Mother speaks of fertility heartbreak as she urges would-be parents to seek help sooner
- Credit: Bourn Hall
'I wasn't on social media but whenever I went out babies were everywhere.'
Those were the words of Keeley Brigland from Gorleston, who waited four painful years before seeking help for her fertility issues.
Now, she is speaking out ahead of Fertility Awareness Week next week to urge more people to get advice sooner.
'I found it very difficult,' said Mrs Brigland, 34. 'I would go to work and then go home and hide. My home was my haven. I would make excuses not to meet up with my friends and I just retreated in to myself and ended up being on antidepressants for a while.'
Mrs Brigland suffered periods so heavy as a teenager that she would be physically sick. And she knew her mother, who had also suffered with heavy periods, had struggled to get pregnant and did not have another child after Mrs Brigland.
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Along with husband Steven, a joiner, she was finally spurred on to make the first approach to her GP when friends all started having children.
'No definitive reason was found and so we were told that we had 'unexplained infertility',' Mrs Brigland said.
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But they were eligible for NHS-funded fertility treatment and were treated at Bourn Hall Clinic in Wymondham
Mrs Brigland fell pregnant at the second attempt. They had IVF using a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) which involves individually injecting a sperm in to each of a woman's harvested eggs in the laboratory before embryo transfer.
'I will never ever forget the day that I found out that I was pregnant,' Mrs Brigland said.
After such a long wait Mrs Brigland, a buyer for a fire protection products manufacturer, was nervous throughout her pregnancy.
'I was very cautious,' she said. 'Every scan was like a little hurdle. When we went for the five-week scan at Bourn Hall and saw the tiny, tiny heartbeat it was magical, we both cried.'
Daughter Emmy was born on April 20 this year.
'I would advise anyone struggling to conceive not to be embarrassed and to seek help sooner rather than later,' she said.
'I was scared initially of making that first step and going to the doctors because I was worried that we were going to be told that we couldn't have children. Now I wish we had sought help sooner.'