OPINION

IVF will never be quite as simple as ABC

IVF will never be quite as simple as ABC

As I write this, there will be Australians at every stage of IVF.

There will be couples - and singles - making decisions.

There will be women taking folic acid to prepare themselves for pregnancy.

There will be people getting injections, having eggs harvested, embryos implanted and most of all, there will be lots of people waiting.

I have been down that road. Six times.

I can remember the news about "test tube babies" when I was about eight.

It seemed a strange new world, people were confused and scared of this change - a baby "made" outside the body.

Was it real? Was it safe? Was it right?

I could not have comprehended that 20 years later it would be me sitting in the doctor's waiting room, visiting daily for hormone injections, taking a step into the unknown.

I knew when I got married at 25 that we could not have children. It didn't seem much of a concern.

But it became a wish, a desire and, as IVF progressed, an obsession.

I remember having to leave crying after watching mums and their bubs in the supermarket - mums swinging kids' hands on the way home from school, and one horrible day, late for work, sobbing in a park because, yet again, IVF had not worked.

I remember clearly the brown paper bags that held the pregnancy test kits, hidden in the drawer and forbidden for two weeks until after the procedure.

I remember clearly that single line only on the pregnancy test.

One line only - five times over. We gave up. I felt like I had been ripped apart.

About four years later, when life took a crazy and unlovely bend, we decided to try again, and it worked.

Our daughter - as an embryo - had been frozen for those four years, a life smaller than a frozen pea, just waiting.

Recently, she turned 15.

It was the new YourIVFSuccess website that brought it back. I took a look at the site, even tried out the success estimator out of curiousity - too old to be considered as it turns out.

And then I read that one in 20 babies born in Australia are now IVF kids. But while IVF is now considered "mainstream", the human rollercoaster does not change.

I think of you today, parents on the IVF journey, and of what you are going through. Hold on tight to yourselves and, if you can, to each other.

As for me, I have never taken a test tube - or really a petri dish - for granted again, or the wonderful doctors that helped us produce our own miracle.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in Gunnedah, New South Wales.

This story IVF will never be quite as simple as ABC first appeared on The Canberra Times.