Our baby was frozen for 10 years

Our baby was frozen for 10 years - Real life IVF baby story

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After several failed attempts at IVF, Debbie Moran-Simmonds decided to try one last time….

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‘Twenty years ago, when I was 19, I was told I had blocked Fallopian tubes, which would reduce my chances of conceiving naturally. However, a year later, I did become pregnant, but it was ectopic (developing outside the uterus) and the operation to remove it reduced my chances further still. My husband Colin and I couldn’t afford IVF at the time but our families kindly gave us the money to try, but the first two attempts ended in miscarriages. In 1995 we visited a fertility clinic where drugs were used to stimulate my ovaries into producing 32 eggs. Eighteen of them were fertilised to become embryos. Three were transferred to my womb and the rest were frozen, but I miscarried again. Colin and I tried again in March 1996 but when this too failed we decided we couldn’t face putting ourselves through it again, and to focus on the benefits of not having children.
Each year a letter arrived from the clinic reminding us that our embryos were still in storage, and we extended the storage limit to a further five years. When the letter arrived in 2005 telling us that the deadline was about to expire, we decided to give it one last attempt.
In December 2005 five embryos were taken out of storage and two were transferred to my womb. We had to wait two weeks to see if it had been a success, and they were the longest two weeks of my life. Then I started bleeding and I felt total despair. The clinic advised me to take a pregnancy test however, and I was shocked to see two faint blue lines on the test stick. Staff at the clinic explained that the bleed had probably been caused by the embryo implanting in my womb. Just two weeks later I was back in the hospital with stomach pains. Doctors found as apple-sized mass, which they said could either be a cyst, fibroid or ectopic pregnancy. Thankfully, instead of operating the doctors monitored me and finally discovered the growth was just a fibroid.
In September 2006 I had an emergency Caesarean and our baby daughter, Shani (which means ‘marvellous’ in Swahili) was born weighing 7lb 10oz. Colin and I realise how blessed we are to have her in our lives, it makes all the years of waiting worthwhile.’

More IVF info:

  • Freezing embryos allows couples to use all the embryos created by IVF treatment
  • The technique reduces the number of times the ovaries are stimulated and eggs recovered
  • There is no evidence that embryos are affected by the length of time they are frozen. However, approximately 60% of embryos don’t survive the freeze and thaw cycle
  • The success of Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) varies, with the national average being 14%

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