After about a year of trying to conceive, my husband and I went for tests and were diagnosed with "unexplained infertility". By then I was already 40 and was told I had about a 15% chance of success with a round of IVF. We really wanted to a child, so quickly decided to take this path. During our first cycle, six eggs were collected but none fertilized, so we were gutted. But we stayed with the same clinic in the Midlands, England, to try ICSI. The next cycle was much better and led to six good quality embryos, with two blastocysts being put back. However, I did not get pregnant and over the next two years we did two more attempts which led to three apparently good grade embryos being put back but no pregnancy. We started to consider using donor eggs as one of our friends had had success with this. But I wanted to try once more with my own eggs because we seemed to get reasonable embryos, although had no implantation. At the beginning of 2012, at nearly 43, I looked into a couple of London clinics which had high success rates, but the costs and daily trips to the capital put me off.
Then I was advised that a relatively new clinic, New Life in Thessaloniki, was achieving good success rates with older women. Following a Skype consultation, we decided to just go for it. I took some unpaid leave from work and after doing my "down-regging" injections in the UK, I spent two weeks in Greece. The whole experience was brilliant. I was initially nervous about what I had undertaken, but the staff at the clinic was reassuring and very professional. It felt different than previous attempts and the embryologist Chrysa and consultant Dimitrios saw me at every visit and I felt I was being closely monitored so the timing of the egg collection was exact. The staff was also kind as well as being optimistic. They were in fact more optimistic than me. I followed all the advice after the embryos were put back, even taking a five-hour train trip to avoid carrying my bag on the Tube across London after I flew home. But in my heart I did not think it had worked. But I still delayed going for the pregnancy blood test by a couple of days as I did not want to feel that disappointment again. So when the clinic which tested me said it was positive, I was amazed and so thankful. And when I look at my five-month old son sleeping or giving me a beautiful gummy grin, I still am.
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