BEFORE GABRIELA - 1 failed IVF cycle

I distinctly remember my General Practitioner saying at my general appointments, “Don’t wait too long to start your family.” I was about 35 then, and it did not even cross our minds that we would have any problems falling pregnant. After this happened a few times, we felt ready, and I went off the pill. We tried to conceive naturally on and off for around two years when we thought to speak to my GP about it.

She did some basic blood tests, which all came back normal, and aside from taking Thyroxine for my thyroid, we thought we were a relatively ‘healthy’ couple. But since we were not getting pregnant, we were referred to a fertility specialist in 2016 as the next step. They proceeded with more blood work and then an unsuccessful monitoring cycle.

From all this, we were told that we had ‘unexplained infertility’ and that, due to our age, we needed to move quickly to an IVF cycle as the next step.

This was early 2017, and I recall sitting in the fertility specialist’s office feeling surprised and uncomfortable. I felt like the smallest thing in that giant room, and I was the problem since no one was saying anything different.

IVF was a new concept for us, and looking back, we simply did not know any better or that we should question being pushed into it so quickly.

We followed the advice of our medical practitioners and jumped straight into IVF. On our first cycle, we ended up with one day-5 blastocyst, and we were hopeful that this was it and we would have our baby soon. Sadly, the cycle resulted in a BFN (big fat negative). We were immediately told to prepare for another round of IVF as it was all “a numbers game.”

At this point, we were both upset after trusting in the process and giving it our all. I remember feeling a strong personal failure, reiterated by my specialist’s comment when he asked me, ‘Why did you wait so long to start your family? I felt like I had been successful in every other part of my life—property, career, marriage—yet I was failing terribly in this area, and regret and doubt filled my daily thoughts.



At the same time, our good friends were going through many rounds of IVF, and while we did not talk about it much back then, I noticed my friend had liked a page about a natural fertility program with a woman, Gabriela Rosa. I was intrigued. I read about it, watched a video with Gabriela, and thought, “I want to know more.” So much of what she was speaking about had resonated with exactly where we were in our fertility journey.

I mentioned it to my partner, Max, and signed up for the next round of the introductory online program to learn more. The most valuable part of this program was listening and learning more about fertility in general. Our minds were blown, and we could not figure out why, after all of our meetings with practitioners, blood work, and IVF cycles, this was our FIRST TIME hearing any of this information. 

Our minds were opened to thinking not only about the various aspects impacting fertility in general, but it also started us thinking deeper about our particular situation and asking if we were missing anything that had not been considered. We concluded that there was almost certainly more that could be done than just relying on IVF drugs and playing a numbers game.

We were 100% sure that joining The Fertility Breakthrough Program™ was the right thing to pursue. It called to me, and after an unsuccessful IVF cycle, we wanted to optimize the chances of our next IVF cycle and take more of an active role in it rather than feeling like a passenger on our journey.

I was overwhelmed at the start, but far outweighing this was the relief I felt knowing that we would have support and guidance through an extremely focused and thorough program that supported many other fertility patients worldwide.

We were thoroughly assessed during the application and onboarding process, and many tests were conducted. They identified tweaks we needed to make through supplementation, altering my thyroid meds, or personal growth in certain areas. I loved this part of the program as we were constantly stepping forward by ticking things off and ruling out many maybes that still needed to be addressed by our medical advisors.

“GSD”—Get Stuff Done—is one of Gabriela’s sayings that has always stuck with me because, even now, it still reminds me that you must consistently put in the work to reach the desired result. I remember we were in full swing GSD and went to dinner with our friends. They commented on how healthy and positive we looked, and we told them we had started a program and were feeling great. That night, the decision to not eat the bread and not drink the wine and seek alternatives came easy as we could see that path ahead of us for the first time in a long time.

We made so many changes around the home for the better. We changed the types of hygiene products we used and got rid of aerosols, we removed products high in chemicals, and we were overall just more conscious, not only of what we were eating, but what we were exposing our bodies to, such as different forms of radiation, cleaning products, soaps, and deodorants. We found some great alternative products—Max loves his new shaving cream and deodorant—and we know we are all the healthier for removing the toxic substances that have always been around us.

