Couple who spent decade trying to have children finally welcome twins
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A couple who spent a decade trying to have children have finally become parents to not one but two babies – welcoming a set of twins after years of heartache.
Diego and Mareike Fernandez started trying to have kids back in 2011, but really struggled to get pregnant.
In 2016, they sought the help of Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM), with tests finding that both of them had fertility issues – Diego affected by a late operation for undescended testes, and Mareike by endometriosis, adenomyosis and a lower-than-average egg reserve.
While it was still a ‘long wait’ to parenthood, the couple were thrilled to become mum and dad to twins, Jamie and Lorenzo, on 26 October 2022.
Mareike, from Germany, said: "It’s a hard journey, but we learned the most important thing is to go your own path and find what makes you happy. Live your life your way.
“We had been trying for five years with no success so I found myself struggling with my mental health when, in the middle of Covid, my sister – who had always been less child-oriented than me – conceived with no issues and had a baby.
“Counselling at BCRM gave me a new perspective at a time when we’d nearly given up and were starting to resign ourselves to possibly not becoming parents, and we are still in touch with people we met there."
The couple said severe disruptions – from COVID and moves to Spain and Switzerland - and the disappointment of a first failed attempt at artificial insemination, took a huge toll on their mental health.
But despite the emotional exhaustion from trying to conceive for so long, they never gave up.
Researcher Diego, from Spain, said: “It was a long wait, and we learned many life lessons in the meantime, including this memorable advice from another trying-to-conceive dad, which was: 'Always have a Plan B'."
After a first try at artificial insemination failed, the pair were advised to switch to intracytoplasmic sperm injection by their specialist fertility consultant at BCRM, Dr Abhi Paisal.
They created four embryos via that method, but sadly the first two attempts at inseminating failed.
Mareike continued: “We were devastated but we didn’t want to give up."
“Dr Paisal was mindful of all the failed treatments we’d experienced and the challenges of our travel situation, so the decision was taken to transfer both our remaining embryos in one operation.
“By this time, BCRM had moved to their new clinic at Aztec West, and the procedure was surprisingly relaxing, with soothing music, and low lights.”
Eventually, the breakthrough came.
“Then the two-week wait and, finally, success!” the new mum said.
“We couldn’t be happier with our lovely boys. They bring us so much joy and we are loving being parents.
"We are eternally indebted to BCRM for enabling us to have them, and so grateful for the ongoing support they gave us during this very challenging chapter in our lives.
"They are a wonderful team, and we count ourselves as very fortunate to have been treated by them.”