‘I wanted to find love for the right reasons. Freezing my eggs freed me up to make the right choices’

Kathryn Leslie was 35, single and based in New York when she decided to preserve her fertility. The 38-year-old Limerick native is now engaged and living in Zurich

As told to Katie Byrne,  Irish Independent, November 24 2020


“I’ve always known that I wanted my own family someday. When I was growing up in Limerick, my mam was a childminder. She minded other people’s kids from the village so there were always babies and children around our house.

When I was older, I started working in children’s rights and specifically on child protection policy and advocacy. I lived in Tanzania for five years, working for UNICEF, the UN’s children’s agency. When I was 30, I moved to New York to work at UN headquarters.

I was young, free and single, living the life with my friends. I was out three or four nights a week with the girls, going on dates and having a blast.

New York is such a cool city but I never saw myself living there long-term. When you work for the UN system, you tend to move around the world a lot. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep doing that. After five years, I wanted to get a new job, a new challenge, preferably in Europe, to be closer to my family in Ireland.

I was also conscious that I hadn’t met anyone yet. After five years in Manhattan, I was admittedly getting fed up of big city life, and dating. When I was living in Tanzania, I had met someone but he died in an accident early in our relationship when I was 29. And even though I was dating in New York, I never met anyone else that I connected with.

At 35, I was really looking for a change and fresh start closer to home. Randomly, at the age of 35, I also started getting all of these targeted ads on Facebook and by email, like ‘Have you thought about egg freezing?’. They were sent in a way as if to say there was something all of a sudden “wrong” with me. Then I was chatting to my sister and she had two kids through the assistance of the Waterstone Clinic in Cork. She had a great experience with them so when I was home in Ireland for Christmas 2017, I made an enquiry about egg freezing.

In New York, one round of egg freezing costs around €20,000 — and my American health insurance didn’t cover it. There was no way I was paying that amount of money and I also didn’t want to have my potential eggs in America if I wasn’t going to be living there.

That initial enquiry with the Waterstone Clinic really kick-started the process. The next time I was home in Ireland, I went for a fertility check. The clinic told me I was fit and healthy and said it was better to do it now than later. Then they said ‘here’s your plan’ and I was thinking ‘the plan?’. I didn’t expect them to produce an operational masterplan. It was a bit overwhelming.

I learned that the process of having your eggs frozen is actually quite time- intensive and logistical. You have to get regular scans and start the hormone injections on the third day of your cycle and take the injections at the same time every evening for up to 10 days. I was thinking, ‘how the hell am I going to manage all of this?’

It was crazy, but the nurses and staff were so helpful — I really felt professionally supported and not just in a clinical way, but in a caring way too. The monitoring of the follicle growth was happening in New York and then, when the follicles were of a certain size, I would book a flight to come back to Ireland for what they call the ‘trigger shot’ and then have the procedure.

All the while I was getting scans at a gynaecologist in New York on my lunch breaks, and they were sending the info back to the Waterstone Clinic.

There was even one evening when I was going from the office in New York to the airport and I had to inject myself on the airport bus because you have to take them at the same time every day. I could see people looking at me thinking, what is your one up to?

Given the over and back between New York-Cork-New York, the whole process of two rounds took about five months from the initial enquiry to the final procedure and we got 42 eggs in total.

Initial storage costs were included in the price for one year, and after that you can renew storage for blocks of five years.

Overall, I found it to be a very empowering and reassuring thing to do. It was a relief — and it really helped me make the decisions I needed to make that year with ease and it relaxed me in terms of dating.

There was so much going on between leaving New York, moving jobs and not having met the right partner. So I just thought, do you know what, I’m going to take this one thing — this ticking time bomb — and give myself some reassurance and insurance for the future.

Like everybody, I wanted to find love for all the right reasons. And I didn’t want the baby-making thing to be a driving factor.

Freezing my eggs freed me up in many ways to make the right choices. You can’t control whatever happens in the future but the one thing you can control is putting your eggs — your fertility — on ice.

I left New York in December 2018 and moved to Zurich a month later for a new job as head of safeguarding and child protection at FIFA.

A month after moving to Zurich, I met Mathias. I didn’t know anyone when I arrived and, before shutting down my Tinder account, I decided to give it one last swipe. It was his first time using Tinder. I was his first match and his first date.

My decision to freeze my eggs actually came up on our first date. We were in a bar in Zurich, tearing into the cocktails. Five cocktails later — maybe six — we started talking about wider life issues and it somehow came up.

