Republish this article
19th January 2021


Karen Marks’ dream had always been to become a mum, but she knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

With the help of medical technology, she has overcome the obstacles that she faced and closed 2020 with the family she has always wanted.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be a mum,” Karen tells This Is MedTech. “I fell into my career and I loved it, but this was the one thing I knew I wanted to do.” But, with a history of anorexia and a family history of fertility difficulties, Karen suspected it wouldn’t be plain sailing. “I always knew in the back of my mind there was going to be a problem. So when I didn’t fall pregnant after a year of trying I went to see my GP.”

Fertility tests confirmed that Karen needed help. “I don’t quite fall into the category of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but I don’t ovulate on my own,” Karen explains.

After trying to conceive using injections to stimulate ovulation, and then with intrauterine insemination (IUI), Karen turned to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to give her the family that she so dearly wanted. Not to be confused with IVDs (in vitro diagnostics) that provide information based on a sample (examples of IVDs: urine test strips, pregnancy tests, blood sugar monitoring systems for diabetes, etc.), IVF helps people with fertility problems to have children. Supported by medical technology, it includes multiple steps, including injections to stimulate the production and maturation of multiple eggs, ultrasound scans to monitor developments, ultrasound-guided aspiration to collect the eggs, and mixing of the eggs with the sperm in the lab, before one or two viable embryos are transferred into the womb.

“We got five embryos from our IVF,” Karen recalls. One was transferred straightaway, while the rest were happily suitable for freezing in case Karen and her husband, James, wanted more children in the future.

As a result, Karen and James celebrated the birth of a baby boy. Two years and two weeks later they were celebrating again as they welcomed into the world Cameron’s much-loved younger sister, Isabella, who was born as the result of a frozen embryo transfer using another of the embryos fertilised during their full round of IVF.

“It is hard, obviously – it is never an easy process,” Karen admits. “And it is not successful for everyone. But IVF has completely transformed my life. I have got what I always wanted – I have got my little miracles. I would do it over and over again to become a mum – finances permitting. I just think it is amazing. I am truly grateful.”


Photo credits: Kathryn Anne Photography

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