Sarah and David

Dear Fellow Traveller,

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. If you are reading this, chances are you know exactly what I am talking about. Our infertility was age related and we had almost given up hope of having a baby. Previously in pursuit of our dream we had seen several other fertility specialists in Sydney. They treated us with scarcely concealed scorn. Then, by complete chance I happened upon a small web site which gave me Denyse Asher's name and contact details. I summoned my courage and called her. This telephone call, made on a hot January afternoon some six years ago, was to change David's and my life in the most wonderful of ways. This call was the start of a journey which resulted in the birth of our precious son. You too may be about to start on your own journey; perhaps in some small way by sharing our experience you may be positively encouraged to pursue your dream.

During the initial phone calls and consultation Denyse explained the various options available at the clinic that she runs with Dr Joel Bernstein. From this very first time I spoke with Denyse and every other time I have spoken with her over six years, Denyse has treated me with genuine respect, understanding, optimism, compassion, untold kindness and complete professionalism. Most importantly she offered us hope that our dream was possible. Denyse is an exceptional woman. She has combined scientific and medical excellence with 21st century vision. Denyse has put together a project and a team which in our view is unique and without comparison in the Southern Hemisphere. I have seen with my own eyes the results of the amazing success rate that has been achieved by this very special clinic.

One of the options available involved participating in a donor egg scheme with an affiliated clinic in Athens. At first the idea seemed too much to comprehend with multiple factors to consider including the enormity of the distance, seeking medical intervention in a foreign country, a foreign language, an unknown clinic; all of this superimposed on the inherent stresses of IVF. After thinking about it for quite a while we realized that it really was worthwhile trying; we decided to travel to Greece.

David and I made a first trip to Greece in the late summer of 2003 to make deposits of his sperm to be frozen and thus readily available when our turn on the programme came up. On our first trip to Greece we fell in love with its culture, food and wine, its kind people and the ancient hills which frame a distant backdrop to Athens. We swam and frolicked in the crystal clear waters of the Greek islands. On our return to Sydney the waiting time went surprisingly fast, but oftentimes at work or in the shower my thoughts would wander back to Greece imagining that out embryos would soon be ready. One day the following April we received a phone call from Denyse. We had some embryos in Athens!

Denyse and Dr Bernstein were painstaking and rigorous in the medical protocol and preparation necessary for our trip to Athens. They were extremely careful and meticulous in this part of the exercise to ensure that we fully understood the process. Through the highs and the lows Denyse and Dr Bernstein and their loyal support staff were always there to answer queries and to guide and support us towards our goal. This was always done with kindness, expertise of the highest order and plenty of good humour. David and I traveled to Athens again in October of 2004 for our first attempt. We were excited and nervous. I was filled with hope while David was magnificent in dealing with the all of the travel arrangements as well as accommodation, taxis and helping me find chemists in Athens which close at the strangest of times.

Our first attempt did not work. We were bitterly disappointed and sad. We decided to have another attempt. Because of a particular medical condition that developed I had to visit Dr Bernstein's clinic countless times to be physically ready to receive the transferred embryos. During this time I came to know Dr Bernstein very well. I have utmost respect and admiration for him both as a medical practitioner and as a wonderful man. He practices medicine with great expertise, intelligence, confidence and with wisdom born out of decades of experience and as he used to joke he has the 'patience of a fisherman'.

In the autumn of 2005 we traveled to Athens again for a second attempt. This time I was more familiar with the process, the doctors and staff at the Athens clinic and the protocol for the intensive regime of medication that is required. I was completely shocked but overjoyed when 2 weeks after the transfer, Denyse, brimming with excitement told me that the pregnancy test was positive. Our joy was truly shared by Denyse and Dr Bernstein and their staff. At 38 weeks our darling son was born. He has brought so much happiness and joy to our life. He is now 2 and half years old and he grows more gorgeous every day as he learns new words and plays and laughs and learns about this world.

What a journey! It was not all smooth sailing, IVF challenges every emotion and your inner strength, but throughout the entire time we knew that we had received the very best of fertility specialist care available with Denyse and Dr Bernstein. We have been blessed with our son and are grateful for the gift of his birth every day. It is due to their combined dedication, vision and medical excellence that our dream came true.

We sincerely hope that yours does too.

Sarah and David