I always thought that time was on my side. I was “youngish”, fit and healthy and looked many years younger than I actually was.
What I did not realize was that my eggs were not as young as I felt. When I initially reached out to my GP, he assured me that as long I was having periods, I could have a baby. Unfortunately, this information was incorrect. When I consulted a Fertility Specialist , I was given the cold, hard facts and they were not encouraging at my age.
I thought that IVF would be the solution, but this was not the case. IVF cannot overcome aged eggs. After a few attempts, donor eggs were mentioned. I could not get my head around this concept and it took many months of talking to family and friends to have the courage to reach out and find out a little more about this.
I was in touch with Denyse from Donor Eggs Australia. She spent the most inordinate amount of time with me, explaining my particular situation, the physiology that this entailed, their programme of using fresh donor eggs only and the options available to me. She sent information out to me and I was in touch many times and she was always available to answer my questions and understood the situation I was in mentally, physically and socially.
Then COVID hit our shores. In the beginning, I thought that things may be delayed by a few months but as we all know, this has turned into close to 20 months of shut borders. After being initially very frightened, my enduring desire to have a baby overcame whatever obstacles were in front of me. I decided to see whether I could get permission to leave the country to go through the programme for donor eggs overseas. Denyse was able to lobby on my behalf with the Department of Home Affairs and I obtained permission to travel.
I left in September 2020 to go to Greece. Everything had been planned down to the last detail and co-ordinated by Donor Eggs Australia and the Greek Clinic. I underwent my treatment at the Clinic, luckily being able to work online with my job in Australia and returned into Hotel quarantine which was not as bad as I had anticipated.
I have been rewarded by giving birth to my daughter in June this year and she has brought so much joy and happiness to our family especially during this last lockdown.
I cannot even express my gratitude to Denyse, Nikki and Dr Bernstein for seeing me through this programme with such attention to detail, care and concern. I even have embryos left over to try again when I am ready. If Covid has taught me anything, it is to seize every opportunity when it presents and never to put off for tomorrow, what can be done today.
My husband and I had already had a son through Donor Eggs Australia and their program in Cape Town. Our wonderful donor in South Africa had been through a cycle on our behalf in early 2018 and we were so excited and delighted that it had worked for us first time.
Our visit to Cape Town in 2018 was just sheer pleasure. The Clinic was organized, friendly , polite and made us feel at home on our first visit. We, of course, were nervous and anxious. Nikki had explained everything to us in such detail and everything was synchronized by Donor Eggs Australia. There was literally no detail that they had not covered with us and we had so many questions which were answered so patiently and in detail that we felt very well looked after, both here in Australia and in Cape Town. Cape Town is an exquisite city to visit.
We fully intended to have a small gap between our children as we had been through so many years of infertility with no success. We wanted to return to Cape Town in 2020 to try and have a sibling for our son who was thriving and growing day by day.
Everything was in place for our travel at the end of March 2020 and I remember first hearing about a virus around February 2020, but I gave it no further thought as I had heard about SARS before and it had never really affected us here in Australia. How wrong we were. Australia started to talk about closing borders and this happened 10 days before we were due to leave. We were devastated when this happened but were also horrified at what we were seeing happening in the northern hemisphere. We really believed that this would be controlled, and we would soon be back to normal.
As the situation dragged on and on, we really lost hope that we would be able to travel to Cape Town for a quick embryo transfer. We were in touch with Nikki and Denyse constantly. They were ready to help us get to Cape Town and the Clinic in Cape Town remained open throughout. We decided that we would see if I could travel by myself for a quick embryo transfer in Cape Town and we set about trying to get permission to travel. With a special letter from Dr Bernstein and Donor Eggs Australia, I obtained permission to travel and I went out to Cape Town in December 2020. The Clinic is in the grounds of a hospital and their infection control was superb and I felt safe. This was a short visit due to only being a frozen embryo transfer and I was back on the plane before I knew it! I had to go into quarantine and fortunately I was put in a NSW Health Facility which was an apartment with a separate bedroom and living room. I needed more of my medication and Nikki was so kind to drop off the medication for me. Because there were nurses and doctor on site, I was able to get a blood test at the correct time. To say that I was excited when I got a positive pregnancy blood test would have been the understatement of all time !! My husband too was over the moon, but we could not even have a hug as I was by myself in quarantine. However, we were able to go for our first pregnancy scan together and were so excited to see a lovely , healthy heartbeat at our first scan.
