Lynn Colliar, Global TV weekend news anchor, was 39 when she met Mr. Right--her now husband Glenn Ennis. Knowing that 39 was “not prime fertility time” Lynn and Glenn started trying to have a family right away. After some months with no success they turned to Dr Albert Yuzpe, co-director of one of Canada’s largest fertility clinics, Olive Fertility Centre.
Infertility in Canada has nearly doubled in the last two decades, affecting more than 1 in 6 couples according to a recent study co–authored by Dr. Yuzpe.
But while infertility rates are rising (in part due to the fact that women are starting their families later) fertility treatments are getting much more effective. “Since the first IVF baby was born in 1978, we’ve seen IVF pregnancy rates increase from 10% to over 60%.” says Dr Yuzpe. “And with new technology that helps identify the most genetically healthy embryos, these rates are getting higher.”
Dr Yuzpe was very positive about Lynn’s chances of having a baby. He discussed all their options and the couple decided to go straight to IVF (in vitro fertilization) as that would give them the best chance of conceiving. IVF involves removing a woman’s eggs, fertilizing them in a lab, and then placing them back in the woman’s uterus.
“I remember walking out feeling hopeful - but also a little angry that we had to go through this when it seemed everyone else just "got pregnant," says Lynn.” It turns out that's not so true. In fact, we have met more people who have needed help getting pregnant than people who managed to get pregnant on their own. It’s just that no one talks about it!"
After going through weeks of injecting hormones in preparation for her IVF Lynn was ecstatic to discover that she got pregnant the first time.
“We told family and friends. We celebrated. We were basically 2 weeks pregnant and I signed up for daily baby updates on websites, started planning the nursery, had names picked. We knew our due date (another bonus of IVF). Then I miscarried. It was devastating.” says Lynn.
The biggest reason for IVF failure and miscarriage, which is much more common in women over 40, is an embryo which has the wrong number of chromosomes. These embryos either:
• Fail to implant
• Lead to miscarriage
• Result in a child with genetic problem (e.g. Downs syndrome)
According to Dr Yuzpe, “One of the most exciting advances in IVF treatment is a new test called Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening (CCS). This test allows us to analyze, select and transfer only embryos with healthy chromosomes back into the mother’s uterus.”
CCS results in higher pregnancy rates – about 75% per transfer regardless of age (if there is a healthy embryo available) and a reduction in the miscarriage rate to approximately 5%. CCS virtually eliminates the risk of having a child with an abnormal number of chromosomes
CCS was not available a few years ago when Lynn was going through IVF and after searching for answers about "what happened", "what did I do wrong? her biggest question was should she try again.
IVF is invasive, overwhelming and expensive and there is no sure outcome, but Lynn and Glenn decided to give it one more shot. They were successful but this time they told no one and held their breath until the 6 week ultra sound. It was good news. There was a flicker of a heartbeat. Teagan was there.
As part of Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (May 25), Lynn will be sharing her story and moderating an interactive discussion on the latest advances in fertility treatment and natural ways to enhance your fertility with Dr Yuzpe and Dr Lorne Brown.
Monday May 26th | 6:30 pm to 8 pm
Surrey City Centre Library Rm 120
10350 University Drive
Wednesday May 28th | 7 pm to 8:30 pm
UBC Robson Square (with Lynn Colliar),
800 Robson Street