'IVF baby' is on a mission to help other women become moms — with the doc who helped conceive her by her side
A Johannesburg-born woman who was conceived via in vitro fertilisation (IVF) has embarked on a mission to donate her eggs to help other women who want to be mothers to fulfil their dreams.
And in a beautiful twist of fate, the same doctor who helped Kate Solomons’ parents to have her is now helping in her third egg-donation procedure.
Speaking to TimesLIVE on Thursday, Kate said Dr Anton Rodrigues — who is the founding member and director of MedFem Fertility Clinic in Sandton — remembers her parents and their journey to having her.
I walked past the lab that I was most likely conceived in, which is crazyKate Solomons
“He remembers me and my parents, which was sweet. You can tell he really cares about his patients,” said Kate.
She found it fascinating to walk in the same passages her mother had walked in when she went on a mission to fall pregnant with her.
“I walked past the lab that I was most likely conceived in, which is crazy. You look into the lab and you see these big frozen fridge-like things they put the eggs in,” Kate says with a bubbly laugh.
Kate, who is on a journey to being a clinical psychologist, lost her father when she was three. Her mother was always open about how she and her father had conceived her.
“I learnt about IVF when I was about 10. I had been reading an article about Louise Brown, who is the first IVF baby. I remember being in the car with my mom and she turned around and said: ‘You’re an IVF baby, too',” said Kate.
“To me, being 10, I thought that is so cool, ‘I’m a test tube baby’! I didn’t understand how it worked. I thought they put you in test tubes and they swirl you around,” she joked.
Her mother told her of the different procedures they had embarked on to have her, including intrauterine insemination, known as IUI.
It took one IVF cycle through the help of Dr Rodrigues to help have Kate. Her mother reportedly took well over 765 injections throughout her pregnancy to ensure Kate was born healthy.
Hearing the struggles her parents went through and later learning about egg donation, Kate said she became keen on helping other women.
“It was something I started to consider because IVF helped my mom and dad and if I could help another family with something they are struggling with, I am for it,” she said.
Kate started her first egg-donation journey in 2018. She spoke of the vigorous questionnaires she had to fill out which included all her information from her height, weight and even her maternal grandmother’s eye colour.
Over the years, Kate says, egg donation has developed, with less-invasive injections and smaller needles and has become less painful with few side-effects.
“I was saying to one of the co-ordinators at the clinic that I will donate as many eggs as you need me to because I want to help as many people as possible,” she said, suggesting that the side-effects were too minor to deter her.
Kate has so far had one child born via one of her eggs, in 2020.
“Right now, South African laws say a donor-conceived baby and the donor should not know about each other and we need to remain anonymous,” said Kate. “I can know if a baby is born, the gender and the month they are born in. I have no problem with that. If a donor-conceived child wants to find me — if the laws do change — I am more than happy to be in contact with them,” she said.
The 26-year-old said she does hope to become a mom one day though it will most likely not be through one of her own eggs.
“I always said that one day, before having children of my own, I would prefer to foster or adopt because I believe there is also a need for families. Children need families as much as families want children. I wouldn’t mind having biological children later but my priority to foster and adopt would be the first,” she added.
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