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Case Studies - Pregnancy & Fertility

mother and childWe are collecting case studies from people who have become well through taking thyroid medication, and from people who are still suffering symptoms of thyroid disease despite taking thyroid medication.

If you would like us to use your story as a case study, you can submit it to us online here

After a 15 month whirlwind romance, my husband and I married in February 2007. We immediately made plans to start a family. He already had a child from a previous relationship so we didn't foresee any problems.

I came off the microgynon pill in April 2007 and went onto the minipill for 11 days, thinking once we were 100% ready the minipill would come out of my system easier. After 11 days of the minipill I was climbing the walls with depression and so we stopped all contraception in May 2007.

At first we said, "if we don't get pregnant by Xmas (2007) we'll start doing things properly" (i.e. charting and dating) but after 3 months of my cycles being all over the show we decided to stop going with the flow and start charting my cycles. Over this period we also tried ovulation predictor kits and temperature charting but nothing was working. I clearly wasn't ovulating.

Christmas came and went and I was starting to worry. At this point my husband was feeling very relaxed and said "It'll happen once we move into our new home in April."

Over March/April 2008 I started to have a marathon cycle. At first I put it down to the stress of the house move.  Every morning I would test but negative time and again. By day 50 we went to the doctor who immediately sent me for a scan and day 21 bloods. The scan was clear but to my utter shock, I was diagnosed as having an underactive thyroid and was given 50mg of thyroxine a day.

My doctor gave me a second lot of blood tests and although my thyroid was "under control" he told me I was not ovulating - my 2 lots of blood tests showed my progesterone was only "1" (should be "30" or more). My GP sent us immediately to the consultant at our local hospital.  

Our appointment was on 17th September where I underwent more invasive and sometimes painful testing.

On Xmas Eve 2008 we found ourselves back at the gynaecologist and we were prescribed 4 cycles of clomid. All failed and I had a shortened luteal phase which I discovered is a symptom of something being wrong with your thyroid.

The summer of 2009 we were referred to Barts Hospital in London. We finally were accepted onto a cycle of ICSI (a form of IVF) starting mid-November.

With a testing date of Christmas Day and my thyroid still "under control and within the normal NHS range" we were very hopeful. Unfortunately, on my birthday things started to go wrong and we knew it was all over by Christmas Eve.

I immediately went searching for answers. I spoke to Thyroid UK as well as to leading experts on fertility websites and through browsing the internet I discovered that the normal range that the NHS recommend is far too high to support a pregnancy and that your TSH levels need to be under 2. I had my thyroid tested and my level was 5.27 – yes, "normal" for feeling "well" but there was no way a level like that could support a pregnancy. I was despondent.

After some persuasion my GP prescribed me a higher dose of thyroxine - 75mg.

6 weeks later, in February 2010, my TSH level finally got down to 2.49. I had a progesterone test that month to discover to my amazement that I had ovulated naturally probably for the first time in a very long time (possibly ever).

Barts decided to put me on a Natural Cycle of FET (frozen embryo transfer) using 2 of the frozen embryos from our failed ICSI cycle.

My testing date was 1st April and I couldn't believe it when, on the Sunday before test day (5 days early) I started to get positive results on a home pregnancy testing kit. I took 2 further tests on the Monday, which were getting darker, 2 more on the Tuesday and finally on the Wednesday I took 2 digital tests that confirmed I was indeed pregnant.

I immediately had my bloods taken and my TSH level was down to 1.9!

When I was 6 weeks and 4 days pregnant we saw the heartbeat for the first time and now I am very happy to report that I am 11 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

It has taken us 3 years of heartache to get to this point, and whilst we are still very cautious we are over the moon.

My midwife team know I have an underactive thyroid and I am getting my levels checked on a monthly basis.

I don't know how long my hypothyroidism went undiagnosed but I am now 35 and feel better than I did when I was 25!

It has to be more than a coincidence, surely, that suddenly when my thyroid levels go down towards the "2" level then I start ovulating naturally and I am now pregnant….?