Making IVF babies

Rachel and Stuart Maloney’s small townhouse at Pottsville on the northern NSW coast is a happy home. Wedding pictures hang on the walls and colourful toys are scattered through the living room where toddler Nate plays chasey with his dad. This joyful scene of family life has not come easy. In 2007, Stuart and Rachel were devastated to learn that they were both infertile. ”That night, we both came home and just howled. It was such a big kick,” says Rachel, a 32-year-old paediatric nurse.

Stuart says the way the news was delivered added to the blow. His doctor walked into the room and bluntly declared: “You’ve got big troubles. You basically have one good sperm.” Stuart says this ”made me feel about an inch tall”.

Like most illnesses, infertility does not discriminate. But somehow it makes people feel they are part of a brutal natural selection process that prevents the weakest from reproducing their inferior genes. It also has a cruel way of making well-matched couples feel they may not be truly compatible. Says Rachel, ”I often think, in a way, that, as hard as it has been, I’m glad it was both of us that had problems because if it was just me, I would have felt as though Stu should go and find someone else.”

The Maloneys borrowed most of the $30,000 they have spent on IVF to become pregnant with Nate. While they don’t regret a cent of it and believe they have received good care, they still wonder why the often repetitive procedures cost so much. ”The thing that always pulls me up is the embryo transfer,” Rachel says. ”It costs about $3000 and it’s a bit like a pap smear. They basically pop a speculum in and use a catheter to squirt the embryo in with some sterile water. It takes about 15 minutes. The doctor is there, so we’re obviously paying for his time, but the embryo has already been created and we pay storage fees of about $160 every six months to keep them frozen. A scientist obviously has to prepare the embryos, but $3000 for a 15-minute procedure? That really gets me.” Continue reading



Additional reading

News category: Features.

Tags: , , , , , , ,