BEFORE GABRIELA – 3 years TTC, 1 unsuccessful ICSI (missed miscarriage)

Before joining The Fertility Breakthrough Program™, we had been trying to conceive for three years. For two of those three years, we were hopeful of naturally conceiving as we assumed there weren’t any issues with our fertility given that our son was conceived on our honeymoon without any ‘planning.’ 

As time passed, we made yet another assumption that our lack of success was due to the stress of moving interstate, busy life with a small child, running a business, or it simply wasn’t the right time. 

At the two-year mark, we sought advice from our general practitioner, which led to a consultation and testing with an IVF specialist. It was then that we discovered we were contending with male factor infertility. Steve had poor results in motility, morphology, and concentration. 

According to the IVF specialist, this result, coupled with my “funny old cycle” and one fallopian tube, gave us a 0.1% chance of conceiving naturally and that we would require IVF/ICSI and possibly a sperm donor to have another baby.

Upon hearing this news, we felt deflated and bewildered. So many questions swirled in my mind. What is ICSI? What did this all mean? Why is he being so insensitive regarding my cycle? How did the fertility specialist arrive at that percentage? Surely there must be something they/we could do to ‘fix’ the problem? My head was spinning! One of the most recurrent thoughts is how we conceived our son naturally. 

I had an interest in alternative therapies and some knowledge of the benefits of herbs and supplements in optimizing fertility, so I was surprised when the answer to our question “What can we do to improve results?” was simply (with a smirk) “No, there’s nothing you can do.” 

This situation reinforced our belief that bringing life to this world is an absolute privilege and a miracle, and we felt compelled to do all that we could to have the opportunity to welcome another baby into our home. We trusted the advice we were given and launched straight into IVF/ICSI, having our first round a couple of months later.

Steve’s semen analysis showed that he had a count of 2 million, and my AMH and follicle count were sound. Based on this data, the fertility specialist was confident ICSI would be achievable. On the day of egg and sperm collection, we were informed by our IVF specialist and scientist that Steve’s first sample contained no sperm and asked if he could give another sample. This was shocking and distressing! 

This news was devastating, and the questions started to swirl again. How could it drop from 2 million to 0 in a matter of 2 months? Is it something we did or didn’t do? Will we ever be able to have another baby? It was indeed an unforgettable experience. I felt like the room was swallowing me, and the fearful thoughts in my mind muffled their words. We left that day not knowing if they would find viable sperm in the second sample. 

To our complete relief, they did! I had 9 mature eggs collected that day, all with ICSI. We discovered that only 3 had fertilized the following day, and on day 5, we had 1 embryo to transfer. 

Unbelievably, that transfer resulted in a positive pregnancy test. Considering the circumstances that preceded, we were in disbelief and felt very blessed, especially since we found out later in pregnancy that the embryo had split, forming identical twins! Unfortunately, and so devastatingly, this pregnancy ended at 10 weeks as I had a missed miscarriage. 

This was one of the lowest points in my life. The grief was overwhelming, but somehow, I found strength in knowing that we are always presented with situations we can handle and will ultimately grow and learn from.


I was on a path of rediscovery and healing, and this is when I found Gabriela Rosa’s online fertility programs and her educational videos and articles. It is fair to say that we were experiencing a moment of finding a light at the end of the tunnel.

After returning to read about the programs quite a few times before, I eventually thought, well, what have I got to lose? I clicked on the link, listened to the videos, read all the information, and silently participated in the introductory online program. A wealth of knowledge at my fingertips resonated with me, and I felt empowered. 

From the beginning, I had my husband, Steve’s, support and commitment. I felt we were on the path to healing ourselves in body, mind, and spirit. 

At the end of the program, Steve and I were lucky to join Gabriela’s flagship Fertility Breakthrough Program™. I learned from our initial work with Gabriela’s methodology just how beneficial it is to have the support of others. My take-home message was to include people who will support us to achieve our goals and not go at it alone regarding self-diagnosing and treatment.

Once we started with Gabriela and her team, it was apparent just how thorough and holistic the program is. I remember filling in the 50-page questionnaire and comparing the questions in our initial consultation with the IVF specialist. I was amazed at how little the IVF specialist wanted to know about Steve and me as a couple, let alone individually, and how much more testing the program requires. 

Two tests that surprised me the most were the hair sample for heavy metals and urine samples for Iodine. Like I said, thorough! 

I recall feeling a sense of comfort and like a weight had lifted from our shoulders when we joined the program. Having such dedicated, knowledgeable professionals working as a team to assist and guide us throughout each step allowed us to relax and let go of the overthinking that comes with the ‘unknown’ aspect of infertility. 

As time progressed, we learned more and more about our fertility as a couple and individually. This was empowering as we weren’t still in the same pool of information we once had. There were many poignant phrases Gabriela has said over time, and one that has implanted with me is that “you don’t know what you don’t know,” which is so true! 

