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By 2023 it is likely one child in every Aussie kindergarten classroom will be conceived via IVF.
This statistic comes from the most recent Australian New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database and it means that within just a couple of years, one child in every class of 20 children will have been conceived in an incubator, with the help of doctors, nurses and scientists.
Fertility clinic Genea have recently launched of a new film and children’s book explaining where IVF babies come from – it is the untold story of conception but that’s now about to change.
Genea Fertility General Manager, Kathleen Waite says, “For some children their parents needed a helping hand or it could have been the only way to make the magic happen. We want everyone to recognise that families are created in lots of different ways.
“We are thrilled to launch the book and film, explaining in an engaging, sometimes enlightening way how sperm and eggs are collected and develop into an embryo in an incubator. We have always been at the forefront of fertility treatment and now we’re being even bolder and taking the lead on the fertility conversation.”
Ms Waite says not only are the book and film about being honest with children and explaining where some babies come from but also educating on infertility.
“One in every six couples struggle so let’s not set the expectation that conception is always easy. We want to acknowledge that it can take a little longer or they need a helping hand to create the family they’ve always wanted.”
It’s the new children’s book explaining where IVF babies come from.
For new parents, Heidi and Dean their journey to parenthood took 12 years, several miscarriages, a diagnosis of unexplained infertility and a number of IVF attempts.
The couple worked closely with renowned OBGYN Prof John Pardey who after several rounds of IVF elsewhere referred Heidi and Dean to Associate Professor Mark Bowman at Genea, where they commenced their final cycle of IVF- and as a result have two girls Elsa-Jodi and Sianna.
“After a very long and emotional journey, we wanted to have one last attempt – it was our first and only stimulated cycle at Genea,” the couple tell Bounty Parents.
Heidi and Dean had to undergo genetic testing on their embryos to ensure a disease Heidi carries wasn’t passed on. Heidi carries a degenerative gene known as HSP (Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia) which has a 50/50 chance of being passed onto her offspring and which has paralyzing side effects.
“Having PGD meant additional steps to our treatment as well as precious time. But, it was well worth the wait,” explains Heidi.
After a 12 year journey to parenthood, Heidi and Dean welcomed their daughters Elsa-Jodi and Sianna, born two years apart.
After multiple needles and blood tests, egg and sperm collection and then genetic testing, Heidi and Dean received the news they had been hoping for – they were pregnant, Elsa-Jodi was born two years ago.
“Sianna’s story in also nothing short of a true miracle, Sianna was frozen, defrosted, refrozen and defrosted once more. And with a 30% chance of survival Sianna finally “stuck” and was born naturally in August last year (2020),” says Heidi.
“The girls names are equally a tribute to our long fertility journey,” explains Heidi.
“Elsa because she was frozen and Jodi after my best friend who suddenly passed away. Sianna because Disney star, Elsa’s little sister was Anna.
“We didn’t want to cloud our girl’s legacy, so their names were embellished a little to ensure both girls have a story of their own.”
Heidi and Dean have recently introduced the book Where Babies Come From as part of their family’s bedtime ritual as a way to help explain their girl’s journey.
“It’s important to us that both Elsa-Jodi and Sianna understand their extraordinary story.”
Breaking down the taboo around infertility and IVF, Heidi and Dean openly discuss their journey and have had the opportunity to be introduced to a growing number of other IVF families within all walks of life.
“Being really open and transparent about our conception has brought comfort to others also struggling to conceive, ultimately breaking down barriers of silence and creating lifelong friendships as result.”