Anna and Rebecca Magdalinos (George to her friends) chat to express about their journey to parenthood with their 2-year-old daughter Abi, and their experience with Fertility Plus who offer both public and private fertility consultations and treatment.
When Anna and George tied the knot in 2016 after being together since 2011, they soon realised that having a child and starting a family was one of their top priorities, “When we met, we were already on the older side for fertility,” says Anna. “We were realists, and knew what we wanted. We began talking about having children reasonably early on in the relationship.”
“I knew I was going to marry Anna after the first date,” George explains. “I also knew the fertility journey was long, so there was no point in wasting time. Although I was keen to be a mum, I wasn’t that keen on carrying the baby, so no discussion about that was needed.”
After making the decision to pursue their dreams of parenthood, Anna says, “Our first step on the fertility journey was actually as an egg donor. We had friends that had been struggling so I donated my eggs to them. After that, we opted to go on the donor insemination waiting list.”
“We wanted to get pregnant as naturally as possible, and IVF is expensive. But we were on the waiting list for a year and didn’t make any progress. We decided to fund IVF, which opens up more available donor sperm as their swimming quality doesn’t matter,” says Anna.
“We had to pay for three rounds of IVF and when those failed we were able to be funded through the public system on the grounds of infertility.” “When you get public funding you go into a draw for a clinic which meant we then moved from one clinic to Fertility Plus,” George explains. “There was no donor available initially and at this point, it was suggested we find our own, but we didn’t want to be a three-parent family, we wanted to use a clinic donor.”
Despite their initial challenges, Anna says their luck soon changed, “Luckily, a clinic donor did become available and while we were waiting for the IVF funding we did two rounds of donor sperm insemination (DI). On the second try, we fell pregnant.” “When the clinic called to tell me I kept asking ‘are you sure?’ because I was so used to being told otherwise!” adds George.
Following finding out they were expecting, the couple soon realised the journey had only just begun! “Early on in the pregnancy, I drove George mad, convinced I’d lost the baby on a daily basis, especially as I had no morning sickness. But the baby and the pregnancy were fine,” says Anna.
George adds, “But you’re so used to regular testing when going through fertility treatment, suddenly we weren’t doing tests all the time.” “All the rules I set myself for supporting Anna during the delivery went out the window the minute she started to push. I said I wouldn’t look at the action end, that I wouldn’t cut the cord … but in the moment things change.”
“Anna was a legend, and the nervousness I felt about not being able to bond with a baby that had none of my genetics was instantly vaporised when our daughter Abi arrived. At that moment we became an instant family.”
“At one point I looked over and saw George in a chair with Abi asleep on her chest,” says Anna. “That was an amazing moment I will always remember. We suddenly had this creature that needed us both.”
Anna and George say that the experience has made them closer as a couple, and highlighted how strong they are together. “We make a great team,” George says, “Back home Anna expressed milk and I took the night shift with feeding so I was intimately involved from the start. Anna took six months of parental leave and I took three. I’ve never felt left out.”
Both Anna and George are legally Abi’s parents, the only minor hiccup coming when filling out the form for the Birth Certificate. “When we filled out the birth certificate I just filled out the ‘dad’s’ section and asked for it to be changed to read parent/parent,” George explains.
Being first time parents George explains that the first year certainly had its challenges for the couple. “The first year was insane, and I’d recommend anyone going through fertility to make good use of the counselling on offer at the start. The Fertility clinic was so supportive, and the more you talk about the process the more you normalise it.”
Anna and George say that talking about our experiences will help others, and encourage kind-hearted people to look into becoming donors.
The couple say that the key bit of advice they would give to other couples hoping to enter into this journey would be to protect yourself – “don’t pin all your hopes on the first try.”
“Would we go for number two? Well that’s a million-dollar question,” explains Anna.
“We’re both 41 now, and the process is gruelling and expensive. There are no happy accidents in a same-sex relationship. We are working on it – we only have enough donor sperm for one more attempt. That being said, we are incredibly happy with our little family, it’s perfect as it is, if it grows then that will be amazing. Abi is our focus, watching her grow, learn and develop into the incredible little human she is.”
“We would encourage you to consider being a donor, it’s an amazing gift and there are so many caring, loving people wanting to start families. Fertility Plus have an incredible team of people that work so hard to make dreams come true. Anyone considering a donation, can we strongly suggest you reach out to the Fertility Plus team.”
Fertility Plus is currently seeking men under the age of 46, and women under the age of 36 who are in good health, to help create families by donating sperm or eggs. If you would like more information please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Fertility Plus provides comprehensive fertility assessment and treatment services both public and private. You can call Maree on (09) 630 9943 – ext 27520 to discuss your options.