It was Mother's Day yesterday, but for Tuatapere woman Helen Hammond every day is Mother's Day.
Hammond and husband Richard went through more than most to become parents, conceiving both of their children through an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure.
"I think every day is mother's day, it's a privilege to become a mother. Having kids, it's pretty special," she said.
Hammond, who had failed to get pregnant after two years of trying, was diagnosed with silent endometriosis in 2010 while living in Melbourne. The couple sought the help of Dr Gareth Weston at the Monash IVF Clinic in Melbourne, and were told that Helen's underlying condition of silent endometriosis was the cause.
After diagnosing the problem, the doctor completed Helen's treatment for the condition, then immediately started the couple on their first IVF cycle.
"We were very fortunate in that we had only one cycle of IVF treatment, harvesting five eggs. Out of that one cycle we now have two, healthy, beautiful children."
Kathryn Jane Elora Hammond was born on June 6, 2011, and Mitchell James Hammond was born on February 22 this year.
The couple met in 1997 in the Maori Chief Pub in South Melbourne. Tuatapere born and raised Richard was on his first week in his new tunnelling job and Helen, born and raised in Melbourne, had been convinced by friends to go for a girls' night out, ending up at the Maori Chief Pub - and the rest, as they say, is history.
"My reason for telling our very personal story is to let women know that there are plenty of options out there for couples struggling to conceive. Explore all possibilities and never give up hope," Hammond said.
"People need to know that through the IVF treatments there is always hope, especially with the technology available today, and as time goes on technology is always improving. The journey can be a hard one but it is worth persevering to achieve the ultimate result."
The couple understand the IVF process is not an easy track to go down, but it has proved to be a worthwhile journey for them.
"We know that we are very blessed to have two beautiful, healthy children and we count our lucky stars. Going through the IVF programme is very expensive whether you are living in Australia or New Zealand - however you can't put a price on a child's life," Hammond said.
"It is a difficult decision to proceed but if you stay positive and have good family support it's possible and definitely worth all the risks involved."
- The Southland Times
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