December 24, 2019
Krystal Telford was desperate for a baby. It seemed everyone else around her was either pregnant or proudly pushing their newborns in their prams. It had got to the point where she and husband Kevin had stopped going to friends’ baby showers and christenings. “We just could not deal with being around babies as we were too devastated,” she admits to HuffPost UK.
The Miracle Baby Born After 8 Rounds Of IVF And Multiple Miscarriages
The couple, who live in County Durham and have been together for 10 years, had first been referred for IVF treatment in 2012 after experiencing problems conceiving. Doctors discovered Krystal had blocked tubes and she underwent her first round of IVF at Newcastle Fertility Centre in September. It worked. Krystal was pregnant. The couple were thrilled. But their joy soon turned to heartache. “I lost the baby very soon after the embryo implanted,” she says.Related... Losing Three Babies Left Me Feeling Like A Ticking Time Bomb Krystal and Kevin went on to have seven rounds of IVF, each one resulting in a pregnancy – only for the embryo not to survive beyond eight weeks. The pain was incomprehensible, says Krystal, now 30. 
“You become so isolated when you are going through IVF,” she says. “It is all-consuming and takes over your life. All you want is to see those two lines. It is absolutely heartbreaking when you lose babies. It got to the stage where I was so scared, I was almost waiting for it to go wrong.”After seven miscarriages, Krystal knew there must be some reason why she was unable to carry a pregnancy. Doctors carried out numerous tests and told her they couldn’t find anything; that she’d just been unlucky and should keep trying. But Krystal was adamant and after her seventh miscarriage, in 2016, she asked for what doctors call the “product of conception” to be tested.
That test revealed that she was carrying a ‘translocation of chromosomes’,  medically known as Robertsonian translocation of chromosomes 15 and 22, a rare condition that doesn’t affect Krystal’s own health, so she’d had no idea. However, it was being passed on, leading to an imbalance in her embryos.
Specialists told her it was “making her babies incompatible with life.”Related... 'I Feel At A Constant Standstill': Life On The IVF Waiting List (By Those Who've Been There) The couple were referred to see a genetic counsellor – someone who helps patients make informed choices about genetic testing and reproductive options – and then sent to CARE Fertility in Nottingham for Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT). It was there, in 2018, that the couple had one further IVF cycle, resulting in 11 embryos. 
PGT involves testing the embryos created in an IVF cycle when they reach day five of development. A small sample is removed from each one and sent to the lab, with the embryos frozen until the results come back. The test checks for the number of chromosomes in each sample to see if they are balanced for the mother’s translocation.
For someone with Robertsonian translocation, two thirds of the embryos will have either too much or too little genetic material and will be unbalanced, resulting in miscarriage, but one third may well be viable.
In Krystal and Kevin’s case, five of 11 embryos created were found without the imbalance and, in early 2019, one of those was transferred into Krystal – the result is baby Mollie-Mae, who was born in September, weighing 7lbs 13oz.
Laughing happily, Krystal says: “This time last year, Mollie was in the freezer!”In fact, after a smooth pregnancy, Krystal actually had quite a traumatic birth with her longed-for daughter. She had to be induced at 39 weeks and Mollie-Mae was delivered using forceps. Shortly after the birth, Krystal herself suffered a massive haemorrhage, losing two-and-a-half litres of blood, and was given emergency surgery. 
But all’s well that ends well, she says. Mollie-Mae is now three-months-old, thriving and bringing her parents lots of joy. 
“This will be our first Christmas together as a family,” Krystal tells HuffPost UK. “It is strange to think that last Christmas, Mollie-Mae was in the freezer!
“In all honesty, it is still hard to get my head around the fact that she is actually here. It still feels like we are babysitting someone else’s baby and I feel like someone is going to come and take her home soon. It still feels like a dream.”While genetic testing of embryos is the subject of ethical debate in the medical community, Karen Sage, genetic counsellor and PGT consultant at CARE Fertility Group, explains that when couples have a history of recurrent miscarriage, and doctors suspect a structural rearrangement of chromosomes, a blood test for chromosome analysis can be carried out. 
“It is fantastic when this treatment works for couples who are fertile and keep suffering the tragedy of miscarriage,” she tells HuffPost UK.
“This couple have a great success story as they fortunately got an answer as to why they were having miscarriages and were offered a possible solution and had a baby on their first attempt using this technique.”
She adds: “This is the optimistic side of genetic counselling and for me, it is a joy and privilege to help patients by testing them to have a baby free of a genetic condition. When it works, it is wonderful.” Krystal’s advice for Women suffering recurrent miscarriages is to trust their gut instinct if they suspect something isn’t right. 
“When doctors told me I had just been unlucky to have had the miscarriages and to keep trying, I never accepted it, as it had happened too many times and I knew there must be a reason,” she says. “Just listen to your own body and gut instincts and keep persevering and going to the doctors.”Related... Miscarriage Is A Reality For Many Women: So Why Aren't We Talking About It More? She also advises people to “talk, talk, talk”, she says. “Try not to keep what you are going through to yourself. If your friends and family know what you are going through, then they are better equipped to understand and support you.” 
“It takes some pressure off you and allows you to vent, cry and show any emotion when you need rather than trying to always have a happy face on.”
Krystal and Kevin still have four frozen embryos from their last IVF round, giving them the option to try for another child – and a sibling for Mollie-Mae – in future. “We have another four on ‘ice’ if we want any more children in the future,” says Krystal.
But for now, they’re simply looking forward to their first Christmas together as a family and seeing all their baby’s milestones to come. 
“We are very lucky to have had a happy ending with the arrival of Mollie-Mae.”Related... The NHS Is Slowly Cancelling Free IVF – And This Is The Impact It's Having 'I Couldn't Imagine Carrying On My Pregnancy Knowing My Baby Was Going To Die' 6 Women On The Small Acts Of Kindness That Helped Them Through IVF
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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