Our lead practitioner was in parallel during our preparation, supporting us in devising the most effective strategy to navigate our road ahead. A light bulb moment for me was understanding that my tubes had not been checked this whole time – why not?! I finally did not feel alone in this process any longer and felt like we truly had advocated for our dream and health.

We planned to embryo bank, then have a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy to assess my tubes and uterine lining all at the same time ahead of transferring any valuable frozen embryos. Before the program, we had 4 eggs collected, 1 fertilized, and 1 transferred, resulting in a BFN.

After being on the program, we collected 4 eggs, of which 2 fertilized and 2 became top-grade frozen embryos (a 50% improvement for us).

The surgery confirmed small amounts of endometriosis, my tubes were functionally blocked, and they identified adhesions that needed further investigation. We subsequently planned surgery to transfer 1 frozen embryo to maximize the uterine lining. Over those four months, we maintained our supplements and healthy practices and focused on where we needed to get to, and in March 2018, we got our BFP (big fat positive)—the first ever!

We had a few more hurdles to overcome in the pregnancy, but as our practitioners always reminded us when we struggled, we have been 100% successful in overcoming our challenges to date. And sure enough, our Gabriela baby, Jeannie, was born in November 2018. Jeannie is a joy to us, even more so in how hard we worked to welcome her to the world.

We would not have our sweet girl if we had not encountered Gabriela and her amazing program and team. Who knows how many dead ends we would have continued to pursue, how many right questions would have continued to go unanswered, and how many more rounds of IVF we would have done with the same results? The time we saved from all of the strategizing is priceless.

Nine months into having Jeannie, my mind soon started on baby no.2. I felt like I knew enough to implement the program’s main principles myself and begin the preparation period again. However, I was too eager and rushed into another frozen transfer with our remaining frozen embryo.

I think I just assumed that it would all be the same again, and we would soon have our second baby, and our family would be complete. However, this was not meant to be yet, and the transfer resulted in a BFN. This was a devastating moment, and my rock bottom—the reality of future IVF cycles was overwhelming. It was a grief I had not prepared myself for, and yet I felt so guilty looking at my young baby in my arms as we were so grateful to have her.

The thought of re-joining Gabriela’s program had entered my mind, but I was not yet ready to start the hard work over again. We decided we needed a change and had an initial appointment at another clinic. Still healing from our BFN, we rushed into another IVF cycle at the new clinic. We had 1 blastocyst, which we transferred fresh, and we were gutted to experience another BFN, our third.

That night after getting the news, I remember the sadness, grief, and fear that maybe a second baby was not in our cards. At that moment, we decided to rejoin the program and give ourselves the best chance of having a second baby.

On the back of a failed IVF cycle and in between feeling complete relief to be back on board with Gabriela’s team and finalizing our new supplement list, I went for a scan to rule out any uterine issues with my cesarean scar. There, I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant naturally—a complete surprise!

I was in utter shock and did not believe the sonographer. I told her I better get a blood test, and she laughed at me, saying she could see the fetus on the screen. I remember thinking that this is physically impossible as my tubes are blocked, and it has never been able to happen before. Sadly, this baby was not meant to join our family, and we had a miscarriage at 8 weeks. This all felt very cruel, and we worked through our grief.

Our team supported us in devising a revised strategy to check my tubes’ status and have them flushed. COVID delayed this part of the plan, but I did the procedure quickly, and both tubes were clear! As part of our plan, we tried naturally for three months before returning to IVF. For this cycle, we had 4 eggs collected, 3 fertilized, 1 transferred, and 1 frozen—a great result 3 years on from our best cycle to date.

This fresh transfer unfortunately ended in a chemical pregnancy, and we PGS tested the remaining embryo to find it was abnormal, which was a double blow for us. Since that cycle, we have tweaked our supplements, had robust conversations with our specialists, and are on track for another IVF cycle. We remain hopeful and determined to have a sibling for Jeannie.

We would have given up long ago without Gabriela and her team. We never would have known what questions to ask our medical team and would not be monitoring the progress of our blood and other particulars so closely. Max and I are incredibly grateful for our gorgeous Jeannie and our preparations for baby number two, which we know gives us the best chance. 

But beyond that, we could never have guessed how much the program would enrich our lives and help us live without regrets!