The cherry on top was that we gave birth to our daughter and sister in September this year and our family is complete. We are so grateful to our very special egg donor who made our dreams come true and to Dr Bernstein, Nikki and Denyse who assisted us every step of the way, despite all the unprecedented world events, we were able to proceed and be successful.
BD & HD (2021)
Looking back at New Year, we were so excited to get the results of our Morphology pregnancy scan…. We are having 2 boys! After the early months of morning sickness and low blood pressure, this wonderful news added to my wellbeing and I started to feel much better. In a blink of an eye, in May this year, we welcomed our two sons into the world – the fulfilment of all of our dreams, after a very long and tough journey. Thank you Nikki, Denyse and Dr Bernstein for being so positive when we were feeling so negative, we were so lucky that it worked the first time and with the bonus of twins! We will definitely be taking our twin boys back to South Africa as Cape Town holds a special place in our hears and we want the twins to know where their special egg donor came from. To our egg donor, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts – you have truly changed our lives forever with your kind gift.
GW & VR
It had always been on top of my list of cities to visit, so for me, Cape Town was an easy choice and I was certainly not disappointed. I reached out, as a single, 44 year old lady , with a failed marriage behind me. I found nothing but understanding, kindness and compassion from Donor Eggs Australia. No judgement, just gentle, methodical management, that looking back, as I get ready to have my little girl, I still cannot believe that it all went so smoothly and that I achieved my pregnancy with my first attempt. Denyse and Nikki gently guided me, under the expert auspices of Dr Joel Bernstein, with my testing, medication and planning with such quiet efficiency and there was never a call that was not answered or returned. The passion of Dr Bernstein, Nikki and Denyse for assisting patients in achieving their goal is unparalleled and nothing like anything that I have experienced with any of the local IVF Clinics. The Clinic in Cape Town was superb and I could not have been treated better. Thank you, thank you , thank you .
As a Scientist myself, I immediately connected with Denyse when I pluck up the courage to call Donor Eggs Australia. Her enthusiasm for her work and a deep knowledge of the processes, as well as extensive experience in this field, immediately put my mind at ease. I was going to be walking this path alone, as a single parent. I had achieved so much in my career, but looking back at my personal life, I felt sad about some of the choices I had made at the time and possible opportunities that I had missed. Denyse was so re-assuring that I could move forward at this time and I came up to Sydney to meet the Donor Eggs Australia team, Dr Bernstein, Nikki and Denyse. We met in a relaxed , beautiful room and chatted about the process from beginning to end, as I was going to move through the process. I also had the opportunity, on that day, to meet with the lovely Counsellor, Bev, who was able to put my mind at ease. The whole experience, from start to finish , was professional, efficient, kind and caring. I have chosen not to know the gender of the baby I am expecting in February 2020 but what I do know is that 2020 is going to be an incredibly special year for me as I launch myself into motherhood, something I have been longing to do for so long. All I can say, is do not doubt yourself and do not hesitate to reach out.
We finally have our family complete and it's all thanks to Dr Bernstein, Denyse and their staff at Donor Eggs Australia. After many many years of trying to create a family, we were finally put it touch with Denyse.
P and R
With a lump in my throat I write this today to thank Denyse and Dr Bernstein for their help with changing our lives. Emily is now 2 and has brought such joy and love to our lives and to all ...
D and M
To Denyse and all the team at Dr Bernstein's:
We would like to thank you so much for our miracle baby Joshua. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about the lady who donated her eggs and how wonderful she must be.
D & T
The whole experience, from when we first met Denyse and then Dr Bernstein, to the birth of our twin girls, for us, was a miracle.
F and Y
Before we came to Dr Bernstein and met Denyse, we had undertaken approximately 12 IVF cycles at two well known clinics in Sydney and the Metropolitan area. Out of these cycles, one was successful. The other 11 were not, but...
KB and DF
My husband and I have been so priviledged to be able to become parents using donor eggs. The thought of joining a donor egg programme was so daunting, but once we had been in touch with Denyse at Dr Joel Bernstein, they quickly put...
M & L.
Sometimes it isn't easy to put into words feelings and emotions. Our son , Nicholas, is a perfect example of this. For us, the chance to have another child ( our eldest son is our biological child ) seemed an impossibility - then we met...
We have come to realise that there is no greater gift than life and the greatest joy we have found is holding our precious child, no matter by what means they have come into our life.
S & G
The causes of infertility are many and varied. It does not really matter what the cause is, the reality is the intense longing for a baby which can dominate your life.
Sarah and David