At 24 years old, after having watched my own Mother battle breast cancer multiple times, I was told that I was a BRCA1 carrier.
Having been by my Mum’s side throughout her journey, I decided that I was going to take the opportunity to free myself of a future full of concern that I might someday face the same fate as my mum. In 2014 I underwent a double mastectomy to reduce my risk.
My beautiful mother passed away in 2015.
Fast forward several years and I had met my love and together we decided it was the right time to start a family.
But burning in the back of my mind was my worry that I may well pass my BRCA1 gene onto our future children, and we agreed that if IVF was the only option to stop this, it was the only road we were willing to take.
However, the only way we could afford to start IVF was by accessing my super. Using a specialist company who supports couples like us, looking to start a family by accessing their super, we moved through the motions of applying which also included a mental health assessment.
From here, we finally got the green light and were ready to start the road to becoming a family of three.
The process of IVF took quite a while to begin, as they began to identify the genetic profile of a BRCA1 carrier in our family. This involved taking both a sample of my Father and my Mothers DNA. We all agreed that Mum would have been so incredibly honoured to have been able to help in some way to bring our child into this world.
A few months later we were onto egg harvesting, where they managed to capture 21 eggs. From here, they created seven embryos, however only three were BRCA free. Despite the bad side effects, I experienced as a result of the medications, I was determined to keep going, with the dream of becoming a mother the biggest thing keeping me on course during this journey.
Heartbreakingly, the first embryo transfer didn’t work, and the embryo didn’t ‘implant’ so about four months later we got ready to give it another go. Within five days of the implantation of the embryo when found out I was pregnant – my partner and I were overwhelmed with joy!
While the pregnancy journey itself was a little unpleasant, each day I was truly grateful for and this was reminder how lucky I was to be pregnant and to soon become a mother.
Ivy Raina was born nine months later, a beautiful, happy, baby girl, who we absolutely adore and who will live a life FREE from fear of cancer.
I think the biggest lesson I learnt along the way on my IVF journey is that talking to people around you is so incredibly important. Everyone can provide varying levels and types of support during your journey, but it starts with you in reaching out. From the people who helped us to get access to our super, through to the family and friends that were there when we announced our pregnancy – there will always be someone out there willing to help.
And in all of this, don’t forget your partner. Because together you’re a team, and the biggest support you’ll ever have is each other.
This content is brought to you in partnership with Conceive Please.