Jane Torvill will always be remembered for her elegant dance performance at the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics with Christopher Dean who she teamed up with in 1975. The performance is a celebrated achievement in British sport. 24 million people are estimated to have viewed it. Yet, behind the poised skater was a mother who was saddened by what happened to her.
In an interview on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories in 2013, Torvill, 64, tried to hold back tears as she revealed the details of the ectopic pregnancy she had in her forties.
Ectopic pregnancy, which can become life-threatening, is when a fertilised egg becomes implanted outside the womb, typically inside a fallopian tube.
Torvill said: “I got pregnant quite quickly and I thought, ‘Oh, this is fine.’ And when I went to have a scan they said I had an ectopic pregnancy, and I didn’t know what that meant.
“They said, ‘The embryo’s growing in one of the tubes.’ And I said, ‘Oh, ok, so how do you get it out then?’ And they said, ‘We don’t. We can’t.’ So that’s when it hit me.”
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The result of an ectopic pregnancy is that the egg does not develop into a baby and continuing the pregnancy is a health risk.
The pregnancy usually has to be removed through medication or an operation.
Describing her own experience dealing with the pregnancy, she said: “I went through the surgery and then it was obvious it was going to be more difficult. So we tried IVF for about a year. That, as a lot of women know, is traumatic in itself.’”
In the UK, around one percent of pregnancies are ectopic, roughly 11,000 pregnancies per year, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG).
The NHS states that symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy tend to occur between weeks four and 12 of the pregnancy.
However, sometimes there are no symptoms, making diagnosis difficult.
“Because symptoms vary so much, it is not always straightforward to reach a diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy,” state the RCOG.
However, some of the potential symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are:
After her IVF treatment, Torvill decided to adopt children instead.
With her husband Phil Christensen, she has adopted two children, Kieran and Jessica.
The NHS recommends calling 999 for an ambulance or attend your nearest A&E if you experience a combination of these symptoms:
If untreated, ectopic pregnancy can have fatal consequences such as life-threatening bleeding.
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