Christmas is a special time for families to get together – but for one family in particular, the holiday season is more important than ever before.
Tory Gervay, 36, from Sydney, Australia, had been trying to have a baby for years with one unsuccessful IVF attempt after another.
Thankfully, this Christmas is one to celebrate, as it’s the first one Tory will spend with her daughter who was born via a surrogate in America.
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Daily Star spoke to Tory about the impact the six failed IVF attempts had on her family and how their lives have changed since Violet was born.
“At the age of 31 I decided to freeze my eggs due to declining fertility due to age and medical conditions,” Tory told us.
“It became an obsession with wanting to keep trying to get more eggs after each attempt. Each time I was told I would have 15 to 20 eggs so when that didn’t happen I would feel like I wanted to try again because I knew I had the ability to have more collected.
“Physically I felt exhausted and bloated. Particularly towards the end of the cycles, after 18 to 21 days on high hormones, I would hardly have the energy to get out of bed.”
Tory had a yearning for a child and her mother – Susanne – made a pact with her that she’d be beside her on her journey.
The Australian IVF process proved to be harsh, as it took four years of endless injections, hormones, surgeries for egg retrievals and difficult recoveries after each one.
Sadly, Tory was told by her doctor that the option of her carrying her own baby was a serious risk.
She explained that Tory would face dialysis during pregnancy and a kidney transplant after the birth. She would have seven months in the hospital with an early delivery.
Medical complications also meant her baby would not thrive and there was the further risk of her dying.
Since Tory going through IVF herself wasn’t working, the only option she had left was to go through surrogacy in the US.
Tory didn’t want to let her dream of becoming a mother die, so ended up selling a property to finance it.
In America, surrogacy is quite common and it was one of the few countries that allowed the 36-year-old to proceed as a single woman.
“I was able to be on the birth certificate which is the only country that allows that,” she explained.
“They are very advanced when it comes to surrogacy and I felt safe doing it there. I became good friends with my surrogate Misty, and for the year and a half before the transfer, we spoke regularly.
“I got to know her very well and trusted her to do a good job and that she really had my best interests at heart.”
Tory spent three months in the USA during this time, where he selected a sperm donor and gave the American doctors three fertilised eggs. Then she waited for the birth of her daughter.
Fast-forward to now, she will be spending her first Christmas with her baby – and she can’t wait.
“This means everything to me! Violet has brought the whole family together and everyone adores her,” she said.
“Violet is amazing, I have never met a more smiley and friendly baby. I have lucked in for sure!”
While the struggle was worth the birth of her daughter, Tory wishes that the IVF process for many would change.
She wishes that women were warned about what to expect and look for when finding an IVF clinic.
“I went into it completely unaware and learnt the hard way. I would highly recommend going to the US for IVF over Australia, for those who could afford it,” she explained.
“IVF in Australia is completely different to the US. I was blown away at home much better and more advanced it is there.
“In Australia, we hear only of the successes and a lot of people do not realise how many rounds [of IVF] some women go through.
“It is upsetting to see doctors continuing to proceed with cycle after cycle with no hope, rather than to be honest and tell their patients they are not able to have any success.
She added: “I know of women who have had to sell their homes and still have not ended up with a baby.”
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