Becoming a mother is a desire of many women, certainly not all, but motherhood is a very important phase in the female world. Sometimes the road is not as simple as one might think, there are many stories of women who are unable to have children and have to seek ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ help or think about adoption.
The 54-year-old, from Sydney, Australia, spent over £40,000 on multiple rounds of I.V.F before welcoming her twin daughters in August 2018. Manda Epton, 54, spent 11 years going through 23 ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs and had three ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇs before she was finally successful. The woman, living in Sydney, Australia, had always dreamt of having a family of her own and when her long-term relationship turned sᴏᴜʀ, she embarked on a ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ journey alone.
As a result of her ɪɴꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇs, Manda says she now makes the most of every single second with her girls – unlike the younger mums she sees scrolling on their phones. Manda said: “I started doing ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs when I was 39, as I’d always dreamt of having a family. I continued dating over the 10 years but always felt this pressure as I still wanted children. I decided to do it alone with the help of a sᴘᴇʀᴍ ᴅᴏɴᴏʀ ᴀɴᴅ ᴇɢɢ donor through I.V.F. I started burning through my income and savings at ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ clinics. One of the clinics referred me to a ᴘsʏᴄʜᴏᴛʜᴇʀᴀᴘɪsᴛ who told me that I needed to come to terms with the fact that I would never have children at 43.”
Manda underwent two and a half rounds of I.V.F, as the third was cancelled due to ᴏᴠᴀʀɪᴀɴ ʜʏᴘᴇʀsᴛɪᴍᴜʟᴀᴛɪᴏɴ – an ᴇxᴀɢɢᴇʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ ʀᴇsᴘᴏɴsᴇ to excess ʜᴏʀᴍᴏɴᴇs, which is a ʀᴀʀᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ of I.V.F. The mum had six ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏs ɪᴍᴘʟᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ and had two ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄɪᴇs that lasted eight weeks. She also had six I.U.I ᴅʀᴜɢ-ᴀssɪsᴛᴇᴅ ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ʀᴏᴜɴᴅs and seven I.U.I-only rounds all of which were unsuccessful, despite another eight-week ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ. Her final round of ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ at Cape Town SA, Cape ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ, included a double ᴅᴏɴᴏʀ ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ transfer which resulted in her successful twin ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ. She added: “I sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇᴅ with the ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇs and part of me wanted to give up at points, but I really wanted children of my own. I even thought about adoption, but the waiting list was seven years, and single women were at the bottom of the list.”
After witnessing her sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇ, a friend recommended Manda visit Cape ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ in Sᴏᴜᴛʜ Aꜰʀɪᴄᴀ. Not only had her friend had a successful ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ from the clinic, but it was much cheaper than what Manda was paying per ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ in Australia.
She said: “I got to choose the ᴅᴏɴᴏʀs and got to shop around. I come from a blonde hair and blue eyes background so chose a lovely ᴇɢɢ ᴅᴏɴᴏʀ from Sᴏᴜᴛʜ Aꜰʀɪᴄᴀ and got to shop around for a sᴘᴇʀᴍ ᴅᴏɴᴏʀ, eventually choosing one from Denmark. I spent £8,100 ($15,000 AUS) at the clinic and had two ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏs ᴛʀᴀɴsꜰᴇʀʀᴇᴅ, as it was my final chance and I really wanted at least one of them to be successful. I was in the stirrups like Bridget Jones during the ᴘʀᴏᴄᴇᴅᴜʀᴇ.”
After her time in Sᴏᴜᴛʜ Aꜰʀɪᴄᴀ, Manda travelled back to her home in Australia, crossing her fingers unsure if her ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ would be successful. She said: “I went to my seven-week sᴄᴀɴ, genuinely worried that I would ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀʏ again after I had a ʜᴇᴍᴀᴛᴏᴍᴀ ʙʟᴇᴇᴅ between the ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ sᴀᴄᴋs. But my eyes almost ᴘᴏᴘᴘᴇᴅ ᴏᴜᴛ of my head when the woman pointed out that there were two babies.”
Manda gave birth to her twins via ᴄ-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ in August 2018 at the age of 50 after a relatively healthy ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ. She added: “I was quite sɪᴄᴋ for the first five months of the ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ and had non-stop ᴠᴏᴍɪᴛɪɴɢ, and being an older woman, I had a lot of ɪɴᴊᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴs to help me along too. But both my girls came out perfectly happy and healthy.” Manda now spends as much time as possible with her daughters, claiming that being an older mum has many perks. She said: “I feel as though, at 54, I’m a bit wiser and don’t do technology the way younger parents do these days.”