He was actually very impressed. He told me later that it was one of the things that made him become more attracted to me.

Mathias and I got engaged six months after our first date and starting a family is very much on the cards. We were supposed to get married this month, but we had to postpone it because of Covid.

When I decided to have my eggs frozen, a few friends messaged me to tell me that they were thinking about it but they weren’t sure. I told them to go for it. If it’s crossed your mind, I said to them, it’s crossed your mind for a reason.

If egg freezing helps you live your best life and not have worries or stress about your fertility or getting older; if it helps you make the right decisions for the right reasons, then my advice is to just go for it.”



Fertility Services to Continue Throughout Level 5

As appeared in the Irish Examiner on 10 November, by Paul Hosford


Fertility services will run for the entirety of Level 5 restrictions, with an overhaul of the system planned in the coming years.

Services shut down in March at the beginning of the pandemic and many did not reopen until June, causing severe interruption to the family plans of thousands.

Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said an overhaul of the system was confirmed to him by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly in a Parliamentary Question.
He said he had received calls from constituents who were worried that their family plans would be impacted.

“My office has received correspondence from so many prospective parents worried that this latest round of Covid restrictions will rob them of their last chance to have children.

“This is because fertility services were largely suspended during the first round of Covid-19 restrictions in March, to the detriment of so many people throughout the country.”

The system will be rolled out in a phased manner over the coming years.

“A three-stage system will be introduced, beginning with primary care in GPs, moving into Regional Fertility Hubs and extending to IVF and other treatments if necessary.”

Mary McAuliffe, the Head of Clinical Services at the Waterstone clinic in Cork said that the protection of the services is vital.

It’s huge. It takes people a lot to think that they’re going to come to a fertility service and it is very time-sensitive. Our patients are really sensitive that it’s time-sensitive, so the closure put a lot of worry on people. It’s fantastic that we’re proceeding with the confirmation that we can be open. People deserve that care and attention.”

Deirdre Gorman, the Head of Nursing with Sims IVF said that while the initial closures were made out of an abundance of caution, they were “traumatising” for prospective parents.

“Every month counts when it comes to your fertility so even a few weeks ago when there was a threat of a lockdown, our phones were hopping with people worried we would close.”

Both clinics say they used the closure to implement rigorous safety regimes for patients.

One in six couples in Ireland struggles to conceive within one year and up to 6,000 people undergo fertility treatment every year.


Why Have Your Fertility Tested?

Knowledge is Power

Martina Kelly, Fertility Nurse Specialist, Waterstone Clinic Kildare


One in six couples have difficulties conceiving, so fertility testing can give couples reassurance and choices. Knowing your fertility status is very important information for future family planning.

The first question we are often asked is when should you go to a fertility clinic?  You can have a fertility check whether or not you are trying for a baby. If you are trying for a baby, the general advice depends on your age. If you are over 35, it’s important to see a specialist if you have been trying for 6 months, and if you are under 35, see a specialist after a year. If you’re not actively trying for a baby, you can have a fertility check at any time. The information from the check will let you know where you stand and help you make decisions, such as considering preserving your fertility.

Before you meet with a doctor, you and your partner will have some tests so you can get the most out of your consultation. The male partner will have a simple semen analysis test and the female will have a number of blood tests, to help us measure ovarian reserve,  which will provide information regarding your ability to conceive.

One of the tests that can give us a good sense of your fertility timeline, is the AMH test. Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH), is a hormone produced by cells inside the little sacs in the ovaries that each holds an egg. These follicles release the AMH hormone, and the amount of it in the blood serves as a proxy for the amount of eggs remaining in the ovaries. Alongside this, we look at the amount of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in the blood. This hormone works to kick-start the maturation of the eggs in the follicles, and if there is a high level of this hormone, it can be a sign of low ovarian reserve.

In additional to hormonal tests, it is essential to have a fertility focused ultrasound to view the ovaries. Put together, this information gives a picture of your overall fertility potential. Combined with your partner’s semen analysis result, we can determine if fertility treatment might be necessary, and which options would offer you the best chance of success.

Having health checks at a fertility clinic does help, by not losing time. Fertility issues are very common and even if you don’t want a family right now, being proactive about your fertility can make all the difference when you are ready. Having your reproductive health information will help you make decisions and take out the guesswork. Knowledge is power: once you know, you have choices which is everything in the world of fertility.


