Overcoming low ovarian reserve

I had always had a feeling something wasn’t quite right, it was just this strange feeling that I would have problems, a sixth sense I guess. There was no real reason for it.

We had been trying to conceive for over 6 months without success and decided to get some tests done. We were getting older, I was 36 at the time, and rather than waste another 6 months I rang my Doctor and made an appointment. The tests weren’t good. It basically looked like I had no eggs left and I was going into early menopause. What a bombshell.

My GP had run some basic tests, AMH (egg reserve) and FSH (hormone level that makes follicles grow in the ovary). They came back to say that the egg reserve test (AMH) was really low (at 0) and FSH was really high. We booked straight into a fertility clinic and after further tests were told I didn’t have any eggs left and was going into early menopause. Basically short of a miracle, they couldn’t help us and suggested we think about donor eggs.

Wow. I had thought IVF is always an option, and now we were told that was out for us. We left feeling extremely raw. I remember talking to one of my good friends about the reality that I may never be able to have children, it put our relationship up in the air. What if I couldn’t give my husband children? There were so many emotions into the mix. We got my sister tested as a donor but I could not get my head around my baby being my sister’s and my husband’s. You are going through a million scenarios. For us, that journey at the beginning was the worst.

Some friends of ours had used Repromed and recommended them to us. We booked in with Doctor Neil Johnson to get a second opinion. It was a completely different experience for us. After running the tests again, his approach was, “These test results aren’t favourable but we can try all of these things A B & C, and with a percent here and a percent there combined, it can all make a difference.” It was promising all of a sudden!

It was a busy couple of months. We tried Intrauterine insemination (IUI) a couple of times, but this wasn’t successful. Neil booked us in for Lipiodol, to help improve my chance for pregnancy. After that we looked at IVF. We went on the short cycle (antagonistic cycle) and were prepared that we may only get 2-3 eggs. My egg count was low, and the risk was that they wouldn’t survive. 

Before the eggs were collected I had daily injections and regular scans which was pretty intense. The labs are open early so it wasn’t too hard to fit in, I would pop in before work and the nurses were very prompt with the blood tests.

We were surprised when we got 6 eggs from the first IVF cycle! And even more incredibly, all 6 eggs successfully fertilized.

After they were fertilised the clinic recommended to wait for the 5 day period to give the embryos the best possible chance to develop before implanting it into my uterus. After 5 days we ended up with three embryos that survived – one to transfer and two to freeze.

The day of implantation was exciting, I felt quite calm about the situation generally, I think acupuncture helped with that. I had a 30 minute acupuncture session before and after the treatment to prime my uterus and help me to relax.

Then it was the waiting game. It would take 10 days until the blood test could be taken to confirm pregnancy. Ten days! I thought, ‘How can I wait that long?’ I felt anxious but I tried to keep busy and to focus on the normal routine. In that situation I was into future thinking and mindfulness.

It’s hard to believe the turnaround from the initial prognosis. I was at work when I got the call. I had their phone number programmed in and was expecting the call. It was the nurse from Repromed. Nicola. She said “I have good news”. I was pregnant! I just couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t had any nausea but everything had been so positive and my experience with Repromed was so good that it felt like this could really work for us. I went into a conference room and I rang Ian straight away and he was very excited and I was in disbelief! Then I rang my Mum and sister who were thrilled.

After that it was another waiting game until the scan. It was a nerve wracking time because through that whole process in the beginning, you know on a daily basis how everything is tracking with blood tests etc. And then after a week or so of blood test hormone tracking to ensure the pregnancy was progressing, you are left for a few weeks until the 7 week scan and you have no idea if everything is ok. That is when it becomes nervy.

On the day of the first scan Ian took me in, and our doctor Neil did the scan. It was so amazing, we were quite blown away and you could actually see the heartbeat, something that is so tiny. That was really cool. We were super excited about it. I guess in the back of my mind there was that little element of worry.

From the first moment when we first walked in the door with Repromed even if the outcome hadn’t have been so favourable, it was a positive experience. We have popped into the clinic to see the team, to show off our two amazing, beautiful children which were the result of only one round of IVF. We are so thankful for Repromed and the journey we went through to get where we are today.


At Repromed we offer highly personalised care for all, with public and private fertility treatments available. If you’re a new client you can book a free 15 minute phone consultation with a fertility doctor. Take the first step today.

Megan Black

Nurse Manager


Megan leads the nursing team through the continually changing face of IVF. She works in a multidisciplinary team, providing the essential organization between the doctors and laboratory and ensuring communication between all departments.

Megan started her IVF nursing career in the United Kingdom, working in two large London clinic’s before returning to New Zealand. She is also the Secretary of Fertility Nurses of Australasia.

I love working with people and see nursing as a vocation, not a job. I usually spend my downtime absorbed in a good book and planning my next travel adventure.