‘IVF can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster’

After suffering three miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy, Mary Hughes had to have one ovary and a fallopian tube removed.

‘IVF can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster’

When doctors discovered blockages in the remaining tube, she began to worry she would never have children.

At the age of 37, Mary and her husband Howard began to consider their options and decided to try In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

“I wanted to have more than one child and I wanted to have them before I turned 40,” said Mary, from Limerick.

“Forty is a very significant age for a woman. After this age there are more risks associated with pregnancy — more complications.”

After looking into a few different clinics, the couple settled on Sims in Dublin.

“I liked that they actually did research,” said Mary. “They look into the reasons behind infertility instead of just treating it.

“I met with Dr David Walsh and he was very black and white in what could be achieved. I was a bit overweight and I also smoked, which I was told diminished our chances considerably.”

Within a few weeks, both Mary and her husband had given up cigarettes and embarked on their first round of treatment.

“It can be a very traumatic experience,” she said. “You have to take a lot of hormones and get scans and it’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.”

Mary said she had to mentally prepare herself for the possibility that IVF wouldn’t work. After the first round of treatment, she ended up with 16 embryos, 13 of which were viable. One of these resulted with a viable pregnancy and Mary gave birth to Samuel in January 2009.

“He’s six now and he’s just a happy, healthy and fun little boy. He’s the light of our lives,” said Mary.

Six months after giving birth to Sam, Mary decided to try for a second child using the nine remaining embryos which had been frozen.

One by one, as doctors found that each embryo failed, Mary and Howard began to lose hope. However, the final two embryos were viable, which resulted in baby Aoibhinn being born in April 2010.

“Aoibhinn is as delightful as her brother. The things she comes out with are unbelievable. They’re both amazing children,” Mary said.

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