Taking that leap of faith to delve into things on a deeper level and uncover all that we needed to know led me to realize the full impact of these words. 

Steve and I took that leap of faith wholeheartedly and followed the team’s recommendations to the best of our ability. The Fertility Breakthrough Program™ covered all aspects of life, from emotional healing and couple ‘counseling,’ meal plans with recipes and shopping lists to assessing our home and work environments. It did cover everything.

I found the emotional release sessions most beneficial, especially since I needed to heal my heart and soul a little more since having a miscarriage, and I felt that this step was integral to us being open and prepared for having another baby.

I also really loved the meal plans and delicious recipes. Having a meal plan and shopping list prepared meant I could remove doubts about whether our eating was ‘fertility friendly’ and just enjoy the food. We loved Gabriela’s concept of 10% for the soul regarding food intake. It was encouraging to know we didn’t have to be perfect 100% of the time and that we could still enjoy a treat meal once a week while not undoing all the hard work we were doing to optimize our bodies for a baby. 

We formed a lovely relationship with our primary practitioner, whom we met with regularly. For us, having that pillar of strength who could decipher results and guide us on the next step was invaluable. We could communicate freely and always had any concerns or queries listened to and answered. We looked forward to our meetings with our practitioners so much that we missed them once we left the program. 

We were hopeful to try to conceive naturally, just as we did with our son, and felt optimistic that this could be achieved, but we were open to exploring IVF/ICSI again if needed. Not long into the program, we had further tests to determine if there were any other causes for change in Steve’s semen analysis results. 

We discovered that he also had a small varicocele, which can affect sperm quality but wasn’t large enough to warrant surgery to remove it. After discovering this, we had another semen analysis done to see if the results had changed, especially after completing the 120-day preconception care period. Unfortunately, Steve’s sperm count remained at 0.

I remember collecting the results on paper from our GP, sitting in the car staring at the page in disbelief that it could read, ‘No sperm found.’ Once again, we felt deflated and realized that naturally conceiving was out of our reach. It was another low point, and I entertained the thought that we may not have another baby. How could we with no sperm!? We knew that we didn’t want to use donor sperm, so the reality of not having another baby felt real to us. 

Our practitioner was surprised at the result, given how dedicated to the program we were. Steve and I gave 100% each, and I was so proud of Steve, especially since he LOVED coffee! It was one habit that was difficult to boot, but he did it for himself, us, and our baby. 

We went on to explore options with our practitioner. There was an option for Steve to have a Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) for use for ICSI. We were so happy that there was still hope! We consulted with our IVF specialist, who agreed it would be a viable option, and we planned to have another round of IVF/ICSI. 

Everything looked good regarding blood tests, hormone levels, fertility charts, and, most importantly, psychological readiness for us to start an IVF cycle. We kept our spirits high and imagined only the best outcome while at the same time remaining grounded. It became evident I had an amazing response to the treatment prescribed by our practitioner, as my AMH level had improved, and I produced more follicles on decreased doses of the IVF medication. Our IVF specialist was almost speechless at the results! 

Towards the end of the IVF stimulation cycle, I produced follicles rapidly. I was informed that any embryos would be frozen due to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHS) risk. We were planning for a fresh embryo transfer, so this did cause a little angst, which was quickly alleviated by our practitioner, who explained that frozen embryo transfer is the best option in some cases. Thank goodness for her! To be stressed at that stage felt counter-productive. 

We reached the collection day, and my heart was in my throat. Steve went in first to have his procedure (TESA), and if there were viable sperm present, I would then go through egg retrieval. I waited for an eternity when Steve finally returned, and the nurse called me in to be prepped for theatre. I remember looking at her face, searching for any sign of something being amiss, asking her if everything was okay and if there was sperm. 

She replied, “Yes, plenty!” without any concern. I couldn’t believe it; I was overcome with joy! That day, I had 18 follicles retrieved, 16 mature, and all had ICSI. We learned the following day that 8 had fertilized, and on day 5, we had 5 beautiful embryos, which were all frozen. 

Two months later, we had a frozen embryo transfer, which developed into a pregnancy, and after that year, I gave birth to our gorgeous, healthy baby girl, Poppy! 

During the time between egg collection, frozen embryo transfer, and pregnancy test, I was well supported with caring advice from the whole team. This time can often be a time of anxiety, but I’m happy to say that I had such a loving, supportive experience thanks to my husband and Team Rosa! 

I had a wonderful natural birth, free from postpartum complications. We were blessed to have a happy, healthy baby, Mum, and Dad! I truly believe that having our Poppy was made possible with the knowledge, love, and guidance imparted to us throughout Gabriela’s Fertility Breakthrough Program™

Steve and I are truly thankful to Gabriela and the amazing team, and we will forever hold them in our hearts.