Ok, let's start with the basics.

Heterosexual couple
Jane, female, 41
fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis and Ulcerative Colitis
Partner, male, 41, semen abnormalities, 1% morphology
Current status: Pregnant-successful with second Béa Treatment Kit

First of all, where are you today?

I'm currently 6 weeks pregnant! (at time of call)

So exciting! How did you find out?

I felt a bit unwell going into December, had a funny cold that my husband said I should take Night Nurse for (he’s a pharmacist, which comes in handy). I didn’t want to take anything until I’d done a pregnancy test so I used the last test I had lying around and... it was positive! I was honestly shocked.

(Note from us) There are quite a few diagnoses here, so our GP, Dr. Hannah Allen, is going to weigh in quickly on what it all means... Fibroids: non-cancerous growths that develop in and around the uterus. They don’t usually cause symptoms, and are quite common. Endometriosis: a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other places, such as on the ovaries or fallopian tubes. Adenomyosis: a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus (slightly different to endometriosis). Ulcerative Colitis: a condition where the lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed, causing chronic inflammation in the lower digestive system. Sperm morphology: the size and shape of sperm cells. It is one of the factors used to evaluate male infertility. It’s evaluated as a % of sperm that have a normal size and shape, when viewed under a microscope. Is 1% sperm (semen) morphology bad? No, not necessarily. Normally, we’d look for 4% or greater morphology (i.e., 4% of sperm appear normally sized and shaped under a microscope). Sperm morphology can change in a 90-day period, and is quite responsive to lifestyle changes to support healthy semen production (smoking, drinking, exercise), so we’d usually test again after 90 days to get another measure.’

How was your TTC journey with the NHS?

I’ve been TTC for a few years, and first went to my GP in May 2022. They told me to keep trying, and offered some investigations. That’s when they found the fibroids, but I was told fibroids wouldn’t impact my fertility, and to keep trying. I had to push quite hard to get further investigations, and push to get the fibroids removed. It took years, the investigations were ongoing for a long time.

I’d previously had a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy, so it’s been a really long, hard journey. I felt unsupported, and it was honestly quite upsetting. It was really disappointing to learn that the NHS doesn’t support you after age 35 (in my postcode), so IVF just wasn’t an option for us.

Did you seek private fertility care?

Yes. I finally went to see a private consultant in September 2023, after a long time trying to get surgery on the NHS. I saw 3 private consultants in the space of 3 months. I actually started by going to Spain, as I heard they have better results over there, for cheaper treatment prices. Did you try any fertility supplements? Yes! I made a few dietary and lifestyle changes. My AMH was 1.8 in June 2023, and it went up to 3.2 in November 2023. I think this was because I started taking CoQ10, and I also started acupuncture.

Note from Dr. Hannah: ‘CoenzymeQ10 (CoQ10) is a supplement that can be used to support healthy egg and sperm production. It is an antioxidant produced naturally in the body that helps with cell growth and maintenance.’

How did you learn about dietary and lifestyle changes for fertility?

Honestly, it’s been a long old journey. I've had to do all of my own research, I’ve found out about all the dietary and lifestyle changes for myself. There is so much information out there, and so little support. I found out a lot from Googling things, which can be so confusing.

How did you find out about Béa?

Google! I can’t remember exactly what I searched for, but it came up. I was mostly interested in a cheaper treatment than IVF, and I read about Béa in the Guardian article on the NHS trialing IVF alternatives.

What was using the Béa Treatment like for you?

Honestly? (Béa team: yes!) Quite uncomfortable and quite big. It was a bit disconcerting to see semen left in the cervical cap after I removed it (Béa Team: we totally understand this, it must be really disconcerting. It’s really normal – sperm goes into the uterus, semen doesn’t, so it’s actually a sign that it’s worked if there is some semen in the cap when you remove it!) . I've been tracking my ovulation, and have regular cycles so I usually know when I’m ovulating (I can actually feel it). My husband and I had also tried syringes (he did some research on alternatives), which didn’t work for us.

Is there anything Béa could do better for you?

Yes! I’d have loved more support throughout the journey. (Béa Team: totally agree – we recently launched our Fertility Coaching sessions. We wish we’d done it earlier! You can sign up for the next one here. They’re totally free, anonymous, and a safe space for you to ask anything you want from our lovely Fertility Coach, Sandy.