She sat there with her hair glistening like spun silver. It was her day and she knew it. She was now 102-years-old and I couldn’t wait to ask her the question that had been haunting me for the past week.
As family and friends gathered around her I waited patiently to get by her side. Countless stories were being exchanged of the life she lived.
Then it was my chance, I sat next to her and rubbed the skin of her paper-thin arm and leaned in, “Aunt Doris”, I asked, “do you have any regrets?”.
As one of 13 siblings, she was the one who never had any children of her own. We were all adopted by her but I wondered if she regretted this in her later stage of life. Was this something that defined her life? Was there any wisdom that she could impart that would help me where I am in mine?
As she leaned in, I consciously held my breath for her response. I was almost afraid to hear it.
The week leading up to this celebration I thought of my questions a lot and reflected. Did I have regrets of my own? Truth be told, yes. I do have things that I wish I could have done differently. I own these choices but as I stopped and thought about them, one common thread that came up was fear.
For those of you on the fertility journey I challenge you to stop and think about this; is there something that is holding you back from seeking treatment or moving on to another treatment option? What is holding you back from reaching out and taking that next step to create your family? Will you look back in the latter stages of your life with regret that you never tried? Fear can feed inaction, and indecision tells you to wait for the “right time” but sometimes the fear can cripple you instead of fuelling you to toward your dreams. I encourage you today to not let fear hold you back. There is something stronger than fear and that thing is LOVE.
Aunt Doris leaned in and with her soft breath, she whispered, “I love you”. She then tilted her head back and began to sing.
She had answered my question better than I ever could have imagined.Learn More
The Endometrial Receptivity Array Test (ERA) is a method of assessing when the endometrium is most receptive, in order to give a personalised embryo transfer.
The receptivity of the endometrium is a crucial factor in determining the success of IVF treatment.
The endometrium is the tissue lining the uterus, which gets thicker during the cycle until it reaches the optimum thickness for implantation following ovulation. The endometrial receptivity is the status in which the endometrium is ready for embryo implantation to take place and it is also called window of implantation. This occurs normally around days 19-21 in each menstrual cycle of a fertile woman.
In some couples who have recurrent implantation failure, it may be that the window of implantation is displaced either back or forward a few days. The ERA test involves taking a biopsy of the womb-lining and analysing the genes of this tissue taken on the day of “normal” receptivity”. The biopsy procedure is simple, fast and performed in clinic in a similar procedure to an embryo transfer.
ERA can identify certain genes that are normally active when the endometrium is receptive, and it can pinpoint these genes and check whether they are switched on or not. This gives a good idea of whether the endometrium is ‘pre-receptive’, ‘receptive’ or ‘post-receptive’. The test will be carried out in the month prior to the treatment cycle, and the results will determine the exact timing of the embryo transfer in the month of treatment.
In up to 20% of couples with repeated implantation failure this result confirms the endometrium is “non-receptive” so the window of implantation is displaced. This can allow us to personalise the day of embryo transfer and optimise the outcome and minimise further failed cycles.Learn More
Tubal ligation, also known as “having one’s tubes tied,” is a permanent form of birth control done using either one of two methods. A mini laparotomy or laparoscopy.
A mini laparotomy involves making a small incision in the abdomen and locating the fallopian tubes, which conduct the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. After the tubes are found and drawn outside the body through the incision, a portion of each tube is removed and the ends are tied. In laparoscopy the woman’s abdomen is first inflated with carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide gas, creating a gap between the bowel and the abdomen. A fiberoptic light is inserted (by puncturing the abdominal wall) and an instrument either coagulates the tubes with an electric current or places a band or clip on the tubes.
However, some women later come to regret this decision.
Here is a list of your questions answered by our experts regarding tubal ligation and pregnancy.
Q: Does the Barbados Fertility Centre perform tubal ligation reversal?
Unfortunately, we do not offer this procedure at the moment.
Q: Is tubal reversal possible after a cut and burn procedure?
Because the tubes get badly damaged in the process, it is highly unlikely that a tubal reversal is possible.
Q: How dangerous is it to perform tubal reversal surgery?
It is not dangerous but just usually unsuccessful in achieving the desired effects.
Q: Can women still get pregnant after a tubal ligation without having it untied?
Generally speaking, no. However, there is the risk of ectopic pregnancy in women who have had tubal ligation, which is a greater risk than for those who have not had the surgery. Recanalization or formations of tuboperitoneal fistulas occur, the openings of which are large enough for passage of sperm but too small to allow an ovum to push through, resulting in fertilisation/implantation in the distal tubal segment.
Q: What is the best age to get your tubes tied?
