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Endometriosis and Lipiodol

 
 
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Becoming a mother has always been the most important thing I have wanted to experience in my life. Due to endometriosis and other complications, I had tried unsuccessfully to have my dream realised for 12 long years, and it has been an incredibly difficult and heart-breaking journey for me. It’s unbelievable what I went through, to see where I am today.

My husband and I both wanted a family and tried to get pregnant without any luck. After five years, we realised we weren't going to be able to get pregnant naturally - so we went to a fertility specialist for advice and on to the waiting list for IVF. But, first I needed a laparoscopy (internal examination) to find out what was going on, and the results showed I had quite severe endometriosis. That explained a few things! I had intense pain every month which had debilitated me - I would have to stay home from work for days and stay in bed, but I didn’t realise this wasn’t normal. The doctor recommended I spend some time focusing on my physical and mental health before going for our first round of IVF as my thyroxine levels were out of balance and I needed to be healthy for the procedure. A year later in 2011 we were finally ready to for it but we were realistic - we knew our chances of success wasn’t great. This IVF attempt was unsuccessful which we found really upsetting.

I took a year off to recover and before we went in for IVF round two, the doctors organised another laparoscopy, and this time they found my endometriosis had advanced to stage 4 (the most severe), a cyst in my ovaries, and my ovaries weren't producing any eggs at all! It was heart-breaking.

The intense stress over these years had a huge impact on my marriage and sadly we broke up. It was a terribly difficult time for me, I desperately wanted to become a Mother, and now I didn't know if I would get the chance. I knew I needed to look after myself so I started exploring ways to improve my fertility and wellbeing naturally, and I ended up completely changing my lifestyle and my diet. I researched a lot about fertility health, studied information on nutrition and how food and stress impacts on health. I joined the gym and started running and slowly I started feeling better within.

Still desperate to become a Mother, I decided to seek out a sperm donor. I met with Repromed to go through the process to go on the waiting list but it was potentially going to be a two year wait. But as luck would have it, I fell in love and like me, my partner really wanted to have a baby. We went back into Repromed, this time to put my name down for IVF!

Because of my history of endometriosis, I was booked in with Dr Neil Johnson who is a fertility doctor who specializes in this area, and I’m so grateful for his support. I arrived feeling so hopeless and that the odds were stacked against me, but Neil really encouraged me to stay positive and that there was still hope. He offered the revolutionary Lipiodol treatment which is was developed for endometriosis sufferers and optimises the function of the ovaries. It was a simple process similar to a smear test where my tubes were flushed with poppy seed oil. Incredibly, within 6 months I got pregnant for the first time. And naturally! The excitement and surprise are hard to describe, but sadly it was short-lived as at 7 weeks I miscarried. That was so incredibly tough. To be honest, I really couldn't cope with this loss after almost a decade of trying.

this time of grieving I went back into Repromed to prepare for our second round of IVF and part of the preparation was to do blood tests. Neil said to me, “Do you think you could be pregnant”, and I said, “Definitely not”! It had only been 9 weeks since my previous pregnancy and I didn't think it was possible. I had the blood test and the next day when I was at work Neil rang and he said, “Are you standing or sitting?? It’s good news, you are pregnant!”. I couldn't believe it! After 12 years of infertility, trying to get pregnant with no success, I had one Lipiodol treatment and had gotten pregnant not once, but twice! And I had tried literally everything possible over this time; acupuncture, changing my lifestyle, diet, mindfulness, stopped smoking, stopped drinking, reduced stress, working on anxiety, taking natural remedies, massage, and nothing had worked. When I got this great news, I drove straight home and told my partner what had happened. To say we were thrilled is an understatement. The pregnancy went by smoothly and we are beyond happy to now have our beautiful baby boy in our arms.

Being a Mother is truly everything I dreamt it would be and I couldn't be happier. My partner is the best Dad and we are just so thankful for this gift.

Professor Neil Johnson is the President Elect of the World Endometriosis Society. Find out more about his story here.

Repromed provides fertility treatment with heart. Based in Auckland, both public and private treatment is available and all are welcome. You can book a 15 minute phone consultation with a fertility doctor free of charge. Email info@repromed.co.nz or call 0800 483 105 to book.

Individual results may vary dependent on your personal circumstances.

With thanks to our generous client for sharing her personal story.