Martina Kelly, Fertility Nurse Specialist Kildare 

Martina is a fertility nurse specialist at the Waterstone Clinic in Kildare. She trained as a Registered General Nurse in the Midlands and was one of the first nurses in Ireland to specialise in women’s health. She has worked all over the world, in Australia, Barbados, Trinidad, the UK and Ireland. Having worked in fertility for many years, Martina is passionate about women’s health. She runs the Waterstone Clinic Kildare site, helping women and couples fulfil their dreams of parenthood.

Starting Fertility Treatment During A Pandemic

Where to Start

The Gift of Time

Dr John Waterstone


More and more couples and individuals are beginning their fertility journeys since the coronavirus epidemic swept the country. There is no doubt that the pandemic has had a huge impact on how we live our lives, and while it has taken away so much, it has at the same time, given us a gift of time to evaluate our priorities.

In a recent survey of nearly 400 of our patients across our five clinics, we asked what changes the pandemic has brought about. 82% of them answered that it has made them value family more. 71% agreed that the pandemic had given them more time to think about starting a family.

Many couples have been trying for a family during the pandemic, and have asked for fertility advice. Fertility is strongly linked to the age of the woman. For women aged over 35, our advice is to see a fertility specialist after six months of trying; and after a year of trying if you are under 35. If you are part of a couple, your fertility potential should be assessed together. The tests are very simple: women need some blood tests, including an Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) blood test, and a fertility-focused ultrasound scan. Male partners need a simple semen analysis test. Looking at all the results together, we can build a picture of your overall fertility health, including your ovarian reserve (the number of eggs in your ovaries).

Having a fertility check doesn’t always mean you will need fertility treatment. Some couples only need reassurance and advice, and some need treatment. If you do need treatment, we will build a plan with a recommendation for a treatment that will give you the best chance of success. There are simple and low-cost treatments such as Ovulation Induction (where you take medication, and conception takes place through intercourse at home) or Intrauterine Insemination (where you take medication and conception takes place through a simple procedure). If you need more specialised intervention, we may recommend IVF or ICSI treatment.

Fertility treatment can be a stressful time for couples, and even more so in the time of COVID-19. Right now, a key worry for many is how soon can they start their journey. While fertility testing and treatment were paused at the height of lockdown in March and April, international guidelines have been updated and fertility services are now classed as essential, so they are not restricted, even at Level 5 in Ireland. We have implemented many health and safety measures to keep our patients, staff and clinics safe and COVID-free.

Many people worry that they are losing time, that their fertility is declining and they might miss their opportunity to have a baby. Time can be the enemy of fertility, so use the gift of time: have an assessment and make sure that time is on your side.


Dr John Waterstone is Medical Director of Waterstone Clinic



Kildare Clinic Now Open

|Vista Primary Care Waterstone Clinic Kildare

Our Family Is Expanding

We are delighted to announce the opening of our Kildare Clinic.

We now have five clinics across the country, and our Kildare clinic will enable patients to access diagnostic tests, consultations with our doctors, ultrasound scans, cycle monitoring, and semen analysis while staying close to home.

Our specialist team are experts in the field of Reproductive Medicine. We have achieved most, if not all, of Ireland’s scientific milestones in fertility since we opened our first clinic in 2002. We provide cutting-edge fertility care to our patients at a standard that is second to none. Over 500 babies are born every year from treatments at our clinics.

Our clinic is located in Vista Primary Care Centre, Ballymore Eustace Road, Naas, Co.Kildare (map)

For appointments, contact [email protected] or call 0818 333 310 | 045- 874389


Vista Primary Care, Naas, Kildare

Dr Tim Dineen on Radio Kerry Discusses Couples Struggle to Conceive

Why are so many people struggling to conceive?
Dr Tim Dineen speaks to Deirdre Walsh from Radio Kerry to discuss this important issue.
Listen back here:

Against the odds: Life after ectopic pregnancy

Annemarie Eade had her life all planned out. Now 38 and living in Kilbrittain, Co Cork, she and her husband Tony were married in 2009. “Our next step was babies,” she says. “We’d been planning it that way for years and hoped to have a honeymoon baby. Little did we know.”

Things went to plan at first Annemarie discovered she was pregnant while they were on honeymoon in New York.

The couple’s elation didn’t last long. Annemarie started spotting and they rushed to hospital as soon as they arrived back in Ireland. “A scan showed there was nothing in my womb and after taking my bloods, I was sent home to rest from what we thought was a miscarriage,” she says.

