Advanced Reproductive Age: Sheila’s Story [SUCCESS]

August 2, 2021

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Today’s journey story of a woman named Sheila. She is a 57-year-old author who enjoys catching up with friends, reading, and gardening. Sheila’s family doctor advised they try on their own but eventually referred them to a fertility doctor. With a diagnosis of unexplained infertility at 40, they immediately started treatment. They did one IUI cycle, which was unsuccessful. Their clinic advised going to IVF with ICSI and genetic testing. They got 6 embryos, but only 1 was normal. The frozen transfer was not successful. They were advised to consider donor eggs because of Sheila’s age, but they weren’t ready to take that step. For the next 3 years, they tried on their own with acupuncture, Chinese medicine, hypnosis, and organic foods. Trying to get pregnant consumed her, and she became depressed. They eventually decided donor eggs would be their only chance. The first cycle resulted in a miscarriage. She consulted a miscarriage specialist, but all results were normal. Join us to hear how Sheila switched donors, used an immunology protocol for the transfer, and became pregnant with their daughter.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Sheila describes herself as the complete opposite of a “party animal”
  • How she met her husband through a get-together organized by mutual friends, and they met and hit it off from the beginning
  • As a couple, they make a good team even though they have opposite personalities and different skill sets, and they are good at running their business together
  • How Sheila’s desire to be a mom came from loving being around babies and later training as a midwife
  • How running their own business gave them freedom of schedule as they planned for a life with children
  • How they started trying to conceive when Sheila was 40, and her husband was 29; they went to a family doctor who eventually referred them to a fertility specialist
  • After test results were normal, they chose a clinic that had good results with “older” women
  • In 2006, their first IUI was unsuccessful, so the clinic suggested IVF next
  • They pursued IVF with ICSI and genetic testing, but six eggs yielded only one normal embryo
  • At the transfer, Sheila wasn’t very optimistic, and her period started a few days later, so she knew it wasn’t successful
  • When the clinic suggested donor eggs, Sheila and her husband weren’t ready for that, so they took a break from treatment and focused on acupuncture, Chinese medicine, hypnosis, reducing stress, and eating organic foods
  • In 2009, Sheila saw another fertility specialist and a nutritionist; since she was 45 now, they began seriously to consider using donor eggs
  • Because the wait in the UK would likely have been years, they found a clinic in Spain and made their appointment
  • After retrieving eight eggs, two embryos were transferred, and Sheila soon received her first-ever positive pregnancy test; unfortunately, she miscarried at six weeks along
  • How Sheila went into “research overdrive” and learned everything she could about miscarriage
  • When they met a miscarriage consultant and had more testing done, the results were within the normal range
  • In 2010, they were matched with a different donor, and Sheila began a protocol of blood thinner and steroids
  • Two embryos were transferred, and Sheila got “a big, fat positive pregnancy test;” her daughter was born when she was 47
  • Why her family doctor would recommend that she keep trying on her own when she was already 40
  • Why Sheila switched clinics from the big, busy clinic with multiple doctors to the tiny one-doctor clinic in Spain
  • Why Sheila tried hypnosis to identify mindset issues that may have prohibited pregnancy
  • How Sheila dealt with her miscarriage with absolutely no outside support
  • What Sheila would have done differently as she looks back on her loss
  • How Sheila reached acceptance about using an egg donor
  • What pregnancy was like as a 46-year-old, and why it was better than she expected
  • What it’s like today being an “older” mom
  • Why Sheila decided to support the infertility and loss community with a book series
  • Sheila’s books, upcoming topics, free copies, and free ebooks—and how you can get them
  • How infertility has changed Sheila: “Infertility has made me more aware of how precious a woman’s and man’s fertility is. I’m very conscious today of the foods and products we use, and I’m aware of how fragile mental health is when people go through hard times. It’s OK to ask for help. I’m better now at validating other people’s feelings and not brushing them aside.”
  • Sheila’s advice to her past self: “Find professional help when going through infertility and treatment. Don’t think that you have to do it alone.”

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Thanks for listening!

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