Published: 06:05, 29 August 2021
| Updated: 10:35, 31 August 2021
A racing driver has seen the end of years of heartache as he is about to become a dad.
Now Toby Trice, 30, of Deal, wants to spread awareness about infertility, and open up about his experiences, to help other childless couples.
He and his fiancée Katie Housley, 30, had been trying for their first child since 2014 and were unsuccessful with IVF treatment.
But pregnancy happened after he underwent surgery and the baby, a boy, is due this December,
He said: "After a year of trying naturally with no joy, we realised there may be an issue. At this stage, we were puzzled more than anything.
"But now It's six months after that surgery and I can now share some incredible news that Katie and I are expecting our first child. Something we never thought would happen when we were at our lowest point.”
Initially to deal with infertility both the couple underwent testing after a referral from their GP.
"We were five years into our fertility journey with no child to love and care for." Toby Trice
With no definitive answers found they were referred for IVF treatment.
Mr Trice, who went to Sir Roger Manwood's School in Sandwich, said: “We were filled with new hope at the start of IVF, it had been an emotional rollercoaster ride up until then and we really believed this was the treatment we needed.”
But that did not provide results and Mr Trice said: "It felt like our last and only hope had gone. By this time, we were five years into our fertility journey with no child to love and care for, and no real understanding of our situation.”
Katie was able to get support by confiding with close girlfriends but Mr Trice couldn't open up to his own friends.
The couple decided to take a year off, from 2019, from trying to solve their heartbreaking problem so they could recharge their batteries and rebuild emotional strength.
Mr Trice took up motor racing and built up a successful semi-professional career.
By chance he learned from racing sponsors, the pharmaceutical company LogixX Pharma, about advanced male fertility tests and took some.
He was diagnosed both with high levels of DNA fragmentation and varicocele, enlarged veins in the scrotum.
This can lower both sperm production and quality and so cause infertility.
A consultant urologist therefore recommended surgery.
By this time Mr Trice was also working with the charity Fertility Network UK, which could provide information and support. He has since become an ambassador for it.
He now says: “I really want this to be a positive message to anyone experiencing fertility issues.
"There are professionals out there that want to support you, enable you to move forward, and help you find answers.
"My initial sperm analysis test didn’t cause much concern but this progressive testing proved otherwise.
" I wonder, if these were done sooner would we have had a successful pregnancy sooner? Who knows, but what I can say is that this wonderful team around me has changed our lives.”
He advises others suffering the same problem: “Keep talking. With your partner and with others who are walking the same path. Once I opened up and found a network of support, we felt hope again.”
Mr Trice and Ms Housley plan to marry next year.
Toby Trice's regular job is as a Kent-based high-speed train driver for Southeastern, taking trains to London St Pancras.
In motor racing he is currently leading the 2021 Ginetta GT Academy championship.
Fertility Network UK offers practical advice and emotional support to anyone experiencing fertility issues.