'Making Babies': Andrea Byrne's podcast on fertility returns for new series

Andrea and husband Lee are thankful for their daughter Jemima 'every minute of every day'. Credit: Andrea Byrne

Infertility is something I have written about before and this is really just a reminder to you, that you are not alone.

Many of you will already know something of the journey that my husband Lee and I have been on to start a family.  If you listen to my podcast 'Making Babies', I chat about it a bit across the different episodes with my guests.

During a long, emotional and often lonely seven years, we were told repeatedly that I would not be able to carry a child of my own due to a small womb defect.  After multiple IVF failures, several operations and the trauma of pregnancy losses we did eventually - and against all the odds - have our wondrous daughter Jemima, who is now two and a half.  We are thankful for her every minute of every day.

Why do I think it’s important to carry on speaking about it?  Well, even though it can be difficult sometimes, it’s crucial that we normalise the conversation to help people feel less isolated.  The stats say it all. One in six couples will experience infertility in some form and three million people will be tackling issues like this at any one time in the UK.

We know it’s good to talk so let’s talk about the awkward subjects and make everyone feel less awkward about them. Because the likelihood is it will either affect your life or someone you love, live with or work with.

To help me out with this mission to smash some taboos, I’ve turned to some well-known faces for Series 2 of my podcast.  It starts with presenter Gabby Logan, who tells me about her IVF experience with her husband, former rugby player Kenny Logan.

Presenter Gabby Logan has spoken about about her experience with IVF. Credit: PA Images

I was curious to know not only how Gabby dealt with things, but also how Kenny did, because men are such an important part of the conversation as well. She explained that Kenny had been really concerned about his own fertility.

“Before he proposed, Kenny went and had a full medical about his sperm," she said. 

"Because of rugby, he’d been kicked quite a lot down there - so he said he didn’t want to propose and then find he was infertile.“

Kenny was told by doctors everything was fine, but the couple still weren’t falling pregnant, so eventually they sought help and Gabby recalls the frustration of being told the infertility was ‘unexplained’.

“They said they couldn’t find anything wrong … so we became a bit deflated. It seemed there was nothing to fix. So, what happens now? The doctor said 'You are young and you’ve got lots of time' - but in my mind it was going to become a really big thing.“

They ended up opting for IVF treatment, which resulted in their twins, who are now 15.  Gabby told me that despite both of them trying to treat the process as sportspeople and look at it very practically, it was impossible not to be affected emotionally.

“It got more emotional…. and then on the day I was going to get my blood test (pregnancy test), I bled and decided that was it, I wasn’t having a baby.

"Kenny was in Glasgow so wasn’t able to come with me anyway, and the doctor said go and get your bloods test done anyway - and then we found out we were pregnant and it wasn’t a miscarriage.“

Andrea and Lee found themselves among the one in six couples who struggle to conceive. Credit: Andrea Byrne

I’m very grateful to Gabby for sharing her story and to all my guests coming up on this series for speaking so candidly. Not least, former Love Island winner Jessica Hayes, who chats to me about losing her baby Teddy late on in her pregnancy.  You can hear her episode at the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week on 10th October.

Other guests include comedian Geoff Norcott talking on baby loss from a male perspective; author Izzy Judd - wife of McFly’s Harry Judd - focusing on anxiety and mindfulness during treatment; weather presenter Clare Nasir on fibroids; news presenting couple Hannah and Lewis Vaughan Jones on long-term infertility; and CEO of Hockey Wales Ria Burrage-Male on assisted conception and sperm donation in a same-sex relationship.

If you can spare some time to listen, it would be wonderful.  I hope it may help you a little bit to know you are not alone, if you are on a similar journey.  Or to help you support your loved ones and colleagues, if you know people who are affected.