05 Jul Marni – Australia
I am a single, 45 year old woman living in Melbourne, Australia. A year ago, I found myself in the heartbreaking situation of being unmarried, and desperately wanting a family, yet finding out that it may be already too late because at my age the chances of having my own biological child was less than 3%. Even so and with much hope, I endured 3 unsuccessful IVF attempts using my own eggs and donor sperm in a Melbourne IVF clinic. It was a devastating experience.
I have up on the idea of using my own eggs. But my desire for children led me to seek psychological help, and gradually I came to terms with using a donor embryo (egg and sperm). Even so, the path to using donor embryo in Australia is fraught with difficulties:
The waiting time in an IVF clinic in Australia for an anonymous donor egg is about 2 years. I looked at online directories with couples willing to donate their embryos immediately, only to find none were willing to donate to 40+ single woman, and almost all wanted contact with the child, which I felt was tantamount to being relegated to becoming a ‘babysitter’ for another couple’s child. Because of these difficulties, I felt defeated yet again. It just all seemed so hard! My IVF doctor in Australia and friends started recommending that I go overseas. I had also heard that Australian TV personalities Mary Coustas and Tania Zaetta had gone to Greece and had donor babies as a result of successful IVF treatments.
I did some simple research and found Athens IVF Center. Their website was professional and informative. I then arranged a 15 minute skype appointment and spoke directly to Dr Vasileos Athanassiou, their lead doctor. I immediately recognised him as kind, caring and knowledgeable. He answered all my questions. I felt comfortable and decided to go ahead with a donor IVF treatment at this clinic. Well, I must say what an easy and reassuring experience it was! Once you sign up, they immediately assign you with a ‘Chief Listening Officer’, a kind lady by the name of Konstantina. She stayed in contact with me by email throughout my whole preparation phase in Australia; she was clear on what steps to take and medications required, and she was reassuring when I was stressed, worried and had doubts. She was also served as the liaison point between myself and Dr Athanassiou. I also had an awesome support doctor in Australia, by the name of Dr Hossam Elzeiny.
The time finally came for the final part of IVF cycle – the transfer, which was done in Greece by Dr Athanassiou. I was absolutely amazed at the professionalism of his whole team of nurses, administrative staff and embryologist. The transfer itself was a reassuring experience and I felt well-cared for throughout, and I even have a photo of the embryos before and after transfer! I am now 6 weeks pregnant and although its early days, I am excited!
Thank you again to Dr Athanassiou, Konstantina, Maria the embryologist and the nurses and admin staff at Athens IVF Center.
I have since learned that Dr Athanassiou is a world class IVF specialist and I feel so very lucky to have him as my IVF doctor. I would definitely recommend this clinic and Dr Athanassiou to anyone who, like me, wishes to try IVF oversesas.