The following day, she was called back to have her bloods retested. The initial sample indicated she was still pregnant. “It was confusing,” says Annemarie. “I knew in my heart there was no baby but I wanted to believe a mistake had been made with the scan.”

There was no mistake. She was having an ectopic pregnancy, a rare occurrence that can lead to fertility complications. Annemarie was just beginning what would prove to be a long journey to motherhood.

“About 1% of pregnancies in Ireland are ectopic,” explains fertility specialist Dr John Waterstone, medical director of Waterstone Clinic. “They occur when the fertilised egg implants not in the uterine cavity as it should but somewhere else, usually in the fallopian tube.”

In most cases, the cause is unknown. “They occur in normal fallopian tubes and do not run in families,” says Dr Waterstone.

There are risk factors that can make ectopic pregnancy more likely. Surgery, appendicitis, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease can damage the fallopian tubes. A previous ectopic pregnancy means there’s slightly higher risk of another. IVF increases the risk and so does using an intra uterine contraceptive device.

Annemarie had none of these risk factors but her baby was growing in one of her fallopian tubes. “Because it was still early in the pregnancy, I didn’t need to have the tube removed,” she says. “I was given an injection and it was all over.”

She and Tony soon started trying to conceive again. But this time, it wasn’t so easy. Months and months passed with no result. After a year of trying, they approached the Waterstone Clinic. There, she was booked in for a routine laparoscopy and dye test. This test checks for blockages in the fallopian tubes. “They inject dye into the tubes and it should go in and come back out again,” says Annemarie. “But with me, the dye wouldn’t go through and it was clear that there was a problem.”

Despite subsequent testing, it never became clear what that problem was. “All we knew was that it was now more likely we’d need IVF to have our babies,” says Annemarie.

Then a surprising thing happened. she got pregnant. However, the pregnancy followed the same pattern as the first: Spotting followed by a diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy.

“My heart broke when they told us to try again and I wondered if I’d be able for a pregnancy failing a third time,” she says. “That was when we decided it might be better to try IVF.”

Women who have had ectopic pregnancies follow the same IVF procedure as women who have not. They take hormonal injections to encourage the growth of multiple eggs. Those eggs are removed and fertilised with sperm and if an embryo is successfully created, it is transferred into the woman’s womb.

IVF worked for Annemarie but she didn’t believe she was pregnant until they had their six-week scan. “I was so used to scans showing nothing and this time there was a blob — our blob.”

The pregnancy passed without incident and the couple’s daughter Madison was born in June 2013. At that stage, they had one embryo in storage and a year or so after Madison was born, they had it transferred. The procedure worked but the six-week scan showed there was nothing in her womb.

“It wasn’t an ectopic; the pregnancy just wasn’t viable,” she says. “It was another low point for us. The years we were trying for babies were all like that: Going from high to low to high to low.”

They started a second cycle of IVF but it wasn’t successful. “I was inconsolable when I got my period that time,” remembers Annemarie.

They tried a third time but by now they were worrying about the cost. Like most health-insurance policies, Annemarie’s provided limited fertility cover. She received a one-off payment of €1,000 for the first cycle.

“I was afraid of what would happen if the third cycle didn’t work,” she says. “I didn’t know if we could afford a fourth.”

She didn’t have to worry as the third cycle succeeded and their son Parker was born in February 2016. “Then we had one of each and we were the luckiest people in the world.”

Looking back, she still doesn’t know why having children was so difficult for her. “I’d always had irregular periods but other than that, nothing was wrong,” she says. “There’s no reason why I should have had ectopic pregnancies.”



  • Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition affecting approximately 1% of pregnancies.
  • Ectopic means out of place and an ectopic pregnancy is one which implants outside of the uterus. 95% of ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube but it is possible to have an ectopic pregnancy in the ovaries, cervix or abdomen.
  • The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are just the same as for regular pregnancies. It is not until the foetus begins to grow that symptoms begin to occur.
  • Symptoms can include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, pain or diarrhoea during a bowel movement, pain when passing urine, nausea and feeling light headed or faint. If not treated the ectopic pregnancy can rupture and cause severe bleeding which can be fatal.
  • An ectopic pregnancy cannot be saved. Treatment options depend on the size and age of the pregnancy. If there is any risk of rupture it must be removed.
  • In some cases, the pregnancy does not progress and it may be possible to manage without surgery. In other cases, the surgeon may perform keyhole surgery under general anaesthetic to remove the pregnancy. If the tube is damaged or if there is significant bleeding, the tube may have to be removed too.
  • If the ectopic pregnancy is not diagnosed early or if the woman presents with severe symptoms, open abdominal surgery may be necessary. In this case, it is unlikely the tube will be saved.
  • In some other cases, a drug called methotrexate is given in injection form to treat the ectopic pregnancy.
  • If your fallopian tube and/or ovary is removed, your fertility may be affected. The majority of women who have one tube left are pregnant again within 18 months of trying. Those that aren’t can try fertility treatments such as IUI. However, if both tubes are removed or if there are complications, IVF may be the only option.
  • Women who have had previous ectopic pregnancies are at higher risk of having another. Therefore they should have an early pregnancy scan, at five or six weeks’ gestation. Once the pregnancy is established, no special care is required for mother and baby. The pregnancy should progress the same as any other.


Working Towards a Happy Result: Rebecca O’Callaghan

Name: Rebecca O’Callaghan

Age: 25

Lives: Ballincollig

Job title: Fertility nurse specialist at Waterstone Clinic, Cork.

Salary bracket: I’m very lucky in that I love what I do and it pays the bills.

Education background: I attended both primary and secondary schools locally in Ballincollig, and completed my Junior and Leaving Certificates there also. I went on to study a BSc (Hons) in General Nursing at University College Cork. My core hospital group, where I did most of my work placements, was Cork University Hospital.

Hobbies: My hobbies include going to the gym, socialising with friends, shopping, beauty and reading when I get the time.

Describe your job in five words: Challenging, interesting, satisfying, educational and rewarding.

Describe yourself in five words: Motivated, friendly, chatty, hard-working, and soft.

Personality needed for this kind of work? I think with all walks of nursing there is a specific type of personality needed to cater to the job. You need to be professional and vigilant, and constantly thinking about the next potential step for a patient. You have to not only be aware of the medical side of things, but the emotional side of things too when it comes to fertility. You need to be straight in the decisions you make, but caring and kind in how you make and deliver them. You also need good communication skills, not only with your patients, but also with your fellow colleagues for care to run smoothly. You need to love what you do.

How long are you doing this job? Two years.

How did you get this job? I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. When I completed my CAO in school, I included General Nursing in every county possible. Luckily, I achieved enough points to study here in Cork as I am a major home bird!

I began the four-year General Nursing course in University College Cork in September, 2010. For the first three years, study was divided between lectures and practicals in the college and work placements in all different hospitals and fields of nursing. This gives you a great insight early on into which area of nursing might suit you best. You get to experience working on both surgical and medical wards in various hospitals and the emergency department, theatre, intensive care and specialised areas too.

You also get the chance to experience midwifery, psychiatric nursing, intellectual disability and public health nursing. My personal interests mainly revolved around emergency nursing, and surgical/theatre nursing. I worked on an orthopaedic and plastics surgical ward in Cork University Hospital prior to coming to Waterstone Clinic — two very different areas!

When I heard about a job going in the fertility field, the whole aspect really appealed to me and, being a spontaneous person, I went for it and was lucky enough to get it. I’ve loved every minute there so far. It shows that even if you think you have found the job for you, there are many other possible opportunities out there too.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? Some nurses in Waterstone Clinic are qualified in Midwifery, some General Nursing, and others in both.

Describe a day at workYour day can start at different times, depending on what you are rostered for that day. We run a full theatre and recovery for patients having fertility procedures such as egg collections, embryo transfers, IUIs, aspirations, and testicular biopsies as part of fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation, intrauterine insemination, ovulation induction, frozen embryo transfer cycles, donor egg cycles, etc.

Every day, one or two doctors hold a clinic for patients to come in to meet them, whether it be for a first consultation or review consultation, and a nurse will always assist a doctor with these.

We have a full-time nurse in the office taking patients’ calls and queries all day. We also have nurses doing their own consultations with patients, taking bloods, and doing drug demonstrations.

Every day, there are nurses also seeing people through scan appointments. We also have nurses working in more specialised fields, such as egg donation, sperm donation and PGD.

How many hours do you work a week? 40.

What do you wear to work? A comfy pair of navy scrubs.

Is your industry male or female dominated? There are more females than males staff wise. Our nursing, reception and admin teams are mainly female. However, we do have three male fertility consultants, two male embryologists and one male andrologist.

