In LifeStyle YOU's exclusive program, 'Australians Exposed: Sami's Baby', celebrity Samil Lukis documents her experience as she tries to have a baby as a 40-year-old single woman.
Among the experts Sami meets and talks to along the way is journalist and author, Theresa Miller, who has two daughters, her first through IVF - which formed the basis of her book Making Babies: Personal IVF Stories.
LifeStyle YOU chatted to Theresa to find out more.
Why did you decide to write this book?
While mums' groups are a great medium to share birth stories and the ups and downs of dealing with a newborn, there are few avenues for those trying to conceive on IVF- except for online.
I have always been very open about my first daughter being IVF and every time I talked about it other women would suddenly spring to life and say, 'oh, my child is IVF too..'.
I posted an ad on the essentialbaby website asking people if they'd like to share their stories of IVF for a book and was absolutely inundated with emails - too many to respond to. It made me realise that women were desperate to talk about their experiences.
What has the response been since writing the book
I've had emails from women thanking me and some saying it helped them through tough times. Reading about the experiences of others on IVF made them realize they were not going mad and that their reactions were quite normal.
What message do you hope women take away from your book?
If at all possible, women should avoid delaying their baby making plans - otherwise they may face age-related infertility.
I gave a talk recently at the Garvan Medical Research Institute on Age and Fertility - after the talk I had a lot of 30 something women coming up to me and saying, 'thank you for your reality check about getting pregnant later in life... I'm with a man now who doesn't want children... it's probably time for me to leave and find someone who does - before it's too late."
That might sound a little brutal and as a childless friend pointed out to me recently, being child free can also be a viable and fulfilling life also... yes of course it is! But the tragedy comes if a woman really wants children and she leaves it too late.
We've been taught to be assertive in the workplace and ask for what we want, but we also need to say out loud to our partners "I want children by the time I am 35, if you don't want them with me then bugger off and let me find someone who does!"
More about Making Babies
Around 15 per cent of couples in various Western countries suffer from infertility. Every year thousands try IVF and other assisted-reproduction techniques, but only about a third go home with a baby in their arms. IVF now accounts for 3 per cent of all births in Australia, and the numbers are similar in other developed countries.
Making Babies tells the stories behind the statistics, inside the world of egg harvesting, blatocyst transferral, and hormone injections. Here are 14 personal memoirs of IVF survivors: many are inspiring, some are heartbreaking, and others are miraculous.
From single mothers, to long-term heterosexual and gay couples, Making Babies presents an array of experiences from those who have been touched by the incredible possibilities that are opened up by IVF technology.
Within this remarkable collection of memoirs are stories of personal endurance, loss, unwavering dedication and sacrifice and, above all, confirmation of the inexplicable love that stems from the act of becoming a parent — whether through natural means, reproductive technology, surrogacy, or adoption.
Who should read Making Babies?
• People going through IVF
• People considering IVF
• Family and friends who want to understand what their loved ones are going through
• Men who want a better understanding of their partners' experience
• Doctors and health professionals
• Gay couples and single women considering IVF
• Women concerned about their fertility and wanting to explore their options
"I laughed and cried my way through Making Babies. Fertility assistance is often portrayed as clinical, cold and secretive, but Theresa Miller’s book bursts with humane stories full of courage and compassion. It’s not all happily ever after, so have the Kleenex ready – the stories are real, honest and heartening. If you are contemplating IVF, or if you know someone who is, this book is a must read. You’ll never think of fertility assistance the same way again."
- Alix Johnson, award-winning health editor/writer.
Find out more about Theresa Miller and the book at www.makingbabiesivf.com