December 11, 2023

‘Loss, tears and heartache’: Couple share seven-year infertility journey that led to miracle baby

"We've been trying for seven years, we've done six transfers to get her, we've had two miscarriages and it's just been a long journey."

After seven years of infertility, an Auckland couple has shared their emotional journey of what led to their “miracle” baby. 

Anyone who has battled infertility or knows someone who has will know the impact it can have on their lives.

As many as 26 percent of Kiwis experience infertility during their lifetime, that’s roughly one in four Kiwis. 

And around 1750 babies are born each year due to fertility treatments, that’s approximately 1 in 30 births.

But to get to that point of qualifying for funded IVF, you have to fit a range of criteria including how long you have been trying to get pregnant, the woman has to be aged under 39 and have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 32 and men must have BMI of under 40.

Hannah and Manu Fisi’ihoi told AM it’s been “a long journey” full of “loss and tears and heartache”. 

“We’ve been trying for seven years, we’ve done six transfers to get her, we’ve had two miscarriages and it’s just been a long journey.”

Hannah emotionally told AM their journey has been “crazy” but “all worth it” with their baby now six weeks old.

But husband Manu said he found it especially challenging because he wasn’t “able to deliver on my end”. 

“When I found out that my BMI was under that threshold, that’s when things kind of took a turn and I kind of didn’t want to stay in the relationship as well.”

Manu said he felt inadequate and “almost less of a man” and at the time just wanted his wife to be a mother, whether that was with him or not. 

“At that point in time, I didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.”

Hannah told AM she found it hard when her husband told her to be with someone else but said she wanted to stay with him even if they couldn’t have children. 

“It was just a matter of getting him to believe that even if we don’t have kids, like, I still want to be with you. So it took a couple of years for him to believe that and to stop telling me to go.”

But it wasn’t only just the IVF troubles that the couple found difficult, it was talking about it too. Manu told AM even within his own whanau it’s a taboo topic. 

“Especially with Pacifica or even Māori to talk about things that might be a little bit feminine or things that are not seen as masculine, we tend to hide all those things because we should be providing or we should have all these things set in play.”

Hannah said they both searched high and low on the internet to find a community that share similar experiences but found everyone was overseas. 

“[We] didn’t know anyone in New Zealand.”

She added they instead decided to share their story in the hopes others wouldn’t feel alone. 

“There are so many people doing it even long that we have, doing more rounds than we have and they still haven’t gotten to where we are.”

Fertility New Zealand 

Fertility New Zealand board member Juanita Copeland told AM many people go through heartache before qualifying for publicly funded IVF treatment and that’s something she would like to see changed. 

“Getting to the point of publicly funded treatment, generally means you’ve been through months, if not years of heartache.”

Copeland said once accepted, wait times can vary by region but is around 12 to 18 months.

“Facing another 12 to 18 months, or five years if your diagnosis is unexplained in infertility, that’s an incredibly hard pill to swallow.”

Watch the full interview above.

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes