My husband Michael and I did not meet till we were in our early 30’s, we both wanted to get married and have children. We married a year later and I was 4 months pregnant on our wedding day.
Our daughter Myla was born March 2011. She was our precious little baby.
Melissa with her husband Michael and daughter Myla
By the end of 2011 we started to try for another baby and soon after the doctor confirmed we were pregnant. However soon after the doctor advised the pregnancy wasn’t progressing as it should be and referred me to my obstetrician.
After many tests my obstetrician decided to open me up to see what was going on. What came next was a complete shock to us all.
My obstetrician advised that I was not actually pregnant but I had a rare form of cancer called placental site trophoblastic tumor (pstt). Basically this is cancer of the placenta. I had developed cancer in the placenta whilst I was pregnant with Myla. Given it had gone undetected so long it had grown into my uterus and after Myla had been born it took over my uterus – my uterus was full of cancer.
Unfortunately this cancer is aggressive and kills. My only option was to have a hysterectomy. My doctor advised that chemotherapy was not an option, as the cancer would most likely kill me before the chemotherapy would be successful. So less than 2 weeks after I was diagnosed I had a hysterectomy.
Soon after my hysterectomy Michael and I started looking for a surrogate. We were lucky enough to find Chloe who agreed to carry our child.
Surrogacy requires a major financial investment. You are required to attend counselling, see lawyers and of course there is the medical expense. All up we estimate surrogacy will cost us between $50,000 to $60,000.
What upsets me most is that the government denies me Medicare rebates for my IVF treatment. If I was under going IVF to carry my own child, my expenses would be about $4000, but given I require a surrogate my expenses have been close to $17,000. This is because Medicare provides me no rebates.
Right now I am so scared. Our recent IVF cycle only resulted in 2 embryos. One embryo is in my surrogate right now, hopefully growing into a pregnancy. We won’t know until Friday when we have our blood tests to see if she is pregnant. If she is not pregnant we will use our other embryo. This will be our last chance of a baby. We don’t have another $17,000 to do another IVF cycle. It’s just not fair. For $17,000 I could have had 3-4 IVF cycles with Medicare rebates and more than likely at least one of these rounds would result in a baby. But we don’t have the luxury of multiple IVF cycles, we need one of these embryos to result in a baby or our dreams of completing our family, giving Myla a sibling, is over.
We are average people; we don’t have loads of money. Like most people doing surrogacy we are redrawing on our house. This is not spare change to us; we are basically putting our house on the line to have a baby.
If the government provided Medicare rebates for IVF for people like me, it would lighten the finanical burden and pressure and help us reach our dreams.