Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 12th 2013 Contents Linda's Tale
Infertility can be a lonely medical condi-
tion, especially since it's not something
that you want to share with everyone. As
Linda explained, one of the hardest parts
of struggling to get pregnant is putting on
a brave face.
"When you realise that getting pregnant
is not as easy for you as it is for some, you
get the feeling that we live in a child-cen-
tred world and it sometimes leaves you
feeling more depressed," says Linda, a 36-
year-old teacher from Arima.
"You're surrounded by families every-
where you go and it's harder because
you're in a time of your life when all your
friends are having children. And everyone
is always asking you when you'll have
yours. Pretending that everything is fine
can consume a lot of energy."
Linda and Laura had worked together for
seven years, and while they discussed
many personal things with each other,
their battle with infertility was never one
"While there was nothing wrong with
me, my husband has a low sperm count
that it made it impossible to conceive nat-
urally. Of course, when we found out, we
were in denial. We tried everything from
diet to drugs to help, but nothing worked,"
"We eventually sought help from the
Barbados Fertility Centre (BFC) and they
suggested In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and
even offered us a way to use my husband's
With IVF, an egg is fertilised by sperm
outside the body and then implanted in the
woman's uterus. Recent research has
shown that infertility in both men and
women is on the rise globally; with statis-
tics showing one in every six couples will
have difficulty conceiving. BFC is accred-
ited by the Joint Commission International
(JCI) --- the US health facility accreditation
programme that sets international health-
care industry standards.
"The process itself was very difficult, es-
pecially with all the things you have to go
through from the injections to the surgery;
I was stressed out and ready to give up so
when I bumped into Laura at the clinic,
seeing her brought hope and a sense of re-
lief that I wasn't alone. In the end, I con-
sider it a modern miracle because medical
technology has made me a mother, and my
amazing son is living proof of that. When I
look at him, I am filled with an immense,
empowering love. I feel I could do anything.
baby I thought I would never have and all
the negative aspects of IVF, including the
stigma of it, does not outweigh the way I
feel," Linda said.
For 34-year-old Laura it was never an
option for her to not to start a family. But
she recalls how members of her family just
assumed they would reshape their future
without their much-wanted child.
"So we were prepared to do whatever it
took," Laura recalled.
While Laura is not reproductively chal-
lenged, her husband, Duane Bala, 33, an
electrical engineer, suffers from a medical
condition that allows his sperm to mix
with his antibodies, and having been told
she'd never conceive naturally made her
feel like she suffered a bereavement that
family and friends had little sympathy for.
"We did not tell anyone, we just kept to
ourselves and tried to deal with the infer-
tility. But on days like Mother's Day and
special holidays, we always felt like we
were missing out," she said.
Laura, who had given up her dream of
owning a home to undergo fertility treat-
"It was during a scheduled visit to the
centre that I met Shelly-Ann. I knew her
from school, (she, her husband and my
husband all went to UWI at the same
time), but we were just acquaintances. Be-
cause I knew her I felt like I could talk to
her," she said. Laura admitted that she was
surprised to see Shelly-Ann at the clinic
but grateful because they were able to
share their experiences.
"Shelly-Ann was very open and not
afraid to talk about anything. I think she
taught me that being open about infertility
and the IVF was
part of dealing
with it," she said.
When you are
this, that sup-
port is really
not only does the process take a toll on
your health, it takes a toll on your mental
state of mind."
On July 1, 2012, Laura gave birth to a
daughter Aimee and adds that if she can
afford to, she would do it all over again.
Shelly-Ann, who suffered for several
years with infertility, was willing to do any-
thing to have her miracle baby.
"I went through the process four times;
and the last one was done at Barbados,
which is where I was successful," she said.
The 33-year-old electrical engineer said
it was very difficult to explain the cumula-
tive effect of months and years of hope
Shelly-Ann recalled, "After a while, every-
thing hurts... other people's bumps and ba-
bies, the failed treatments and lost babies,
and every Christmas and Mothers' Day
you faced with empty arms. It's true that it
can be a lonely and painful process, and
after the third try and a miscarriage (on
the third try), I was ready to give up and
adopt. But something inside me told me to
try again. I thank God I did because today I
have the most amazing little girl. Yes, it
came with a price. To undergo multiple
treatments we had to save. When that
wasn't enough, we sought financial assis-
tance, but it was worth it. She is worth it.
Parenthood is a gift and a privilege."
Shelly-Ann encourages women out there
who may be struggling with infertility to
take the time to research IVF treatment as
"My husband and I are both so excited to
be given this opportunity in life. A lot of
people take it for granted, but Gaurav and I
have learned that this gift is too precious
to take any part of it for granted."
She said they have all decided to raise
their children together and one day sit
them down and let them know the story
of their birth.
"They all have such a special story about
how they came into this world and the
bond their parents forged over this should
continue for generations to come," she
May 12, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Shelly Ann, her husband
and her daughter Vidya.
The Journey to
A story of Three Women
Laura, her husband
Duane and their
Links Archive May 11th 2013 May 13th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page