First-time mum gives birth to twin girls at age 50 – after she spent six years and $75,000 trying to get pregnant via IVF
Manda Epton, who was born in Oxford but now lives in Sydney, Australia, started trying to get pregnant at 39 after her long-term relationship fell apart and she decided to try and get pregnant as a single mother.
The mother of twins from Sydney who gave birth in August 2018 made her first effort to conceive when she was 39 years old since she knew time was running out.
Going ahead on her own meant between the ages of 39 and 45 she would spend a staggering $75,000 on fertility treatment.
When Ms Epton first looked at the possibility of becoming a mother via IVF she believed there was nothing holding her back.
She was informed right away by the doctors that her chances of getting pregnant were only 5% because of her advanced age and the poor quality of her eggs.
Despite this, she persisted and over the over the course of six years, Ms Epton suffered failed cycles and would heartbreakingly experience three miscarriages.
After witnessing her struggle, a friend recommended Manda visit Cape Fertility in South Africa.
Not only had her friend had a successful pregnancy from the clinic, but it was much cheaper than what Manda was paying per treatment over in Australia.
She said: ‘I got to choose the donors and got to shop around.
‘I come from a blonde hair and blue eyes background so chose a lovely egg donor from South Africa and got to shop around for a sperm donor, eventually choosing one from Denmark.
Choosing a donor, she said was much like the process of Internet dating – without ever actually meeting the person in real life.
‘My genetic background is blonde and blue-eyed so I chose donor sperm from Denmark. It made sense to me to “shop” in countries which also have a similar genetic profile,’ she said.
Both her egg and sperm donors were in their 20s. They were two people Ms Epton said ‘she would really like to meet who also seemed really lovely’.
‘I travelled to South Africa for an embryo transfer and in total spent $15,000’ [Ms Epton’s flights were paid for separately].
Her embryo transfer was in December 2017, and seven weeks later, after returning home to Australia, she was delighted to be given the news she was expecting twins.
In August 2018, after a pregnancy that ran fairly smoothly, her twin girls were born via Cesarean section.
Ms. Epton claimed there have been few issues, and she and her daughters are at home and doing well, with the exception of some early difficulty to produce enough breast milk to feed her cherished twins (they are both presently fed formula).
While she’s the first to admit raising two twins isn’t without its share of challenges, the new mum says support from family and friends has made things much easier.
Her parents help take care of the girls once a week and there’s also another close friend who is now caring for the girls twice a week so Ms Epton can return to work.
Menopause doesn’t faze her either. Now she’s not feeling any effects although she notes this may be because of hormonal support she received as part of IVF.
While Ms Epton has been able to make her dream come true, she admits had she known how difficult it would be, she would have started trying to conceive much earlier.
‘It is possible to have a baby later in life but this can be incredibly difficult as well.
‘If you are younger, it’s worth started at an age that makes pregnancy biologically viable.’