Before deciding to do IVF/ICSI, what problems or issues did you encounter? Why did you decide to start treatment at Beyond IVF?
: We’ve tried to have a child through natural methods of course, but after 2 miscarriages, I decided it was finally time to consult with a doctor about my potential infertility issues, and of course, I wasn’t getting any younger (I was 34 at the time). After much deliberation, we decided to treat our infertility issue with Dr. Ton at Beyond IVF with IVF/ICSI along with sending our embryos for chromosome testing reduce the chance of future miscarriages.
Why did you want twins?
: We had heard that Beyond IVF and Dr. Ton were well known for twin pregnancies, but we had our doubts as to whether we could have twins ourselves due to my age and the associated risks. Other IVF centers we initially consulted actually turned us down, but Dr. Ton was open to the idea and laid out the risks for us since day one. Having Dr. Ton actually also deliver the twins for us was also a big plus and put to rest any doubts and concerns I initially had.
Have you had other infertility treatments before?
: Yes, but we went to a private hospital and the doctor there was unable to determine the exact cause of our infertility issues and the root causes, along with not recommending us a further course of action. It wasn’t until my friend suggested to try Beyond IVF because she herself also had twins with Dr. Ton!
The start of the IVF/ICSI process begins with the injection of stimulation medication – how did you feel at the beginning?
: I was very excited (and a bit fearful) as self-administering the stimulation medication needed to be done in the abdominal area every day for about 8-12 days. Needless to say, I’d prefer someone else doing it and Dr. Ton advised me that if I wasn’t up for it, I could always come in to let a Beyond IVF nurse take care of it instead. In the end, however, it was more convenient for us to do it at home, but I still needed someone else to inject the medication as I’m not a big fan of needles nor doing it myself, so my husband was next up and he performed the job wonderfully.
A question for your husband – how did you feel about having to administer the stimulation medication?
: I was primarily afraid of hurting my wife because it was her first time being injected in the abdomen and I’m of course not trained in this, but I tried my best to relax her prior to every injection, making sure she wasn’t tense. When performing the injection, it turned out to be not as difficult as I thought, thanks in part to the Beyond IVF nurse, who gave us a very detailed explanation of the process and techniques to use, and the syringes themselves, which are already pre-loaded with the stimulation medication. The size of the syringe itself was also very small, and not as intimidating as one might think, being smaller than a blood collection needle.
Did you experience any side effects from the stimulation medication?
: Yes, not much, but there were definitely some mood swings in the beginning! But overall the symptoms were not as severe as others, who I had heard experienced severe mood swings and even crying. That being said, we feel fortunate that the side effects were not that severe.
After the first few days of stimulation injections, what were the results like during your first ultrasound with Dr. Ton?
: Dr. Ton first mentioned that the oocytes were responding quite well to the stimulation dosage Dr. Ton had prescribed to us. Overall, the results were very good, with over 10 oocytes (eggs) in each ovary.
After a few more days of stimulation injections at home and one final ultrasound at Beyond IVF, Dr. Ton designated the appropriate time and date for the ovum pick-up (OPU) procedure to collect the mature oocytes from my ovaries. Surprisingly, the doctor managed to collect all 33 oocytes and I was shocked as I had expected no where close to that amount. This of course turned out to be a blessing, enabling us to have our twins, for which we again need to sincerely thank the efforts of Dr. Ton and his team at Beyond IVF.
As potential parents, what was the most exciting part of the IVF process?
: Definitely the ultrasound after our embryo transfer (procedure) to see if our embryos had successfully attached themselves to the uterine wall. Having gone through two miscarriages already, this of course was the most nail biting part for us, but those fears alleviated when we saw that both embryos had implanted successfully and we could see the gestational sacs.
After seeing the gestational sacs, did that assure you that the process was going to be ultimately a success?
: For sure we were still reserved, but we were quietly confident that we were going to be successful in having twins with the two embryos we transferred as these were the only two that passed with a clean bill of health after NGS chromosome testing. Most people I imagine would be a bit disappointed after only being left with two healthy embryos after collecting over thirty oocytes, but in our case we knew if we continued to try naturally there was a high chance of continuing to miscarriage due to chromosomal defects and were quite relieved that we had not one, but two healthy embryos to transfer.
Any particular lifestyle changes after the embryo transfer?
: Dr. Ton primarily advised us to take it easy, but most importantly not to stress about it. I mostly laid around a lot right after the embryo transfer, but aside from getting up for meals and light strolls, I tried to be careful and free my mind of any stressors.
When the doctor finally confirmed your pregnancy (with twins), how did you feel at that moment?
: I was beyond delighted! After seeing the two sacs and hearing their heart beats (during the second ultrasound), it finally felt real, our dream of having children was coming true – really an indescribable feeling.
Any recommendations for those also facing infertility issues?
: Each person’s problem is different. Better consult your doctor. Because getting advice that is straight to the point. Let’s find the real cause. It’s better to try natural methods. The chances of success are less. If it fails or comes off, it will affect our minds. It’s going to get even worse. If born, consult a doctor for a doctor to take care of you from the beginning. It may cost a bit more but the results we get are worth it because there is no other way. And the child’s story is worth more than that. Invaluable
In parting, did you have anything you wanted to share regarding your experience with Dr. Ton?
: Dr. Ton was literally always there for us! Whenever we would call him directly with a question or concern, which is already unusual for a doctor to give you his/her mobile phone, he would literally always answer the phone. His advice throughout the entire process was always easy to understand and he would spend a considerable amount of time explaining each step, making us feel comfortable with what we were getting ourselves into. Last, but certainly not least, a big “thank you” to the Beyond IVF nursing and front office staff, who took great care of us right from our first consultation until my eventual pregnancy.