At the age of 36, after losing her fallopian tubes, a divorce and 11 cycles of IVF, Shannon Fitzgerald is a single mum by choice to three beautiful babies. This is her story, in her own words.
I know that it’s a cliché, but having children was always what I was meant to do.
Right from my very first memory I wanted children. You could ask my parents and friend. I know that they would tell you the same thing. I always had a knack with babies and children and I always wanted to be around them. I worked in childcare for a long time and always babysat my friends’ children. I was always at my neighbours’ homes wanting to help with their babies. There was no way in this world was I not going to be a mum some way or another.
I married my now ex-husband in 2002 and we decided to try straight away for children. It just didn’t happen. My first pregnancy was ectopic and I was rushed to hospital where the baby and my tube were removed. Not long after, my remaining tube had to be removed after twisting and hemorrhaging.
I gave myself a five years to enjoy single life, working, travelling and living, before I would make a decision to have children. Those years came and went and eventually, at 36 years, I decided I wanted to have a baby and made the decision to use donor sperm and have a child on my own.
After my first egg removal (40 eggs) I got very sick and was taken to hospital. I had Ovarian Hyperstymulation – a life threatening condition. Once that was over all of the IVF attempts failed. It was really hard, but I kept most of it to myself. I used to get the news – ring to tell my parents and best friend then sit in the car and have a cry. Then I would pick myself up and get on with it. It was so frustrating as you are injecting yourself two to three times a day plus getting blood tests every few days. I don’t think at any stage I was ready to give up but I definitely felt heart broken after every attempt.