THE NHS says one in seven couples are affected by infertility - with between 20 and 40 per cent of those unexplained.

It is also estimated one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage in the early stages with most of these not investigated.

Yet the subject remains taboo in social settings with few people openly discussing their own experiences.

And this is a situation Colchester blogger Natalie Rowe desperately wants to rectify by sharing her own struggles to have a baby, which have already been read by thousands.

Natalie, who works for a major accounting firm in London, says she was moved to write about her experience as she tried to come to terms with a devastating miscarriage on Christmas Day in 2015.

Her pregnancy had been the result of months of trying and hoping, she explains.

“I got married in 2014 and we had always planned to have a family and I had no reason at all to think it would not happen.”

“You get absolutely no education about infertility, rather that pregnancy is something likely to happen, and so it did not occur to me it would be difficult.

“I had no obvious symptoms of any infertility-related disorder and I was unaware of any family history,” says Natalie, 33.

But after more than a year she and her husband were ecstatic to discover she was expecting a baby.

“But by Christmas I was spotting and I went on to miscarry on Christmas Day.

“It is a horrendous thing to go through, but obviously on that day it felt even worse. Everyone is so happy and when I got to hospital, I was the only one in there.”

It was after going through this Natalie began to realise how many people she knew who had suffered a similar experience.

“I was just astonished, as that included two of my cousins, people I worked with and friends of friends.

“No-one had ever talked about it openly and I wondered why. I wanted to know about people’s experiences so I could make sense of my own and I didn’t want the details glossed over. One in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage is so high. One in seven couples being labelled infertile is equally high.

“These numbers may sound low and or in the minority, but that affects thousands of people.

“So that is when I decided to write a blog, including everything I had experienced and learnt, and I passionately believe in breaking this taboo, raising awareness and promoting fertility education” she says.

With 5,000 views already, leading charities Tommy’s and the Fertility Network UK have also shared Natalie’s writing.

Last year Natalie and her husband embarked on IVF treatment in a bid to conceive but their first attempt was not successful.

“I really wish we had known more about what was available before we went ahead with that first attempt.

“It was only after speaking to family and visiting a second clinic, that I realised there were a lot more tests I could have done, but nobody told us.

“Having more tests would have given us more information and potentially have prevented IVF failure.”

Having undergone more tests, which revealed Natalie’s body was producing an elevated number of Natural Killer Cells (NK cells), the couple found a new clinic and have begun a second round of IVF.

“Some clinics do not believe that having an auto immune deficiency like elevated NK cells can affect pregnancies, but there has been a huge amount of research in America which could disprove this theory.

“And I want to do everything I can to make sure that if I conceive again I will have every chance of the pregnancy continuing, so that is why it is so important to do research and make your own, informed choices.

“I feel frustrated because if I had those tests done three years ago I might have a baby by now and be thinking about a second.

“I feel I have lost three years. And I think talking about it and sharing experiences needs to happen more and more because that way other people could benefit from it,” she explains.

She says before she began the process of trying for a baby she had no idea of the experiences of her friends and family.

But statistics dictate many of them would have experienced some issues either with the loss of a baby or infertility.

“I don’t really like the term “infertile” as I don’t believe it is ever hopeless unless someone has had an illness which prevents it and it is a word which destroys hope for many couples.

“’Unexplained’ just means they do not know what is causing it, but with more research, testing and information, more couples could be helped.

“There has to be a reason and it might be something simple and treatable, without the need for financially and emotionally draining treatments such as IVF.” she says.

Natalie has written a number of chapters on her blog and says she will continue to update people.

“I am going to write the next chapter once I have completed this second cycle of IVF.

“The response has been so positive. The messages I have had have been really moving and it is helping me and others going through something similar.

“When I first had my miscarriage and began IVF I did not want to be around babies. Every time I heard a friend was pregnant it felt like a bit of an injustice and that took time to get over.

“I felt I was doing all the things I should be doing, I stopped drinking, took supplements and I ate healthily and I still wasn’t pregnant and there is this perception it is easy for other people.

“But now I know there is always a story behind the smile and a lot of people may be silently suffering, now or in the past.

“We must not be guided by everyone’s “Facebook lives”.

“That was when I realised I could make it easier for other people just by talking about it. I have so much respect for everyone that has shared their story with me so far. This is not the end!” adds Natalie.

Next month an event is being put on for people living in the Colchester and Ipswich area who are trying for a baby and would like help and advice, whether they have been trying for a just few months or much longer.

The event, at Ipswich Hospital, marks the first anniversary of its partnerships with two of the country’s leading fertility centres in Cambridge and London.

The partnerships allow Ipswich doctors to offer a satellite IVF service giving patients the chance to start treatment at Ipswich and go on to have egg collection and embryo transfer at one of the specialist centres.

The event is on Saturday June 3 from 10am to 1pm at Ipswich Hospital’s Education Centre, in the Lecture Theatre, and there is no need to book.Call 01473 704236 for details.

n You can read Natalie’s blog at and there is further help and support at and