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A 23-year-old has spoken out about why she's having fertility treatment despite her young age.
Master's student Alana Hunt, from Chelmsford, Essex, says she is ready to start a family alongside her fiance Jack Costin, 25 - with the pair shelling out £2,000 on fertility treatments.
And Alana, who suffers from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is now taking fertility drug Clomid to increase her chances of conceiving, after four years on the combined pill left her periods irregular.
"I came off birth control in December 2017, not to try and get pregnant, but just because it was messing with me a bit, mentally," she explained.
"But then my period didn't come back for quite a while."
Alana explained how she was prescribed the pill in the first place due to irregular periods that caused her to become dangerously anaemic.
When her cycle didn't come back straight away she wondered if maybe it was just her body adjusting after so long on the pill, but didn't fear anything more serious.
She added: "But after a year with no periods I went and had loads of blood tests and an ultrasound and they said that my ovaries had loads of cysts on them."
PCOS is a hormonal disorder, with infertility one of its varying symptoms.
Alana and teacher Jack, who have been a couple since 2017, were told they have to wait until Alana's periods returned before they start trying for a baby - something which took over two years.
And as luck would have it, Alana discovered she was pregnant in August 2020, just one month after her period returned.
"I just thought, everything is going to be a breeze - we're all golden. I got my first period in two years, then three weeks later I was pregnant," she said.
Alana explained how the couple were absolutely delighted and rushed to tell everyone they knew, with Jack even sharing the good news with his colleagues as the couple approached their 12-week scan.
But at 11-and-a-half weeks Alana had a threatened miscarriage and was hospitalised after experiencing bleeding.
Medics told her the pregnancy had a 50/50 chance either way and that she needed to go home and rest.
She said: "I just thought if it's going to happen, it will happen."
But the next day Alana's waters broke and she began to miscarry - having a traumatic seven hour labour on her own as Jack waited in the car outside due to strict Covid restrictions.
"It was crazy, weird and quite traumatic. I didn't realise that you could go into labour if you had an early miscarriage.
"I was in so much shock and had lost so much blood that I passed out in the bathroom and I had to ring Jack and ask him to come in and tell someone I was in the toilets because I couldn't get out."
Determined to conceive, the couple began trying for a baby again straight away as medics told them there was a good chance of getting pregnant immediately afterwards.
But by February this year "absolutely nothing had happened," Alana said.
She explained: "It felt like my life was on pause. We had accepted that pregnancy was going to be the next chapter, we were going to be parents and we were ready to move onto that stage in our lives.
"Ever since the first pregnancy it felt like we were just sat in the waiting zone.
"We were mentally prepared for a baby and then it never came.
"And that was the main reason we started looking at fertility treatment to be honest, the feeling of waiting around."
Alana explained how she began to research the drug Clomid, which had helped her mum get pregnant despite suffering with PCOS.
Clomid helps to make the body think that your oestrogen levels are lower than they are, effectively kick-starting ovulation.
Alana explained: "Me and Jack had every test under the sun. I had some scans done and they said it was 'pretty standard' PCOS without ovulation and got me set up to get started with some meds.
"My clinic called and asked if I could book in for a consultation appointment in December. I just said 'What? Are you sure? There's a nine-month wait?'"
Alana was told she could be waiting up to 12-months to begin the actual treatment, and was totally devastated.
She said: "It just seemed like we were waiting for this next stage in our life that just wasn't coming.
"It was quite a blow to be honest, I remember when I got the call I was just crying and I was so angry.
"A lot of people said to me you're so young, just wait and things will fall into place there's no need to rush.
"But we have both always wanted to be young parents. We've got our own house, we're settled in our jobs. We have both got degrees.
"Doctors kept telling me 'You've got ages to get pregnant,' but I just thought if I'm having problems now, I have got a problem - it won't go away."
While some of Alana and Jack's friends and family are surprised they're wanting children quite early, Alana explains they both come from a young family - with Jack's mother having her first child aged just 16.
After a bit of research, Alana got booked in and had a consultation appointment within a week.
Alongside her doctors, Alana has crafted a six-month fertility treatment plan that she began in March this year.
Each cycle costs £500, with the option to add in extra meds if the couple still aren't having any luck after a few months on the plan.
The couple also paid just shy of £200 in initial testing.
Alana has also said she wouldn't rule out more extreme treatments like IUI and IVF.
She said: "When it comes to it, it's just one of those things you've got to knuckle down and do."
And to the people who don't understand why the couple want to conceive so young, Alana thinks people need to just be more accepting of people's differences.
She said: "People want different things but they just can't seem to get their heads round it. We're just ready."
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