This Morning star Sharon Marshall has shared more of her IVF journey after spending six years undergoing fertility treatment.
The star, 50, welcomed her daughter Betsey in 2018 at the age of 46, but has only recently detailed the full extent of her journey to motherhood.
Speaking on Thursday’s This Morning, Sharon told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that she felt like she had to speak out to mark National Fertility Week, explaining: ‘I think this is one of the very last areas that we just don’t talk about.’
Journey to motherhood: This Morning star Sharon Marshall has shared more of her IVF journey after spending six years undergoing fertility treatment
Sharon insisted more needs to be done to tackle the mental trauma surrounding IVF, explaining: ‘I’m not knocking IVF, it’s a miracle – it’s given me the most precious thing ever in my Betsey.’
‘But I look back and I’ve just turned 50 and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and looking back at my 40s and what I realised is for a lot of my forties I was very depressed.’
‘I was ill – emotionally and physically – from repeated cycles of IVF that weren’t working. I was failing and failing and failing…and I couldn’t see through it.’
Revealing why she kept the struggle to herself at the time, Sharon said, ‘That’s what I want to say today – the things I wished I’d done differently… [but yes] I hid it. I’m not sure why.’
Personal: Speaking on Thursday’s This Morning, Sharon told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that she felt like she had to speak out to mark National Fertility Week
‘I think I felt embarrassed. I felt I wasn’t innately a woman – which is a ridiculous way to think… I felt almost stupid and I wasn’t telling people at work, which was leading to problems because you’re having to go off for scans and injections and things and I would just suddenly not be available for meetings.’
‘And withdrawing from people and keeping it all locked inside because I was embarrassed to say it… and that was one of my biggest mistakes.’
Imploring others who are currently going through IVF to be ‘proud that you are fighting’, Sharon also explained that ‘there’s a lot of marketing and publicity that makes you think it’s going to happen straight away and it doesn’t and that’s normal.’
First time mum: The star, 50, welcomed her daughter Betsey in 2018, but has only recently detailed the full extent of her journey to motherhood (Pictured in July 2020)
She recalled how she cried to a nurse after another failed cycle, who explained that a lot of the information and statistics that’s presented to patients isn’t always accurate. For instance, as Sharon explained, statistics on high success rates with IVF can refer to a positive pregnancy test and not a live birth.
‘One of the things that makes me feel a bit sick was during my very first go, I had a positive pregnancy test, but I lost the baby, I had a miscarriage – but that is being used as a positive statistic somewhere to say to someone, “This is a success”, pointed out Sharon.
Sharon previously explained how she was comforted by Amanda Holden and Gok Wan following the on-air breakdown.
Tough: Sharon insisted more needs to be done to tackle the mental trauma surrounding IVF, explaining: ‘What I realised is for a lot of my forties I was very depressed’
Expert: Sharon appeared on the show alongside Dr Larisa Corda, who explained how a lot of the information and statistics that’s presented to IVF patients isn’t always accurate
The TV star told OK! Magazine: ‘There was one day, just after I’d had a miscarriage, and there was an item on the show about the most beautiful babies in Britain.
‘I had a massive breakdown and confided in Amanda Holden and Gok Wan who were hosting that day.
‘They were so lovely and Amanda told me to go and get counselling, which I did. I got the loveliest message from her when I got pregnant.’
Incredible: Sharon previously revealed that fellow This Morning star Alison Hammond – who is single mum to teenage son Aiden – offered to be a surrogate for Sharon(Pictured together in 2018)
She also revealed that fellow This Morning star Alison Hammond – who is single mum to teenage son Aiden – offered to be a surrogate for Sharon.
Sharon suffered two miscarriages across seven rounds of IVF, and six months into her pregnancy with Betsey she woke up bleeding in the middle of the night.
Thankfully, medics were able to control the bleed and the soaps expert successfully carried her baby to full-term before giving birth to her daughter.
How does IVF work?
In-vitro fertilisation, known as IVF, is a medical procedure in which a woman has an already-fertilised egg inserted into her womb to become pregnant.
It is used when couples are unable to conceive naturally, and a sperm and egg are removed from their bodies and combined in a laboratory before the embryo is inserted into the woman.
Once the embryo is in the womb, the pregnancy should continue as normal.
The procedure can be done using eggs and sperm from a couple or those from donors.
Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that IVF should be offered on the NHS to women under 43 who have been trying to conceive through regular unprotected sex for two years.
People can also pay for IVF privately, which costs an average of £3,348 for a single cycle, according to figures published in January 2018, and there is no guarantee of success.
The NHS says success rates for women under 35 are about 29 per cent, with the chance of a successful cycle reducing as they age.
Around eight million babies are thought to have been born due to IVF since the first ever case, British woman Louise Brown, was born in 1978.
Chances of success
The success rate of IVF depends on the age of the woman undergoing treatment, as well as the cause of the infertility (if it’s known).
Younger women are more likely to have a successful pregnancy.
IVF isn’t usually recommended for women over the age of 42 because the chances of a successful pregnancy are thought to be too low.
Between 2014 and 2016 the percentage of IVF treatments that resulted in a live birth was:
29 per cent for women under 35
23 per cent for women aged 35 to 37
15 per cent for women aged 38 to 39
9 per cent for women aged 40 to 42
3 per cent for women aged 43 to 44
2 per cent for women aged over 44