"It was 2017 when my partner Tom and I started trying for a family. When nothing worked naturally, we turned to IVF. I was 38 and endured several rounds of egg collection. I remember it was Mothers Day 2018 when I peeked at my first home pregnancy test after the first transfer. It didn’t look positive. But a few days later a blood test confirmed, I was pregnant!
But at the first scan at seven weeks, the IVF staff could find no heartbeat. I was advised to book a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure to clear my uterine lining.
Following the day procedure, we scheduled another transfer. But this time, my endometrial lining just refused to thicken. A specialist was called in. There was significant uterine scar tissue. The medical label is Asherman’s syndrome –and in my case it was most likely caused by the D&C procedure.
I remember signing a disclaimer before the procedure, which stated it came with risks. But it was not until months later I understood there had been a 30 percent risk of damage in my case. I might never be able to carry a child.
I was devastated, but also angry that my chances to become pregnant had been taken away. Yet I had to keep trying. I would have to let go of the anger.
I undertook no less than ten egg collections and six failed transfers, pushing my body to the limit with a myriad medications. Nothing was working. We had hit a brick wall.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Tom’s sister Sarah in New York who knew nothing about our struggle, had a dream. In it, she was carrying a baby for us. She said nothing to Tom, but went away and researched surrogacy, even visiting her doctor to assess if she was medically suitable. She came away feeling it was a role she was destined for.
A few months later Sarah was in Australia visiting family. She came across a surrogacy branded pen from a Growing Families event in our house and stopped short.
I wasn’t around at the time, but when she queried her brother, Tom explained our excruciating IVF history. Sarah shared her dream. On the spot she offered to carry our child.
The planned logistics would be complicated, with the embryo transfer in Sydney, but Sarah in New York throughout the pregnancy, returning to Australia for the birth. A transfer took place in November 2019 and worked on the first attempt. Our long-awaited daughter was due in August 2020.
But within months, Australia’s borders were closed as the Covid global pandemic hit. Surely my sister-in-law, eight months pregnant, would not be subject to two weeks hotel quarantine on arrival in Sydney?"
Trudy will talk about what happened next and their plans to have a second child at Growing Families 2021 National Conference in Brisbane on 19-20 June.
The upcoming two day get-together is a unique event for those considering building their own family. Attendees come to get to know parents, surrogates, donors, children as well as specialist lawyers, IVF physicians, surrogacy specialists and a host of other experts in this complex field. https://www.growingfamilies.org/all-events/
Growing Families is an information and referral charity for those wanting to build family with the help of donor IVF and/or surrogacy.