IVF: Three women share personal stories of hope and heartbreak in the baby business.

By Ruth Fogarty and Sarah Dingle

Australia’s IVF industry is booming.

Tens of thousands of women put their bodies and faith in the hands of fertility specialists in the hopes of conceiving.

But the physical, emotional and financial toll can be huge.

Four Corners has investigated the baby business — here are three unique personal stories from women who have taken the IVF journey.

Grace and Damien. 

“Sometimes I feel like I’m a fraud of a woman. I look like one, but my body just isn’t doing what I want it to do, which is to fall pregnant and have a child,” Grace Lococo.

Grace Lococo and Damien Milloy have pinned their hopes on IVF.

They decided on using a sperm donor because Damien has a rare genetic condition, which he does not want to pass on to his own child.

After 18 months and six rounds of IVF, they are $40,000 out of pocket and Grace has not fallen pregnant once.

Grace is now on her seventh cycle, and approaching her 43rd birthday.

But the odds are stacked against them — a 43-year-old Australian woman, using her own 43-year-old eggs to conceive, has less than a 3 per cent chance of going home with a live baby.

Yet the couple said they had never been told their overall chances of conception.


“I did freeze my eggs at 42 … It was a last ditch, desperate scramble,” Julia Leigh.

In her late 30s, Julia Leigh’s career as a writer and director was taking off.

But when she began planning a family with her husband, their marriage fell apart.

Julia decided to visit a fertility clinic alone.

And like many women over 40, she believed she could defy the odds.


When she asked what her chances of becoming pregnant were, she was told 40 per cent. But that is the pregnancy rate for women of all ages who reach a certain stage of treatment.

After years on the IVF treadmill, the physical and emotional toll was immense.

For Julia, the hardest decision was knowing when to stop.

Now at 46, Julia is adjusting to life without her own child.

And she is critical of the fact she did not receive a more honest assessment of her true chances of giving birth.

Carly and Rob

“We were certainly promised a lot, we were told not to stress and it would be quite easy,” Carly Lee.

Carly and Rob Lee have been visiting an IVF clinic for six years.

Rob is 33 and Carly is only 28, but she has polycystic ovarian syndrome — a condition that can affect fertility.

Carly did four rounds of hormone injections over four months.

When these failed, she was put on much higher doses, which made her ill for weeks.

Two years ago, Carly became pregnant but she miscarried at seven weeks.

The couple said they were never given counselling and Carly struggled with depression.

Neither felt they fully understood their real chances of having a live birth, and they criticised the “one-size-fits-all” approach they experienced.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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