Mum of twins shares her IVF journey as part of World IVF Day

IVF treatment changed Joanne McKenna’s life.

She and her partner had been together for years and were unable to have children when they were referred to a gynaecologist in the late 1990s.

Joanne, who lives in Sutton, was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, which can affect fertility, and after countless operations to check her fallopian tubes were functioning correctly and treatment to ‘kick start’ her egg production, she was put on the IVF waiting list.

Several years and numerous daily injections later, Joanne was told they had 13 embryos and two were implanted.

Nine months later, Katie and Sophie were born via C-section – the happiest day of Joanne’s life.

Joanne said: “I had the first two embryos implanted and felt incredibly guilty that the procedure had worked first time.

“I know that many couples try for years and years, going through endless rounds of IVF and aren’t lucky enough to have a baby.

“My IVF journey was textbook – every hurdle I faced, I managed to overcome, and then the girls were born via a planned C-section.”

Joanne shared her IVF story with us to mark World IVF Day, which is celebrated on July 25 each year in honour of Louise Brown, who was the first baby born through IVF on July 25, 1978.

Joanne (centre) with Katie (left) and Sophie celebrating the girls’ 18th birthday

When Katie and Sophie were born on February 21, 2003, there were still 11 embryos, which Liverpool Women’s Hospital said they would freeze for five years, in case the couple wanted further rounds of IVF.

The embryos could also have been donated to other couples trying for a baby, given up for medical research or destroyed.

Joanne said: “I was always desperate to be a mum and after having twins I knew that I didn’t want any more children.

“I wanted to donate the embryos to other couples in the hope they’d be successful and IVF would work.

“IVF changed my life – it was meant to be – and I wanted to give that opportunity to someone else.”
The embryos were given to three different couples and a baby girl was born as a result.

Joanne said: “After a few years, I rang the hospital and was told that a baby had been born using our embryos and then I was told it was a girl.

“When she’d old enough and if her parents tell her the full story of how she was conceived, she will be able to contact us and meet Katie and Sophie.”

Baby News

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