MEET THE mum-of-five who was desperate for a second child but struggled to conceive naturally.
After trying IVF four times, Tracy Park, 43, from New York, ended up having four babies in just 13 months while she was in her forties.
When the managing director was 30, she gave birth to her first child, Hunter, now 12, who was conceived naturally in October 2006.
Due to their busy careers, Tracy and her husband Peter, 42, were not in any rush to have another child.
A decade later, they both started to realise the clock was ticking and they were desperate to have another child to keep Hunter company.
However, after trying for a year, they were told by their doctors that they couldn’t conceive naturally and that IVF was their only option.
In 2016, they tried four times through IVF for a baby, but none were successful, she decided to try surrogacy, through an agency, to increase her chances.
A few months later, she was delighted to discover that one of her IVF treatments worked and she was pregnant with her second child, Harlow, now 18 months, who was born in August 2017.
Meanwhile, her surrogate was also pregnant with not just one baby, but twins, which initially left Tracy and Peter overwhelmed, realising they had to make room for their big family.
Her twins, Piper and Presley, now 14 months, were born in January 2018, and eight months later, once they moved into a larger house, Tracy discovered she was pregnant with a fifth child, Dylan, now six-months-old, who was born in September 2018.
Now Tracy and Peter want to encourage people not to give up on their dreams to become parents and they share their journey with over 10,000 followers on Instagram.
WHAT IS IVF AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) can help couples who qualify to get pregnant, but there are strict criteria for those accepted on the NHS.
The process involves removing an egg from a woman’s ovaries and fertilising them using sperm in a laboratory.
The fertilised egg, also known as an embryo, is transferred back into a woman’s womb to grow.
The process can use eggs and sperm from the couple themselves, or these can be sourced from a donor.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends in its fertility guidelines that IVF should be offered to:
- women under 43 years of age who have been trying to get pregnant through regular unprotected sex for two years
- women who have had 12 cycles of artificial insemination
Tracey said: “I got pregnant easily at 30 with my first son, but at 40 it was much harder; I tried for a second child for a year then we decided to do IVF.
“I work full time and had my son. Life was good but my husband and I desperately wanted another child.
“It is an emotional roller coaster trying to get pregnant. When you do IVF, it is a month process then you wait for the results.
“You can only imagine the disappointment to learn that it did not take, and you have to do another month of shots, needles and giving blood. For me, insurance helped a lot with IVF because it was clear I needed it.
“It is definitely depressing when you do not get pregnant, but I was so determined. I knew if this did not take, I would explore other options like a surrogate.”
Four times of trying IVF worked for them and they ended up having four babies in 13 months. Tracy explains that while it felt overwhelming at first, she has loved being a mum-of-five.
Her pregnancy with her youngest ended up being difficult, as she had placenta accreta, a serious pregnancy condition that occurs when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall, and needed a C-section.
She said: “Dylan was born at twenty-nine weeks; he was a preemie at 3lb 6oz. He was in the neonatal intensive care unit for three months.
“I think people should never give up trying to have a baby; technology is incredible but be open to different methods like IVF, surrogacy, adoption, fostering a child, etc.
“There is nothing like parenthood.”
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