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  • Writer's pictureViolaine Tewari

IVF Success Stories blog: Real-Life Experience from Virginie Who Conceived

Join Virginie on her journey to motherhood through IVF in this inspiring blog article. Follow her real-life experience and success story as she shares her ups and downs, hopes and fears, and the ultimate joy of becoming a mother through assisted reproductive technology.

Virginie faced a difficult challenge when she learned she was suffering from secondary infertility. However, she refused to give up and kept looking for solutions. With determination and courage, she overcame her ordeal and finally was able to conceive a child. Her story is an inspiring testimony to all those struggling with infertility.

Introduction to this IVF blog's article on Virginie's story

In this blog article, we will be sharing the inspiring journey of Virginie as she navigated the world of IVF to become a mother. From the initial decision to pursue assisted reproductive technology to the emotional rollercoaster of fertility treatments, Virginie's story is one of hope, perseverance, and ultimately, success. Join us as we follow her journey and celebrate her triumphs along the way.

My name is Virginie, and I'm a maths and science teacher at a vocational high school in Toulouse, in France. I'm 41 and have been trying for a second child for seven years. I have a first son aged 8. I thought my story might reassure some people going through the MAP process.

What explains this infertility?

There's no clear answer. We had our son naturally. We were having trouble conceiving and were about to embark on the MAP process. I'd had pregnancies, but they were unsuccessful because of genetic abnormalities. My son finally arrived by surprise.

What treatments did you undergo ?

We had artificial inseminations, with injections to stimulate. We had four of these, out of which I experienced two biochemical pregnancies and one hyperstimulation. Immediately afterwards, I became pregnant naturally. This pregnancy lasted, but we had to do a therapeutic abortion at five months, as my daughter was a trisomy 18 carrier.

After the fourth insemination, we decided to switch to IVF. We contacted a private clinic in Toulouse. The biologist was inhuman. I had just had an abortion of my daughter two and a half months ago.

This person simply told us that :

- The benefits of IVF were not necessarily proven in our case,

- We surely had a genetic problem, which would not be explored further, as both of us had normal karyotypes;

- We had to face the mourning of a second child;

- We were fortunate to have a relatively healthy one (my son has clubfoot);

- Other couples weren't so lucky;

- We were not a priority;

- We could continue to try to conceive naturally;

- Our second child was likely to be handicapped.

I got back in touch with my gynecologist, who had been treating me with artificial insemination. She works at the Purpan University Hospital in Toulouse. She told me that she was nevertheless going to present our medical application, but that she thought it would be rejected, as it had not been demonstrated in our situation that IVF increased the chances of conceiving a second child. Our case was rejected, as she had told us.

She advised us to look abroad and put us in touch with a clinic in Spain. We got quotes and had to undergo a lot of additional tests. But the estimate was at least 8,000 euros for a first attempt. For each transfer, a pre-implantation diagnosis had to be carried out to check that there were no genetic problems with the embryos, and in particular to eliminate trisomy, as we had already experienced one incident. We thought about it, asked the banks for their decision, and they followed us, but we found it hard to accept going into debt to have a child, and also to put our son through this. It meant no more vacations, no more leisure activities and constant financial belt-tightening, with no guarantee that it would work.

Against the advice of the geneticist and biologist, I made an appointment at Montpellier University Hospital, which specializes in embryo research, particularly PGD. Even though the waiting time is very long and we weren't given priority, I followed my intuition and made an appointment in Montpellier, exposing myself to a categorical "no". We wanted to at least try, given that our procedures could be taken care of in France.

We went there on December 19, 2021. The person was empathetic, asked us questions and told us she would submit the application when all the staff were available, when they returned from the Christmas vacations. She wanted to discuss it with as many people as possible, in particular with the geneticist and the head of the PGD department. The case was presented on January 18, 2022, just after my birthday. And we were called back immediately. They told us they had accepted the possibility of PGD, with additional tests. In the end, this possibility was ruled out, as they preferred to start with a first attempt without PGD and see the result.

In February, we went back to Montpellier to discuss the protocol to be put in place and to see all the tests to be carried out. I was prescribed a pelvic MRI, which had never been prescribed before, knowing that I had traces of endometriosis in an area that posed no problem for procreation. The MRI showed adenomyosis. In April, we started treatment. In May, I had the puncture. They explained to me that the transfer would necessarily be with a frozen embryo, as I had to undergo treatment to block my adenomyosis for three months prior to the transfer. In May 2022, they retrieved 36 oocytes from me, from which we only obtained three top-quality embryos. They told me I probably had polycystic ovaries, which led to poor egg quality. For this reason, I have suffered a number of miscarriages.

The first embryo was transferred in August 2022, but it didn't work. I had projected myself and was disappointed with the result, as it didn't even work at all.

The second transfer took place in October 2022, by which time we were busy preparing for our wedding in 2024. Finally, we had a positive result and I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant. I will give birth on June 21 by scheduled Caesarean section. I'm expecting a baby girl.

It didn't go well at first, as I suffered a placental abruption and thought I was going to lose her. But in the end, she held on and fought on. On January 1, 2023, I lost my dad unexpectedly, which was also a difficult time. In the end, all is well.

What are the main emotions you've faced along the way?

Not being able to conceive is very complicated. Seeing people around us who decide to have a child and get pregnant straight away, as we witnessed on several occasions, was hard to deal with. We said to ourselves: why her and why not us? But we're both rather fatalistic by nature and feel that we're not really lucky.

I wanted to control my emotions and I went to a psychologist. I underwent hypnotherapy and above all I exercised resilience. That's what I'd already learned during my son's pregnancy. When I was told, five months into the pregnancy, that he was carrying a clubfoot, I was afraid that the pregnancy would have to be terminated, because I'd had problems before and we were full of doubts. But then we were reassured that there would be no further consequences. We had done all the necessary tests. After he was born, we embarked on the treatment protocols for him. We had no choice. We didn't want to burden him with our emotions.

Have you tried sophrology?

Yes, during my pregnancy. With hypnosis, which is very similar, I was able to visualize comforting situations, which helped me to relax.

These visualization practices are also available in the sophrology approach, among other techniques. What advice would you give readers?

Follow your instincts. Don't always listen to what you're told. We know our body, we know how it works, so we have to listen to ourselves. If my instinct hadn't told me to go for it and go to Montpellier to try in France, I wouldn't be where I am and I wouldn't be expecting my daughter.

We're told not to think about it too much and that's why we can't succeed, but you can't not think about it, especially when you're undergoing MAP. It's impossible.

Then you can talk to the people around you. Right from the start, I was talking to my family, but when we started the IVF protocol, when people talked to us about it too often, when they made comments and asked questions, it became upsetting. People don't realize what it's like, because they haven't experienced it. It's up to each individual to decide whether or not to talk about it. With IVF, we decided not to talk about it.

Our bodies speak to us. I have a lot of instinct and I'm realizing that I can rely on it more and more.

Picture of Virginie and her story for the IVF blog article

I congratulate you for your courage and determination. Bravo to you, Virginie, for fighting to the end!

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