Does this affect you in any particular way? Not at all. The whole team is amazing.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: I think any job in nursing will always have some level of stress attached, especially when so much of other people’s lives depend on you. There are some days that can hit a 10 and others that are more relaxed. I think once you love what you’re doing, it’s all worth it.

Do you work with others or on your own? I work within a large group of people made up of lots of different teams and each person is as important as the next.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? When I’m 65! A long way to go yet.

Best bits: Knowing that every day you go to work, you get to help somebody. Also, receiving photos of beautiful babies a few months down the line from when patients have attended the clinic is an amazing feeling.

Worst bits: Unfortunately, fertility treatment does not hold 100% success rates so seeing people struggle is heart-wrenching.

Advice to those who want your job? Prepare to work hard. However, the happy endings will make it worth it.

Waterstone Clinic is Ireland’s largest independent fertility specialists and has a state-of- the- art national centre of excellence at Lotamore House in Cork.

Dr John Waterstone Speaks about Gene Editing Technology

An insight on Gene Editing technology and its moral and ethical implications with David Mc Connell, Gerard Casey, Pat Clarke and John Waterstone.

Sarah Carey from Newstalk speaks with Dr John Waterstone about his views on gene editing, PGD at our clinic and the issue of state funding and legal aspects attached to Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis.

Listen to the interview here:


“Steps to take when facing fertility concerns” by Mary McAuliffe

Unfortunately, some couples experience unexpected obstacles along their journey when trying for a baby. We chatted to Mary McAuliffe, Head of Clinical Service at Waterstone Clinic,which has just opened a state-of-the-art national fertility centre of excellence at Lotamore House in Cork, and asked for her insights into what you can do when things don’t go quite to plan.

Most couples start out assuming the path to parenthood will be pretty straight forward, and can be thrown off course when pregnancy doesn’t happen as quickly as expected. From excitement and anticipation, to frustration and upset, there is no denying it can be an emotional rollercoaster if waiting for that positive test takes too long.

And while a lot of couples are definitely becoming more proactive regarding their fertility, going for fertility assessments before trying to conceive; others can be uncertain about how long to wait before seeking help and advice.

“The female partner’s age is one of the main factors influencing her chances of conception, McAuliffe explains. “Ideally, if the woman is over 35, investigations should be started after six months of trying. If she’s younger, seek help after trying to conceive for 12 to 18 months.”

It is a fact aht as many as one in five couples will have a delay in becoming pregnant, so getting help early is key.

“In these situations, I would advise taking a two-pronged approach – making contact with a clinic and, at the same time, trying to boost your fertility. There are many things a couple – both the male and female – can do to increase their chances of having a baby, such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake to healthy limits or stopping it all together, and eating a well varied and healthy diet.”

McAuliffe also points out that both parts should aim to get plenty of exercise, maintain a healthy BMI and take a good quality vitamin supplement and folic acid.

“Couples should also be aware of their own past medical history, and it is helpful if the female partner is aware of her mother’s history, such as early menopause. Ask yourself, have you experienced changes in cycle pattern, or have a history of endometriosis or PCOS? Does your partner have a history of testicular injury, undescended testis or testicular mumps or any other condition that you may suspect has had a negative effect on fertility?”

In such cases, McAuliffe suggests seeking help early regardless of age. It is helpful too to keep a menstrual cycle calendar, tracking your cycle length.”

“It is helpful too to keep a menstrual cycle calendar, tracking your cycle length.”

Anohter tip she shares is to have the reassurance that the clinic you attend is offering you the best chance of having a baby.

“It is always good to make contact by phone with the clinic beforehand, as you get a good feel for the team by asking some questions or chatting through some of the areas you are concerned about. The patient liaison team will talk you through a series of blood tests and investigations that are helpful when attending an initial consultation. These investigations will help in diagnosis”

At the Waterfod Clinic consultations are available within two weeks, and the more information the couple have at these visits, the more that can be achieved.

“Some couples may feel that if they attend a fertility centre, it will always progress onto treatment. That’s not always the case, McAuliffe explains. “That initial consultation is about offering an assessment, information and honest advice.”

For many, she points out, this visit will provide reassurance that all is well and to continue trying, while also providing the opportunity to build a plan and timeline for them to return if needed.

“If a couple are advised to consider treatment, we encourage them to take an information pack home, take time to talk over it together, and call if they would like to discuss the treatment further. This usually leads to further questions, which can be answered by phone, or some couples will pop back for further information session.”