11 women share the most surprising thing they found about IVF.

Thanks to our brand partner, Genea

Millions of couples around the world experience fertility struggles and need IVF to conceive a longed-for baby. Family, friends and the wider community often have no idea just how complex and challenging their baby-making journey can be. 

According to world leading fertility experts Genea, 40 IVF babies are born in Australia each day, proving there is definitely more than one way to make a baby.

Watch Where Babies Come From below. Post continues after video. 

Video via Genea

To mark the release of Genea’s taboo-breaking Where Do Babies Come From book and short film, Mamamia spoke to 11 women about the most surprising things they found about IVF. From the emotional to the physical effects, the joyful to the devastated feelings; these 11 women detail their rollercoaster journey of trying for a baby.

1. Tracey – Connections, hormones and the joy of ‘the phone call’

“Firstly, I was surprised by the connections I made with the other women in the clinic. It’s a strange environment and you see many other couples on quite a regular basis. You have early morning blood tests and screenings and if you are on the same cycle as someone, you may see those same people on the day of egg pick up and transfer. It’s a weird feeling, a silent sort of knowing. I met one of my nearest and dearest friends (who also has a seven-year-old) in an IVF acupuncture clinic.

“Secondly, the hormones. I was caught very off guard by how emotional I was and how completely irrational I became over little things. I remember my very first cycle; I was on a really high dosage of the hormone injections and one day I was waiting in line at a café to buy my lunch. There was a man beside me reading the paper and the noise of him turning the pages of the paper was really irritating me – so much so that I asked if he could read the paper ‘more quietly’. I look back on that and I’m so ashamed.

“Finally, I was surprised by the complete and utter joy of taking the phone call (cycle number 10) and being told I was pregnant. To this day, I can think of where I was standing, what I was wearing and the absolute terror, joy and relief I experienced!”

2. Nicola*- Insensitive comments

“We went through eight years of IVF and there were so many surprising things along the way. For me it was all-encompassing. We planned EVERYTHING around cycles, wouldn’t book holidays to exotic destinations ‘in case’ we got pregnant. 


“The most surprising was the insensitive comments from my best friends. When a cycle didn’t work out and my world came crashing down again, I would get comments like ‘bummer’, which really downplayed my feelings. I now have two children from donor eggs, and one of my best friends has talked about their ‘mother’ which really upset me. She is a donor; I am their mother.”

3. Sarah – The science and the rebates

“I was surprised (perhaps naively) at how specific the science was and what a good job the clinics do to achieve the most success possible. I was also surprised by how good the rebates were and how much we got back. I thought we were in for a very long road after reading lots of stories, but we were very lucky and got three babies from six transfers."

Image: Where Babies Come From - the film. 

4. Ann* – The impact on sex 

“I was surprised by the negative impact it had on my sex life afterwards, as I was associating it (sex) with the trauma of such invasive and often heart-breaking procedures. After many counselling sessions, we got through it. I think this happens to many women but isn’t spoken about or discussed widely.”

5. Hannah – Being granted ‘permission’ and relationship strengthening

"I remember feeling a huge sense of relief that we were finally 'granted permission' to head down the IVF path after over 12 months trying to conceive naturally and watching all of our friends fall pregnant around us. 

"Little did I know that our journey would continue for another two years: three egg collections, 10 frozen embryo transfers, a change in fertility doctor and an early miscarriage. All before we would get our baby.


"I am incredibly grateful that our story had a happy ending, I know many of them don't.   

"It was also the first time in our relationship that my husband and I were grieving something together, rather than one person grieving and the other supporting. Navigating that was a challenge, but I think has strengthened our relationship."

6. Natarscha – Nosey questions 

"We didn’t tell people until we were pregnant, but it’s amazing how many people ask you questions like: how long have you been trying? How many goes did it take? If you translate that to getting pregnant naturally, it would be the same as asking things like ‘how often are you having sex?’ to get pregnant!"

7. Abbie – Post-birth depression 

"I was surprised how the IVF journey can set you up for post-natal depression and bonding issues – there was so much expectation, wanting and yearning, and the reality was isolation, poverty, sleep deprivation, poo and spew!

"Fortunately, time and an understanding partner helped me realise how wonderful our first one was, so we went back for more. Our gems are nine and six now and are the joy and light in our lives. I love every moment of being alive with them and the struggle was worth every second of hardship."

Image: Where Babies Come From - the film.

8. Karen – The emotional rollercoaster 

"We tried for several years with no success. Our infertility was unknown which makes it all the more frustrating. It became so emotionally exhausting that we eventually gave up and focused on work and our marriage. On turning 40, I decided to give IVF one more go and amazingly I became pregnant the first time we tried. My beautiful son is now 18 and I am grateful every day. It’s an emotional roller coaster but so worth it."


9. Steph – That you are not alone

"The huge numbers of women in the waiting room of the clinic to get their blood tests surprised me. I had no idea that so many women were doing IVF because it wasn’t something that is really talked about.

"Three of the seven women in my mother's group all had IVF babies (and one other was contemplating it when she fell pregnant naturally). I often thought it’s only me going through it and I felt quite alone, so little things like this really jolted me back to reality."

10. Sarah – How fast it happened 

"At 41, I was surprised that we were successful with IVF on our first try. The IVF clinic was amazing, I felt like I was often in an episode of Private Practice! They told me how slim our chances were, but we still went ahead with it.

"The amount of procedures I had to have as far as tube dye tests, endo clean outs and then the egg retrieval was surprising, but in the end, it was all worth it."

11. Kylie – A whole team to help

"I had felt like I was floundering out there in the natural conception world, with no way of knowing if we were doing it 'right’ because we weren’t getting pregnant. 

"I felt such relief after the first IVF appointment because finally a whole team were going to help us. And they did, because we got our now 11-year-old son."

Image: Where Babies Come From - the film. 

To watch or read Genea’s Where Do Babies Come From film or book, or to find out more about Genea’s world-leading fertility services, visit their website.

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.

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