pregnancy

Lite IVF: After four miscarriages, Julie and Cameron pursued a different IVF option.

Julie and Cameron Muir know what it means to try for a baby. At close to 40 years old and after experiencing four heartbreaking miscarriages, they were questioning how much more they could take.

Julie met Cameron whilst backpacking in Ecuador in 2007. She relocated from her native Ireland to Australia, to start a new life with him.

“We married in 2009 and right from the start we were not sure how we felt about having children,” says celebrant Julie.

“By the time we decided to give it a try, we were in our mid-thirties. It took us a long time to conceive initially and the first miscarriage came as a huge shock.

“Since then there has been four years and three more miscarriages.

“It has been a difficult and at times isolating journey. I thought my grief would be linear but it is very up and down. Thankfully, we have each other as well as a network of supportive family and friends.”

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After being told her miscarriages were the result of ‘undiagnosed infertility’ Julie felt frustrated.

“In November 2018 after our third devastating miscarriage, we saw a fertility specialist who suggested we consider IVF.

“We were overwhelmed by the thought of the cost but our doctor suggested Lite IVF as a more affordable option that we had never heard of.”

Clinical Director of Hunter IVF, Dr Andrew Hedges explains the reasons behind the introduction of the Lite IVF option.

“I know that for many people, standard IVF is too expensive and this is upsetting.

“My colleagues and I are passionate about helping patients to have a family, regardless of their financial situation, so it is wonderful to be able to offer Lite IVF,” Dr Hedges says.

“At Hunter IVF we offer Lite and standard IVF services, so some patients have a choice as to which path they choose and they can transfer across. Success rates for both services are excellent, with the newer Lite approaching standard IVF success rates.

“Lite IVF is not suitable for everyone however and some eligibility criteria applies. This includes the age and weight of the woman and whether or not she has any complex fertility conditions. We also cannot offer the Lite service if patients require pre-implantation genetic testing, donor eggs, sperm or a surrogate.”

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As Julie and Cameron met the criteria, they decided to go ahead with Hunter Lite IVF.

“One of the ways Lite IVF works is that appointments are only given at certain times of the day,” Julie says.

“I am lucky that I am self-employed and so all the appointments, blood tests and frequent scans can fit into my week, but it wouldn’t necessarily work for everyone.”

Other differences between Lite IVF and standard IVF include that the cycles are nurse managed and that a lower number of eggs are harvested.

“As there are fewer eggs to collect, the procedure is done without anaesthetic and removes the need for day hospital admission. Patients still see the same experienced specialists but on a rotational basis – all reasons why Lite IVF is more affordable,” Dr Hedges says.

After a "third devastating miscarriage" in 4 years, Julia and Cameron turned to IVF Lite.
“It has been a difficult and at times isolating journey. I thought my grief would be linear but it is very up and down," says Julie.

Julie and Cameron began their first round of Lite IVF in June this year.

“I felt really positive as we embarked on our first cycle, but there was so much to remember with all the drugs to take at different times. I found the process confusing and I didn’t always know what to ask the nurses,” Julie says.

“On one occasion I messed up my injections, which thankfully did not ruin the cycle, but the stress led to a huge fight between myself and Cameron, which our specialist picked up on.

“She told us how important it is to stay strong and united for couples during what can be a highly emotional and stressful time.”

The day of Julie’s first egg collection also happened to be her 39th birthday.

“As partners are not allowed to come along for the egg collection in Lite IVF, I was in a waiting room with two other women making nervous small talk.

“When it came to my turn, they only managed to retrieve one egg and I found the collection process much more painful than I expected.

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“I left feeling physically sore but mentally positive it would work. Looking back now, perhaps I was naïve.”

Up to that point, Julie says she did everything she was told by her specialist. She had given up alcohol and sugar and Cameron had not been drinking for five months.

“I was regularly seeing a psychologist, acupuncturist, physiotherapist and also doing yoga and meditation. I was so desperate for it to work that I had assembled a super holistic support team!

“When the clinic called on the afternoon of my birthday to tell me that the egg was not viable, I was devastated.

“It was a bitter pill to swallow and the loss of hope felt like I had experienced yet another miscarriage.”

Julie and Cameron took some time to heal from the bad news, but they remain positive about the future.

“Originally we said if we couldn’t fall pregnant naturally we wouldn’t go down the path of IVF – but we did. We have committed to giving it a couple more tries, with our second round due to start in August.

“We have also discussed other options including adoption and full IVF, but we have physical, emotional and mental limitations to consider.

“I am realistic but hopeful that Lite IVF will work for us and if it doesn’t – we will be okay.

“Our lives are already busy, happy and filled with love; whether or not we end up having children of our own. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.”

To find out more about fertility options in your area, book an appointment with your GP.

Visit IVF Australia for more information about Lite IVF.

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