After the successful outcome of last year’s Fertility Journey with IVF Spain, we’re delighted to announce that Em and Julie are coming to us this July for their first visit.
During our first conversation with the couple, we asked them how they’ve dealt with infertility and what drove them to take part in this year’s Fertility Journey.
How did you meet?
Julie: We met through LinkedIn professionally as I was headhunting for directorial roles for the company I work for. Our connection was instant-on so many levels, but as we were colleagues we kept any feelings at bay to focus on work.
However, it eventually became impossible as we realised we were meant to be together.
Em: Meeting Julie has made my life complete. I am so glad we finally got together as now I have found the love of my life and it is so wonderful that we can support one another professionally and personally.
How has your road to fertility been so far and how many treatments have you undergone already?
Julie: Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. I’ve always loved children and trained as a teacher.
At any given opportunity I look after my friends’ children and have become the loveable aunt figure. I tried with a previous partner, but after three failed IVFs and 10 IUIs including one with a donor egg internationally, emotions and finances put serious strains on the relationship.
Plus, I developed serious health setbacks, putting the whole process on hold. It was a heart-wrenching choice to stop trying, but at the time it was a necessity.
Em: A few years ago when I was single, following lots of discussions with friends and family, I made a decision to get pregnant on my own. As I was already over 40, I didn’t want to waste any more precious time. The route to IVF as a single woman was not as daunting a process as I thought it would be as the idea of being a mother was my focus and kept me motivated.
I tried for one cycle of IVF and I couldn’t believe my luck when I fell pregnant for the first time. I’d spent so long researching and had heard so many dreadful stories about people trying for years without success that I thought it really was a miracle.
Those weeks of pregnancy were the most significant of my life to date. Waking each morning knowing there was a child growing inside me was the best feeling in the world.
However, as the weeks progressed I began to feel something was wrong and then came the devastating truth that I had lost the baby after 11 weeks. The torture only got worse as I had to physically ‘give birth’. This was by far the saddest and worst day of my life and one which impacted on me greatly. Remembering it now is still unbearable. Only a year after my miscarriage, I met Julie and started working with her company, focusing on my career.
What prompted you to take part in the Fertility Journey?
Julie: When we got together as a couple, having children was a must. With our joint experiences and understanding of various fertility procedures, we explored a number of avenues including adoption and self-insemination from a known donor.
However, due to our age and other health limitations, IVF seemed like the best route once again. When the Fertility Journeys project came up, we applied thinking we would give it a shot. As with anything like this, you never actually think you’re going to be those who are selected.
Em: Before applying for the Fertility Journeys project, I researched the clinic and read so many positive reviews as well as incredible statistics about the pregnancy and birth rates at IVF Spain that I just knew we couldn’t afford to miss the opportunity whatever the chance of winning.
What was your reaction when you found out you’d been chosen?
Julie: We were so excited at the interview stage while trying to keep our cool as we wanted to win more than anything in the world.
I kept asking Em afterwards if she thought we had a chance and deep down I wished for nothing more. When we were finally chosen I broke down and together it felt like it was meant to be. We knew this was our time to be parents… at last!
Em: I was in a state of shock I told Julie, who ran around the office shouting with sheer joy! I was speechless. We just held each other and sobbed with disbelief, relief and genuine happiness at being granted this fantastic opportunity.
Do you think your story may help other patients?
Julie: It’s important, especially for lesbians, to learn that they can have children without a man. There are so many women like us, especially in their late thirties and older who have just given up hope. We will never give up because we hear those rare stories of hope that drive us forward together on a journey towards motherhood. We want to be one of those success stories.
Em: On the route to fertility there is so much information about heterosexual couples and some clinics even refuse lesbians for fear of poor statistics.
IVF Spain’s confidence in their service for lesbian couples and additional research and treatments especially for women like us proves they believe in us and our chance of success.
Julie: Having a child with the love of your life, whatever your sexuality, is a dream that should be a reality for us all. It is this gift of hope for which we shall forever be grateful. I believe our time is now. Together we have a much better chance of success as love will win the day!
THE FIRST VISIT
On their first visit to the clinic, Em and Julie will have the chance to meet their gynaecologist, a specialist in assisted reproduction and practicing physician for more than 15 years, Dr Alicia Álvarez. They will undergo all necessary tests and receive counselling on the most suitable treatment according to their medical profile.
Dr Álvarez says: “As a gynaecologist I have always devoted myself to reproductive medicine to help those patients unable to fulfil their dream of becoming a mother – it has always been a challenge as a professional and as a woman.
“To understand the whole process, I specialised in obstetrics and thoroughly studied embryonic development, delivery and post-partum, which helped me to expand my vision as a gynaecologist and granted me the foundations and knowledge to offer individualised treatments to each of our patients.
“We are looking forward to meeting Em and Julie and helping them to become the family they always dreamed of. They will be in the best hands.”
At IVF Spain, our philosophy focuses on providing a personalised treatment plan to the patient and adapting the entire process to their preferred language with the sole purpose of our patients feeling cared for and understood.
Our medical team, led by Dr Jon Aizpurua, has broad professional experience and prestige in the field of assisted reproduction.
Our commitment to patients makes our international clinic a focus for constant innovation and technology, and forces us to stay at the forefront of assisted reproduction research. We are thus able to specialise in complex cases, such as patients with implantation failure, immunological and genetic disorders, repeated miscarriages and anonymous egg donation.
Spain has one of the most progressive legal frameworks on assisted human reproduction worldwide. Both sperm and egg donation are legal and anonymous, and Spanish law provides that children born by means of these techniques shall not be able to obtain information from the donor; similarly, the donor shall not be able to obtain information regarding the identity of the born child.
The Spanish law also provides for the study and acceptance of donors, as well as setting forth all the necessary tests. At IVF Spain we go beyond just the required tests with further testing which ultimately allows us to utilise eggs and sperm with the highest assurance of security.
As a result, we have achieved pregnancy rates well above the Spanish average set by the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), according to the certified data provided by TÜV (the international certification body). Together, we will fulfil Em and Julie’s dream of forming a family.