For 10 years, Mary Coustas had a career in IVF.
Six weeks after marrying the love of her life, George Betsis, in 2005, the then 40-year-old comedian and actress – best known as Effie – was told that she couldn’t conceive naturally due to blocked tubes. IVF, doctors told her, would be her only option if she wanted to have a child.
Over the next 10 years, Mary would complete 23 rounds of fertility treatment.
Three of those attempts would be successful. And Mary now has one daughter – Jamie, who is two.
In the latest episode of Mia Freedman’s No Filter, Mary speaks with stark honestly about what it was like to live through those 23 attempts. And what she wishes she had known at the very beginning.
You can listen to the episode, here.
“There’s never been a better time in history to have children if you struggle having them naturally, than there is now,” says Mary. “But the assumption that we can just have children is a little bit of a myth beyond the age of 35.”
Mary had a miscarriage after she fell pregnant on her third IVF attempt.
She said the idea of using donor eggs was something she couldn’t handle at first, but after 15 rounds, it became her only option.
“I did 15 IVFs in Australia before I came to the conclusion that I should use donor eggs as an option. And I wish I knew 10 goes before, that was an option for me,” she said.
“One of the doctors did tell me on the phone… he said: ‘You want a baby in a cot? Donor eggs.’ In other words – are you trying to have a baby? Or are you trying to prove something to your body that your body can’t deliver on. And he was right.”
“I wish I’d known earlier that was the best option on every level…. Rather than going through what I went through….attempt after attempt and banging my head up against a brick wall of failure”
On attempt 17, Mary and George got brilliant news.
They were pregnant with twins.
“I just felt like I got everything I wanted in one pregnancy, which was child and sibling.”
But a week after finding out the happy news, they discovered that one of the embryos had split, and that Mary was in fact pregnant with triplets.