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.”