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Just one healthy embryo can be enough

Posted on 23.2.15

With two years’ infertility, prostate cancer, and finally a miscarried pregnancy, the odds seemed stacked against Victoria and Pete ever having a child. But embryo analysis finally produced one good healthy embryo.

“My husband Pete and I met six years ago and until that point my maternal instinct hadn’t kicked in. But all that was about to change after we’d been together for two years and found out that Pete had prostate cancer.

We’d been trying to conceive naturally for a number of months without success, but now our only hope of conceiving would be through IVF. We were advised to freeze sperm in advance of Pete’s prostate removal and we turned to the Bridge Centre for help in January 2011.

Our first cycle was in July and in August we were delighted with a positive result. It really was unbelievable when we saw the little heartbeat on the screen at our seven-week viability scan. However, at my 12-week scan we were devastated to find there was no heartbeat.

Many miscarriages are due to some form of chromosome abnormality, but that was little comfort when we’d just lost our baby. However, following a consultation with both our consultant Michael Summers, and genetics counsellor, Karen Sage, we decided to include preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in our next cycle to check the embryo’s chromosomes. 

Many miscarriages are due to some form of chromosome abnormality, but that was little comfort when we’d just lost our baby.

It’s expensive but it saved us the heartache of another miscarriage and we’d be safe in the knowledge that any embryos transferred were ‘normal’ and stood a fighting chance.

In February 2012 we had another IVF cycle, but this time with PGD. We were all shocked to find out that all six eggs collected were abnormal. But we agreed to have further tests on four of the six embryos which were still growing and had reached day five blastocysts. The embryos were frozen pending the results and we were in for another surprise – one of the four had now come back as normal! Apparently, there is a 10% chance of this self-correction.

The next step was to use this ‘normal’ embryo at a later date during a frozen embryo transfer cycle. This began in April 2012, but sadly this transfer was also unsuccessful and we were back to square one!

A new year began with a fresh IVF cycle in 2013. Out of eleven eggs that were collected, only five were suitable for testing and out of these only one was chromosomally normal.

I cannot explain the joy and relief we felt – to get one normal embryo.

I cannot explain the joy and relief we felt – to get one normal embryo. Although the lining of my uterus was ‘borderline’, we agreed to go ahead with the embryo transfer. Mr Summers told us we had an excellent hatching blastocyst and watching it on the screen being transferred was magical.

Time slowed down over the next 10 days until finally, at the end of January, the blood test gave us the news that we had been waiting for – I was pregnant!

We had an early viability scan at six weeks and, although usually too early to see the heartbeat, we saw it beating away. We had additional scans privately at the London Ultrasound Centre for reassurance that everything was progressing well. And at 14 weeks we found out we were having a little boy.

Louis James Henderson was born at 10.42am on September 26, 2013 weighing 7lbs 1oz – it was the happiest day of our lives. We want to thank everyone at the Bridge Centre and London Ultrasound Centre for making our dreams a reality."

If you would like more information about PGD treatments at the Bridge please call us on 020 3819 3282 or email 

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Posted on 9.2.15

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