31 years later, daughter hopes to reproduce mom's IVF success
In vitro new, controversial when mom got pregnant; decades later, her daughter hopes history repeats itself
Stephanie McGregor hopes history will be on her side as she attempts to get pregnant with in vitro fertilization.
That's because three decades ago, her mother successfully underwent the same fertility treatment ... one of the first in Canada to do so.
McGregor, 31, is speaking out about her struggles to mark Canadian Infertility Awareness Week, May 7 to 13.
"I know for a long time I felt very alone, keeping it a secret from people, not feeling like I could really talk about it," she said.
The fact is, however, she is not alone. Currently, about one in six Canadian couples face infertility (defined as going a full year of attempting pregnancy without success).
"People have to talk about it," McGregor said. "There is so much support when you know others are going through the same feelings as you."
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Those feelings during her three-years-and-counting struggle range across the board, she said. Confusion when it didn't happen right away, jealousy when friends around her got pregnant, and ultimately, a grief that quietly overwhelmed her.
"I'd feel upset, I'd feel sad, it was a battle of emotions," she said.
Today, she is in the midst of in vitro fertilization, a medical process where eggs are retrieved from a woman's ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a petri dish. The embryo is then implanted in the uterus. The procedure is costly, up to $10,000 per effort, and it comes with no guarantees.
It's a gamble though, that's historically paid off for the McGregors.
Furthermore, it was only offered in Ontario.
"I read about that clinic, photocopied my medical records and mailed them," Gwen McGregor recalled, laughing. "I didn't think of myself as a pioneer. I was just desperate to try anything."
Months later, Stephanie and her two sisters were born. And her parents instantly became celebrities.
"I was surprised by all the media attention," McGregor said. "We were very private people. We were getting calls from the newspaper. I guess (IVF) was still pretty unusual."
Hopes for a happy ending
"Honestly, when I first got pregnant, I didn't believe it," said Rout, 28. "It had been such a roller coaster to that point, you'd get hope and then be in despair days later."
Ultimately, ultrasounds revealing her healthy "little peanuts" reassured her enough to celebrate the news. But she'll never forget the pain of her journey. That's why she too wants to lend her voice to raise awareness — and lend support — to others currently facing infertility.
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"My dream was to get pregnant, I know how that feels," Rout said.
McGregor herself is hopeful that, like her mother, her own dream will soon come true, too.
"If I could be one third as successful as my mother, I'd be happy," the triplet said, laughing. "I'm hopeful."
For more information on supports and resources, go to fertilitymatters.ca.