A woman who is desperate to be a mum is undergoing fertility treatment at the age of just 23.
Alana Hunt, and her fiancé Jack Costin, 25, say they are ready to start a family and have already spent nearly £2,000 on the treatment so they can become parents.
Alana, from Chelmsford in Essex, is taking fertility drug Clomid in the hopes of falling pregnant.
She said: “My parents are quite young and Jack, his mum had his older sister when she was 16.
“Jack has also got a little sister who at this point has a baby, so we both come from really young families.”
The couple have been together for four years, during which time Alana was taking the combined pill, which doctors think caused her Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Alana says she was prescribed the pill because of her irregular periods which caused her to become dangerously anaemic.
She said: “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.
“But then my period didn’t come back for quite a while.”
Alana said she thought the delay was because her body was adjusting after being on the pill, and did not think it was anything more serious.
She said: “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.”
Alana was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – a condition which affects ovaries and how they work.
The three main features of PCOS are: Irregular periods, excess androgen – a male hormone in the body which can cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair – and enlarged ovaries which can contain fluid-filled sacs
Alana says her mum also has the condition, so she was already aware of the issues it can cause.
The couple were told that they would have to wait for Alana’s periods to return before they started trying for a baby. Alana was also given ovulation test strips after a year without a cycle and she was using them to see when she was fertile but has not had a positive result for nearly a year.
She said: “I literally didn’t have a single positive. I started using them in the middle of 2019 and I didn’t get a single positive until that same time next year in August 2020.”
The couple fell pregnant almost straight away, three weeks after just one positive result.
Alana said: “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.”
Tragically, however, at 11-and-a-half-weeks pregnant, Alana had a threatened miscarriage and was hospitalised after experiencing bleeding.
She says she was told the pregnancy had a 50/50 chance of continuing and she needed to go home and rest, where she later had to endure a seven-hour labour while Jack had to sit outside the hospital in the car due to Covid restrictions.
Alana said: “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 it has not yet happened.
Alana said: “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.”
The couple researched the drug Clomid, which helped Alana’s mum fall pregnant. Clomid helps to make the body think the oestrogen levels are lower than they are and kick-starts ovulation.
Alana said: “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 start the treatment and 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 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. 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 be pregnant’ but I just thought if I am having problems now, I have got a problem – it won’t go away.”
The couple have discussed private fertility treatment with their parents. Alana said: “Obviously once you start, you could spend £400 and be done or you could go all the way up to IVF.
“We had money that we had saved up and so I said to my family, ‘If we’re going to start this, we don’t know how long it is going to go on for. If we run out of money and need someone to fall back on, is that okay?’
“My parents basically just said, we would rather you have a baby and spend a couple of grand than be unhappy.”
Alana had her consultation within a week and with her doctors had created a six-month fertility treatment plan that she began in March this year.
Each cycle costs £500, with the option for extra medication if the couple are still not having any luck after a few months on the plan. Alana and Jack also paid just shy of £200 in initial testing.
Alana has also said she would not 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.”
Alana also thinks those who say she is too young should 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.”