Ashley had IVF on the NHS. She describes her experience.
Ashley Stothard was devastated when doctors told her that she would need fertility treatment to conceive. Thankfully, her first cycle of IVF treatment on the NHS was successful.
"My husband Jon and I started trying for a baby when I was just 25. I knew something was wrong when I still wasn’t pregnant after nine months, yet I wasn't having periods either.
"My GP referred me to a hospital consultant at Leeds General Infirmary, who did lots of tests on me. It turned out that I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a gynaecological disorder in which the edge of the ovary is covered in multiple cysts.
"PCOS is quite common, and it’s one of the leading causes of infertility in women. The cysts can interfere with ovulation, so your periods become light and irregular.
"In my case, I wasn’t ovulating at all, which was why my periods had stopped completely.
"The consultant told me it was unlikely that I’d be able to conceive naturally. He suggested that I have IVF.
"The waiting list for NHS IVF treatment at the hospital was 18 months. That seemed a long time, but to be eligible for treatment I had to lose a little weight to lower my body mass index to below 30 (being overweight reduces the chances of success with IVF).
"I lost the weight that I needed to, and was given the go-ahead for treatment.
"Jon and I were thrilled when the IVF worked first time, and I became pregnant. Two weeks later, we were told that I was having twins.
"I was incredibly pleased with the way I was treated on the NHS. The doctors, nurses and the admin staff were lovely. It was a long wait for treatment, but it was worth it in the end."
All about IVF
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)