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reality bites

' Tom s a

m iracle ’ ’ By Cam Lucadou-Wells DOVETON parents Jo and Ben Coelho tried to start a family for five fretful years, before they were finally able to welcome Tom into their lives. During that uncertain prelude, the mind games were torturous as their friends successfully conceived. Jo and Ben wondered what was “wrong” with them. Why was their much-yearned plan for children so elusive? Now they beam with pride as they speak of their sparky toddler with a love of food, books, the beach, Hey Dougie and the family’s Pug. Ben smilingly speaks of the sleepless nights, teething and the ups and downs of early parenthood. “It’s all worth it,” he said. Jo adds: “I still can’t believe it.” The Coelho’s saviour was in-vitro fertilisation treatment (IVF), unexpectedly so because they’d assumed it was unaffordably expensive. They warily visited a low-cost, bulk-billing Dandenong IVF clinic, The Fertility Centre. “We heard the ad for it on the radio and it advertised that it was much cheaper,” Ms Coelho said. “But we wondered what’s the quality like?” Upon a visit, they were convinced they were in sure, caring hands and that it was their only chance of becoming parents. Still their estimated odds of success were about one in three. Three of Jo’s eggs were frozen. When they found out the first IVF pregnancy failed, the couple described it as the worst day of their life. Within three months they tried for a second. During a Bali holiday, Jo felt sick – but it was in fact a good omen. For the first time she was pregnant. The next June, Tom was duly born and welcomed to the world. To the couple’s elation, Jo is pregnant again – due to natural conception. They add that conception was expected to be easier after the first IVF pregnancy. The couple also intend to enact their pledge to use all of their stored eggs, and so fertilise the third egg at some stage. Despite some people “looking down” on IVF babies, Jo says: “It’s just as much a miracle. “It’s the same DNA. It’s that extra help for people to have a family.”

AUTUMN 2017 33

Casey Cardinia Kids Autumn 2017