'Pregnant first time after IVF'

Ashley Stothard, 28, from Leeds, was devastated when doctors told her that she would need fertility treatment to conceive. But her first cycle of IVF treatment on the NHS was successful, and she is now expecting twins.

Facts about PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)

  • PCOS affects millions of women in the UK.
  • About one in five women in the UK has polycystic ovaries, and approximately one in ten has PCOS to some degree.
  • Symptoms of PCOS include irregular or light periods, problems getting pregnant, weight gain, acne and excessive hair growth.
  • Women with PCOS either fail to ovulate or they ovulate infrequently, which is why it is one of the leading causes of fertility problems.

“My husband Jon and I started trying for a baby in 2006 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 in order 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.

"I had the IVF in July 2009. 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.”

Page last reviewed: 19/03/2012

Next review due: 19/03/2014

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