Last month on the runway at Miami Swim Week, Nicole Williams English was revealed as the first rookie for the 2023 Swimsuit Issue. The model-swimwear designer also famously announced her pregnancy during the SI Swimsuit show alongside husband Larry English. With the cat out of the bag, the couple sat down and discussed their IVF experience.
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For many, IVF can be a long and arduous process. For some, one of the more difficult parts of IVF is the use of needles that are necessary for the hormone treatment prior to egg retrieval. Luckily, Nicole had her husband to help administer the shots. “I started IVF in the very beginning of 2021 and going into it I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “It was emotional because there’s a lot of unnatural drugs that you have to pump into your body. So Larry gave me needles in my stomach because I couldn’t bear it. I’m terrified of needles. The first time I was like, Oh my God, what, what, what? The second time was a little easier.”
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The first time through the process, Nicole produced 14 healthy eggs. But, by the time those eggs were fertilized and matured, the couple was left with only one healthy embryo. “That kind of blew our minds because we were like, ‘I thought we were both healthy,’ ” the 38-year-old says. Following the disappointment, the couple decided to step back from the process for a year.
“At my age, getting pregnant naturally would be very hard. And with only one embryo you have a 65% chance that that's even gonna stick,” she adds. “So, after that you have no more embryos. Then it's like, Now I’m older and going through that whole process again, my chances are even less.”
Still, the couple decided to give it another go with a new doctor. In light of their initial experience, Nicole changed the dosages of her hormone during the second IVF cycle. “I did another egg retrieval and got the same amount of eggs,” she says. “So I was like, ‘Oh dear God. What about these embryos?’ Like, I don’t know if we’re gonna get any healthy embryos.”
Fortunately, good news came in the form of a phone call. “The doctor called us and we got six healthy embryos. It was the happiest moment. I'll never forget it,” she says. “And we got half boys, half girls, exactly.” Her husband adds, “I'm proud of her, especially coming from someone who's fearful of needles.” Nicole says, “It’s so worth it in the end.”