Lara & Ollie’s Guest List: Infertility and IVF.


Lesley + Anna = makers of gorgeous jewels and great writers too

Lesley and Anna are the founders of Lara & Ollie, makers of the most gorgeous teeth jewellery going (have a look here). Prior to this venture they both under went several rounds of  IVF on their journey to becoming parents.

When they offered to share a Guest List on their experience of infertility and IVF I was humbled but also overjoyed. Thats sounds awful doesn’t it?  IVF is such a hidden subject,  one that leaves couples struggling on their own and friends struggling to know what to say.  Pieces like this can really help change that. Thank you ladies for your time and honesty x

You spend your 20s trying not to get pregnant. The thought can be utterly terrifying, whether you’re in a relationship or single. You have a ‘right age’ in your head of when you’ll have your family and assume that’s when it’ll happen. So when it doesn’t go to plan – in fact the complete opposite – you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus and your ‘right’ to have a baby has been whipped from under your feet. The prospect of not having your own biological children, or in fact not having kids at all, is something you never ever considered.

So how do you cope? What the bloody hell do you do? Having both faced infertility (Anna – unexplained / Lesley – 4 failed pregnancies, followed by diagnosis of early menopause) and having both been through IVF (Anna – 3 rounds for Lara, 1 round for imminent bump / Lesley – 2 rounds and egg donation for Ollie) here’s our ‘list’ with a few things we’ve learnt and hopefully some support we want to pass on to anyone facing what we’ve faced:

Some practical thoughts:

  • Don’t panic. However old you are or whatever your situation

  • Don’t go at it alone – talk. Your partner will be feeling as disheartened as you but might just show it differently – and don’t be angry at him/her for that. Whilst it’s not their body that’s yearning, they want it just as much. And don’t forget you’re a partnership, you’re in this together and you’re gonna need each other’s strength and support on this journey – particularly when you become parents!

  • Take the bull by the horns. You feel so helpless and heartbroken every time you get your period or the stick says negative. Go to your doctor. If they don’t listen/aren’t empathetic or don’t do anything, find another

  • Chase, call, email and hound for appointments, results and answers – makes you feel like you’re doing something

  • It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by it all. There are lots of tests, lots of acronyms, lots of things that don’t make sense and are well beyond your biology GCSE. But ask questions, write a list before you go and see doctors, nurses, consultants, whomever they may be. And take notes in there – there’s often too much to take in during one appointment

  • If there is a diagnosed problem, again don’t panic. Push for appointments to talk to a specialist – are there more tests, what are your options…

  • If your results are clear it’s hard not to be disheartened – whilst you don’t want there to be anything wrong, you feel like you need a reason for not getting pregnant

  • Find out what’s offered for free on the NHS, what isn’t and how much things might cost. The minute you walk through the door of a fertility clinic you’re paying, so factor that into the decision making

  • Your gut is normally right so make sure you feel comfortable and happy with the consultants around you. If you’re not happy with the care you’re being given or the route they’re recommending ask to change. This is your health and your dream!

  • Be careful with Google – use sites that offer factual information. Whilst it’s difficult not to, we’d really advise not reading forums. However great they might be for certain things it can all be a bit too much and every person going through infertility experiences something different and you can find yourself clutching at straws from people’s stories

  • Instead, if you feel comfortable doing so, talk to a friend, or friend of a friend or a complete stranger who’s been through similar, and ideally has had a positive result and experience. You never know they may offer to help e.g. egg donation, surrogacy etc?!

  • Don’t dismiss natural routes and remedies. They’re not for everyone but if nothing else things like acupuncture, reflexology and mediation can be great for just relaxing your body and mind. You’ll find this journey so all-consuming that you’ll forget to actually look after yourself

  • If treatment fails allow yourself to fall apart – you need to grieve. But don’t give up, talk to your consultants about what happened, your options and go from there. Don’t rush into a decision and allow some healing time. You need to be both physically, mentally and emotionally strong to go into something again, both of you

  • But don’t listen. You’ll hear lots of… ‘I know someone who… tried for 2 years and then went on holiday/ relaxed/got pissed/IVF was easy/got pregnant immediately the second time’. It’s lovely that people are being supportive and trying to be positive but sometimes at a low moment that’s like a punch in the face. It’s not you. And it doesn’t help. But if you’ve not been through it you don’t know, so don’t be angry, just take a deep breath, be strong and try to move on!

  • Be mentally and emotionally prepared for the ‘so when are you going to have a baby?’ question, or ‘ooohh not drinking eh… (when you’re not even frikkin pregnant). Take a deep breath and either be bold and tell the truth or bullshit!!

  • Don’t feel guilty for being a green eyed monster every time you see a pregnant person, you’re normal. And you’ll feel immense rage when you see a young girl pregnant puffing a fag, drinking a can of cider with 3 coke swilling toddlers in tow!

  • And you’ll most certainly have the pain of hearing pregnancy/baby news from friends and family. Whilst you’ll feel like you don’t want to see or speak to them try and be happy for them. Then allow yourself to feel devastated. But don’t let the situation drive you apart and have the courage to say you love them dearly but need a bit of space. And when the day comes for you, you’ll want/ need all the help, support and love from these people so don’t drive them away

  • Don’t always assume that being away or not busy helps, work could act as a brilliant distraction

  • And when it does happen and you’re pregnant it’s bloody hard not to panic. And it’s bloody hard to ‘just relax’! Take time to celebrate but try as hard as possible to just take every day as it comes, don’t do anything silly, but don’t do anything different either!

  • Don’t give up on your dream of having a family – and that is ultimately what this is about. It will happen one way or another. It may not be as conventional or natural or romantic as some. But like childbirth, once you’re holding that precious little person in your arms, whether they’re natural, IVF, egg donor, sperm donor, adopted or whatever, your journey will be worth it. You’ll never forget it but the pain and heartache will be softened.



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  • Reply Joanne October 16, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Amazing. I wish I had seen this list 6 years ago when I first started IVF. Its such a taboo subject. No-one I knew had been through it so the question why me? was forever in my head. I hope this helps other women about to embark on the tough journey xx

  • Reply Mary Smith November 7, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes! Hopefully someday if I get pregnant, I am going to purchase one of their necklaces. I struggled with fertility issues for years. It was a hard road filled with doubt and self-loathing. All we wanted was a baby and we tried for years to have one. I tried every medical and old wives tale I could think of to try and get pregnant. I even slept on red sheets to promote fertility. It was starting to get crazy and I was overwhelmed. My husband found out about California Fertility Partners through a good friend. I was skeptical because I thought we had tried everything but I was wrong. We worked with Dr. Guy Ringler He made me feel so comfortable. My first IVF transfer at the clinic is coming up and Dr. Ringler has made us feel so confident about the process. We are crossing our fingers that it will be successful!

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