful on this occasion. Bernadette said: “The day after the transfer I did have cramps. “I just knew after a couple of days. You just know your own body.”

She added: “When I got the negative my head went into overdrive about what had gone wrong. “I spoke to the doctor and he was a bit shocked and he said he did not know what had happened.”

Bernadette and Paul are planning to return to Greece in March for an investigative hysteroscopy. “The doctor will have a look to make sure the environment is OK,” said Bernadette. “He’s also going to do an endometrial scratch. A month or two later we are going to have our second transfer.”

The latest transfer took place at the height of a heatwave, where the temperature topped 45°C. Bernadette hopes that a transfer in the cooler spring weather will prove a more comfortable experience.

Despite the disappointing news, the couple are optimistic about the future.

“I think you have to remain optimistic – it is IVF after all,” said Bernadette. “We spoke to the doctor and there is a plan in place.

“All we can do is hope.”

Updated, 20th of July, 2023

After months of preparation, this week the big day finally arrived for Bernadette and Paul.

For the past few weeks, Bernadette has been taking medication to prepare her body for the embryo transfer and has focused on eating well and keeping herself active at the gym.

Bernadette and Paul flew out to Pelargos IVF Clinic in Greece where two embryos were selected for transfer on Monday (July 17th).

Bernadette said: “We got to the hospital and waited a while for me to drink water as I needed a full bladder. We then met with the embryologist who said two of the embryos survived the thaw really well, so it was good to go. Then Dr Karpouzis got straight to the transfer and showed me the two embryos on the screen, which were already beginning to hatch. The transfer was pretty quick, not painful but just uncomfortable. In his words, the transfer went perfectly.”

Now the couple face a 12-day wait before Bernadette can take a blood test to find out whether the transfer was successful.

Bernadette says she is experiencing mixed feelings, adding: “I am surprisingly calmer than I thought I’d be. But I suppose there’s anxiousness, a bit of fear, excitement and just a complete mixture of everything, when I actually stop and process what has happened. I have to have a blood test in 12 days to confirm the outcome, so that’s a bit scary to think of, but there’s nothing more I can do at this point. It’s just a waiting game now and we just really hope for the best.”

The couple were full of praise for the team at Pelargos IVF Clinic, with Bernadette adding: “The clinic itself is just so, so busy, it never stops. But that speaks for itself. We really cannot fault anything. Dr Karpousiz and Vasiliki are absolutely amazing and there really is no way to thank them for even taking us this far. They’re so understanding, approachable and helpful. Dr Karpouzis has literally been a dream and it’s an absolute pleasure and honour to have him as our doctor.”

Updated, 5th of April, 2023

Since Fertility Road last caught up with Bernadette and Paul at the start of the year, the couple have travelled to Pelargos IVF Clinic in Greece to begin their treatment.

A successful egg retrieval resulted in 19 eggs, 14 of which were fertilised using ICSI. Eight made it to the blastocyst stage, with five of these at the top grade.

The decision was made to postpone the embryo transfer, as Bernadette explains: “The day or two before egg collection the doctor advised that he thinks we’d be better off with a frozen transfer as I was a bit at risk of overstimulation. This will give my body time to calm down so we can try and do this on a more natural cycle.”

The couple don’t yet have a date for their next appointment at Pelargos IVF Clinic, but the frozen embryo transfer is expected to go ahead sometime in May or June.

Although Bernadette is looking forward to the couple’s return visit to Greece, she admits the nerves are starting to creep in.

She said: “I’m excited and looking forward to going back to Athens, but now I’m getting anxious because I can’t help but think negatively – like this shouldn’t be me, why would it be me?

“But a couple of months ago, I didn’t even think I could get this far. I’m trying to stay positive but realistic, and trying to stay off Google!”

The couple previously had an unsuccessful round of IVF in their native Belfast, which Bernadette describes as an overwhelmingly negative experience.

But this is a world away from their journey with Pelargos IVF Clinic.

Bernadette said: “It has been a really positive experience from the very first appointment. All our questions were answered.

“In these situations sometimes you leave and think of things you should have asked.

“If we messaged the nurse or doctor himself  they got back straight away, so we were never left alone on the journey at all.

“The facility itself was absolutely out of this world as well.”

Updated, 12th of January, 2023

Bernadette and Paul are preparing to travel some 2,000-plus miles as they embark on their fertility journey with the Pelargos IVF Clinic in Greece.

The couple, from Northern Ireland, are the latest to participate in the Fertility Journeys Project.

Bernadette, from Belfast, and Paul, from Cork, have been together for more than ten years after falling for each other on a night out.

Bernadette remembers: “We both knew of each other before, but didn’t ever talk or anything. We were on a night out, got chatting and it escalated from there!”

The couple had been trying for a baby for some time when they decided to undergo IVF in their home country. Unfortunately, this first treatment did not go to plan.

Bernadette said: “We had one IVF on NHS – free go – which went horribly wrong and unfortunately did not work out.

“It was a shambles from start to finish and initially I thought ‘never again’. But I looked into it and realised that when you go private for fertility help it is a different experience altogether.

“This was a couple of years ago now, so I think we are both ready to try again.”

When they discovered they had been selected for treatment at Pelargos IVF Clinic, Bernadette and Paul felt “so lucky” to have the chance to try again.

The couple said: “We are both still in shock that we have won this and really do feel so lucky to have this chance.

“We have talked about going abroad but just couldn’t decide when the time was right, but here we are.

“We plan to be in Greece for around two weeks, so I guess at this point it’s fingers crossed and we hope for the best.”

Laura Cooke
Laura Cooke
Laura is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about fertility, egg and sperm donation and IVF. She has previously written about the subject for publications including Men's Health UK and Stylist.

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