AS Australia celebrated the 30th anniversary of test-tube babies this week, a Tweed same-sex couple praised the technology for giving them a family.
Sarah and Michelle Garnett, who have been together five years, experienced the joys of birth in 2008 when they welcomed son Ezaiah.
They are now looking forward to Michelle, 27, giving birth to their second invitro fertilisation (IVF) baby in October.
“No price can be put on the joy these much-wanted babies bring,” Sarah, who legally changed her surname to Garnett, said.
“The financial and emotional stress on couples is huge, but worth every dollar when baby arrives.”
This week marked three decades since Candice Reed, the first IVF baby was born in Australia.
Sarah, 31, said the anniversary highlighted how far equal rights had come now that same-sex couples and single women could access fertility treatment.
“The desire to have children is universal, and couples will go to great lengths to fulfil this desire,” she said.
“Some women have travelled to other countries to look into surrogacy and adoption, so it’s fantastic how the laws don’t discriminate any more.”
Working as an IVF practitioner, Sarah said she was well aware of how taxing the procedure could be.
As the owner and operator of IVF and Acupuncture in Tweed Heads South, she has experienced first-hand the trials and tribulations of IVF, which she used to help console partner Michelle during their 12 months of treatment before conceiving.
“In an ideal world every woman wants to conceive naturally, and when they can’t it’s such a hard thing for them to come to terms with,” she said.
But Sarah warned women to keep in time with their biological clocks, after new research from Australia’s national infertility support group, AccessAustralia, found fertility was a low priority for many, with more couples waiting longer to have children.
The study found just 11 per cent of women of childbearing age considered natural conception a primary concern, reducing to a mere eight per cent among those who had not had children.
Sarah, who has been specialising in IVF for two years and supplementing the procedure with her seven years experience in acupuncture, said more education was needed to alert women to their fertility ticking time-bomb.
“It saves so much stress if you have some awareness about the issue.”
AccessAustralia CEO Sandra Dill said: “We know women face challenges in finding ‘Mr Right’ and juggling career responsibilities before considering having a child, however all men and women need to be aware that age is still the number-one preventable cause of infertility.”
DID YOU KNOW?
15 per cent of Aussie couples now need help to conceive
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