health

'I came off the pill to try for a baby and found out I was in menopause.'

I still remember the day so vividly. 

It was April 2016. I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom sorting out “life admin” when out of the blue, a wave of heat came over my body. I started sweating profusely, and as fast as that hot flush came into my body, it left. 

I knew instantly that something was very, very wrong.

In December 2015, my now fiance and I had made the decision to start a family. I had just turned 41. I was under no illusion that it would be easy and knew that potentially I would need IVF.

But this still did not deter me from fulfilling my dream of having a family and being a mum.

Watch: The best bits about being in your 40s. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

I remember making an appointment with my GP. Bloods were taken, and then it was the agonising wait for the results. 

I will never forget the doctor going through the results with me. All of my levels showed only one thing: I was peri-menopausal. Not exactly the news any woman wants to hear when they have just stopped their contraception and entered baby-making mode.

I was referred to a fertility specialist in Melbourne. AMH results showed that I had less than one per cent of my eggs left. 

Being an only daughter in my family, it was difficult to work out if premature menopause ran in my family. My mum had a hysterectomy in her late twenties but had three miscarriages before falling pregnant. 

Natalie and her partner. Image: Supplied.

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I didn't start my periods until I was nearly 17 and was peri-menopausal by 41. The doctor even suggested that I had been peri-menopausal for quite some time - the pill had just been masking my symptoms for years. It wasn’t until I came off the pill and my body readjusted without synthetic hormones in it that the menopause kicked in.

Upon further investigation, there was a high chance that my father was exposed to Agent Orange when he was in the Vietnam War, and this potentially could have affected my egg reserve. 

Two aggressive rounds of IVF left my ovaries still fast asleep. I don't think any amount of drugs was going to wake them up to produce any eggs - my only option to have my family was to go down the path of using donor eggs.

I was told I could either purchase eggs from an egg bank or go overseas. I had no idea where to begin looking for donor eggs - I didn't know anyone young enough who potentially might donate to me, purchasing eggs from an egg bank is costly, and going overseas - where would I even start?

Whilst looking here in Australia was an option, I didn't want to wait for any long period of time. I didn't want to have to continually show up in a Facebook group and wait for a potential egg donor to contact me. 

Upon further research, my fiance and I decided to go over to South Africa. The clinic we chose is very popular amongst Australian women. The process was simple, and from the minute we locked in our donor, we were there 10 weeks later.

I was very fortunate to fall pregnant on my first transfer. I was pregnant with twins, but ended up having a heterotopic pregnancy (whereby one embryo implants in the uterus and one in the fallopian tube). After emergency surgery and nine months later, my son Jenson was born on January 26, 2018.

Listen to The Quicky's episode all about menopause. Post continues below.


I love being part of the donor egg community. I’m super passionate about supporting other families in the same situation - I know how overwhelming and daunting it can be and want to help as many families as I can, because the support is still needed after a donor-conceived child arrives.

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During COVID in 2020, I started looking for a children’s book to help explain to my son that he was donor conceived. I looked locally, but couldn't find an author here. Most of the books were either US or UK based. This led to me writing and self-publishing my debut book The Journey to You: An Egg Donation Story in September last year, helping hundreds of families tell the story of donor conception to their little ones.

Natalie's son, Jenson. Image: Supplied.

My little boy is now four years old and we often get told by strangers that there is no doubt that he is mine. This happened literally the other day when I picked him up from kindergarten: a teacher looked at me, then at my son and said, "he is definitely his mother’s son." 

Whatever your passage to motherhood may be, your love and bond with your baby is one like no other.

Natalie Hart is a proud donor egg mum and children's book author. To find out more head to her website or follow her on Facebook or Instagram at @thejourneytoyouchildrensbook. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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