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7 cycles of IVF, 5 attempts at donor egg insemination

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Sunday, May 19, 2019 | 7 comments

Image: Hope, heartbreak and Violet Savannah: The secret IVF diary of a desperate mum-to-be
Mandy and Mark Parry with daughter Violet (Image Credit: Flashfoto)
We followed seven cycles of IVF and five attempts at donor egg insemination

Mandy Parry, 46, is a teacher and lives in Bristol with husband Mark, 47, a community safety officer, and their five-month-old daughter Violet. Mandy says:

Having been through seven years of grueling, heartbreaking fertility treatment, I'd urge any women thinking about delaying motherhood not to, for their own sakes.

I'd have loved children in my early 30s but I didn't meet the right man, Mark, until I was 39 years old.

When we started trying for a family six months later I kept losing my pregnancies and discovered that my eggs were no longer healthy.

Then followed seven cycles of IVF and five attempts at donor egg insemination in South Africa before I finally had Violet in May this year.

We spent £50,000 — the equity from the house I sold when I met Mark and moved in with him — and it was emotionally and physically draining.

It was scary finding out I was ­pregnant last year, because I'd been pregnant four times before and lost all of them in the first three months.

I spent the whole pregnancy waiting for something bad to happen.

Mark has three children from his first marriage, but he wanted a baby as much as I did.

It's weird to think that when he was a father of three in his 20s, I was young, free, single and partying in London. With hindsight, he feels he was too young to truly appreciate his children then.

The advantage of having a baby at 46 is that I've got the support of a ­wonderful, mature man. We're financially secure and feel safe and stable in our marriage.

I don't worry about being an older mum in terms of being around for her future. My dad was 44 when I was born and mum was 36, so I grew up with older parents.

And I've got as much energy as any other mum.

I've got a few friends who feel it's immoral to have a baby in your late 40s, but they know how much I'd have loved to have had a child years ago and what a battle we've been through to have Violet.

Whether we'll have another child is a sore point. Mark thinks we should count our blessings, but we've got seven more embryos in South Africa that we've paid for, so the temptation for me is to try for another baby.

This Pregnancy Over 40 story was found on
Read more: Can you guess what these women have in common? They've ALL just given birth!
Originally posted on October 7, 2010.

Read more: Hope, heartbreak and Violet Savannah: The secret IVF diary of a desperate mum-to-be
Originally posted on October 15, 2012.

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost our precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted there will be no more babies in our house.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your story! It gives me hope that at 43 y.o., it's not too late to have a baby.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not too late at all. I got married at 43 and found out a few days later that I was pregnant. My daughter was born healthy when I was 44.

  3. Unknown says:

    Dear Mandy, it is lovely that you have not given up trying for your baby and eventually succeeded in delivering a healthy girl. Enjoy your motherhood and I wish you a lot of happiness and joy!
    A Hungarian mother (aged 41) with first-born 6-week old Ann Rose

  4. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Mandy; I am 47.3 and I would like to have the same luck you had; I am searching what to do to have a baby as I also met my partner later in life; please give me a contact if possible

  5. Anonymous says:

    thanks for your story, its truly inspiring. I am 43 and met my husband late. I have suffered 2 miscarriages last year and currently pregnant with the third at 6weeks and counting the days off expecting the worst to happen as I have no sickness (one of the signs of miscarriage)..
    your story is inspiring and gives me hope as each time I am in the hospital the staff's reaction is your 43 and your trying for a baby, as well as going through a miscarriage you have to deal with all the negative and judgemental reponses from NHS staff
    keep your fingers crossed for me.x

  6. Anonymous says:

    I went through 6 IVF cycles and we finally had our son when I was 50. I highly recommend it. It is absolutely wonderful! As for those who think it is wrong to have a child late in life...I say poppycock. Our son is so loved and happy and we are able to spend the time with him that most parents spend working to support their early life babies. I see so many younger parents treating their children like they are a bother rather than a blessing. And as for being tired when you are an older do they feel after they have been working all day and come home to children that need their attention? I am no more tired now then I was then, working and raising two children (I also have a 32 yr old and 28 yr. old). It also gives us the incentive to stay healthy and active. I am a certified Zumba instructor and eat better than ever so I can set a good example. I am 52 now and we are looking into doing it again. God Bless science...:)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your blog.

    My story: I started TTC at age 35 only to conceive naturally after one year and then undergo a fetal demise between 8 and 9 weeks. I went on to do many medicated IUI cycles and 2 attempts at IVF only to get pg naturally two more times and suffer two more fetal demises when the placenta would have taken over (after 2 u/s with h/b) and the REs all said "it's your age, your eggs. You need to move on to DE." So I started a support group for women considering doing DE that met in my home 1 x a month and after 2 DE cycles fell thru due to problems with donors' health histories and follicle production, became pg at 44 (via eset blast transfer) with my DD. Fairly uneventful blissed out pregnancy but a week before the scheduled c-section (necessary due to fibroid blocking the cervix) 2 wks before due date came down with HELLP syndrome (rare and extreme form of eclampsia) that ruptured my liver, gave me a stroke, put me in a three week long coma. Blessedly I have made an excellent recovery and my daughter is the joy of my life. I am convinced that I carried her almost to term because I injected lovenox, a blood thinner, on a daily basis at the advice of an RI (reproductive immunologist) and since HELLP hit two days after going off the lovenox think ceasing the blood thinner may have been the trigger. Going thru all this has not been EASY (especially since neuro rehab separated me from my infant daughter in a facility that did not allow patients' families to stay with them) but I am living at home again, SOOO happy to be a mom, despite the occasional Hot flash. Where there is a will there is a way and UNION PROVIDED MEDICAL INSURANCE saved my butt.

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