Dismissed as Perimenopausal
Feeling invisible while consulting her GP about building a family at age 40, one patient looks for a different approach to fertility to help her explore the possibilities. This is her story.
My husband and I had been trying for a baby for 6 months when I went to my GP for help. My doctor told me that, at 40, I was likely perimenopausal, and sent me away without a referral or further investigation.
“It simply was not happening for us naturally, and we needed treatment that was customized to address our particular issues.”
After having persisted with other doctors, I was told that I might have a chance at motherhood if I were to consider ovum donation. Since that was not possible for me, I considered that to be the end of my road, so far as conventional medicine was concerned. It seemed IVF. wouldn’t work for us, so why bother? We continued our efforts naturally, but with decreasing hope, for the next 2 years.
Finding the right doctor
Finally, after nearly 3 years, we decided to give IVF a try. We didn’t do it because we thought we’d be successful; I had to do it because I knew I would not be able to live with myself if I were to end up childless at 50, knowing that there was more that I could have done. At least, I thought, I could accept my fate, knowing that I’d done my best and failed despite it.
“I was not merely a woman of undesireable age to Dr. Cheung, as I had been to all the doctors who’d seen me before him. He considered me as a whole.”
I chose to come to Grace because I had heard and read so many wonderful things about Dr. Cheung. His knowledge, wisdom, compassion, and dedication to his patients were evident to me, before I’d even met him, and were only confirmed by my experience at the clinic. Everyone at Grace treated me with utter kindness, right from the moment I walked in the door. I knew we were in caring and capable hands.
Starting IVF cycle with 2 mature eggs
Dr. Cheung and his staff were very understanding and supportive as they prepared me for the procedure. Once my cycle began, I was monitored very, very closely, and my treatment was tailored to work with the state of my cycle, at each point. I’m convinced this immense care and personalisation were the reason everything went as well as it did.
“Yes, my age was a factor, but it didn’t define me, and [Dr. Cheung] took everything into consideration as he determined my treatment.”
Rather than give me some sort of standard treatment, Dr. Cheung determined that what was best for my husband and I, as a couple which turned out to be minimal intervention IVF and ICSI. Although we had only two mature eggs at collection, I am now nearly 16 weeks pregnant, so clearly something went very, very right.
If there’s one thing I could change
Now, at 16 weeks pregnant, my only regret is that it took me so long to get myself through Dr. Cheung’s door. The chances of success were always very slim, but a slim chance is infinitely better than none. We never imagined this would happen for us. We had essentially given up, and were only trying for the sake of future peace of mind.
At Grace, we were given hope, however. I was thrilled even to have hope back; having a baby, too, is still something I cannot believe is happening, not to me. We thought this was impossible, but now the impossible is our reality, and we couldn’t be happier or more grateful.