There is no good time for this. In fact you are better off asking your male partner to have a vasectomy!
Q: Compared to tubal reversal, is IVF a better option and why?
The success rate of IVF is about 50%. The success rate of tubal reversal depends on how it was performed. If the tubes were burnt and cut there is little to no success of reopening them. If you just had your tubes clipped/banded then it is worth exploring to have the clips removed and for the doctor to try reopening the tubes. This type of tubal surgery is the best to have if you want to have your tubes tied.
Q: What is the success rate of IVF with tied tubes?
It is worthwhile to note that IVF was invented for blocked tubes. However, the success rates with IVF vary greatly according to the programme. Some IVF programmes have pregnancy rates with tubal factor infertility of over 50% per attempt in women under 40 years old. Other programmes with the same type of patients report pregnancy rates of only 20 to 30% (or sometimes less). The reason for this is that some in vitro fertilization programs are better than others. This is why the couple should do careful comparisons of in vitro fertilization success rates before choosing an IVF specialist and clinic.
Q: What are the risks involved when trying for a baby with tied tubes?
There are no risks involved.
Q: Is there a time frame for when you can have the tubes untied?
If you can have them unclipped, you are better off doing it sooner rather than later because as time passes scar tissue is formed.Learn More
If you are considering IVF you need to be certain that you are choosing the best fertility centre available. You should consider:
A clinic’s published success rates;
Its experience in fertility treatments; and
The quality of its service.
Location, environment, counselling and support are other factors to be considered.
One important question you need to ask: “Is the facility accredited?”
An accredited fertility centre affirms a commitment to offer the highest medical standardsLearn More
It’s here. We’ve reached the end! Training is complete and race day is on Saturday.
Today I did my last training run and a thought hit me from an article I scanned the other day. The world is split into “runners and non-runners”. That comment made me laugh out loud.
Can the cloth really be cut into two?
Those of us on the fertility journey I believe would say YES.
Sometimes it feels like the world is split into those who “have children” and those who “don’t have children.”
Depending on which side you are on, you can view the world differently. For anyone struggling with fertility you have heard it a hundred times:
”So, when are you going to have kids?”
“What are you waiting on?”
For me, when people learned I was running this race, I keep getting:
“So, what time are you going to finish the race?” or
“How long is a half marathon?” (It’s actually 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometres)
This week I found myself talking negatively about the race. Weird!
This race that means so much to me and has been on my bucket list of life accomplishments for some time now, was suddenly not being represented in the true light of my heart’s desire. It saddened me today as I reflected on this. You see, by brushing off people’s expectations of how well I would do in this race or flippantly groan about the training and the 4 am wake up runs and how I was “so over this!” it was as though I was wiping an old smelly wash cloth over all the miles and hours it has taken to get to this distance and diminishing the goal.
In fact, what I was really doing, was trying to protect this dream of mine.
How many of you have done that too?
When you are trying to get pregnant, month after month, and the questions start coming at you, it’s sometimes easier to just say:
“Oh, we are not ready yet for children” or maybe
“Kids?? Are you crazy! My life is too busy!”
But really deep down inside, in that vulnerable soft spot, what we whisper is… ”
“Yes, that’s right, that’s what I want and I am downright scared that I might not achieve it.”
I contemplated this as dawn was breaking and looked up and saw the sun, stars and moon in the sky all at the same time and made the decision to change my responses today. The combination of darkness and light at the same time is exactly where those of us on the fertility journey are daily. We mix our hope and dreams with the fear that it may not happen. When we are presented with the news that we need help to get pregnant and that IVF may be the only answer to achieving our dream of having a family one of the hardest decisions is to actually pursue treatment and take that first step forward.
That’s the thing about fear though, sometimes it can cripple us instead of driving us forward. Today in my world, fear was not winning. Today I stopped and remembered that a few weeks ago I dedicated this run to my patients and I changed my perspective.
There at the end of the road knowing I had just completed 14 weeks of training, I realized that running has taught me to push beyond my limits both physically and mentally. Every morning as I laced my shoes and hit that black asphalt I had to tell myself “You can do this”. Pain was part of the process. In the thousands of steps it has taken to get to this point, it is the possibility as much as anything that has kept me going.
Will I reach my goal? I won’t know that until Saturday but the support I have received from so many of you has made this journey one to remember for a lifetime. As much as my running team mates have been there for me it has been my patients and my non-running friends who have also in the past few weeks encouraged me to keep pushing to the end. So perhaps the world isn’t split into two after all, perhaps there is a thread that connects us all. We are in this race together … we’ve got this!
I’ll see you at the finish line!
– Rachel De GaleLearn More