A Marian woman who refused to give up her dream of becoming a mother has finally given birth to a baby boy.
A Marian woman who refused to give up her dream of becoming a mother has finally given birth to a baby boy. Angela Seng

Couple's eight-year search for a baby ends with a wanted ad

A MARIAN couple who spent the past eight years trying to conceive to no avail had their dreams realised in November 2018 when they welcomed their first child into the world.

But making that dream come true was no walk in the park.

The Daily Mercury first came to know Adrienne* and Gary* when their story was reported by Zarisha Bradley, a journalist who has since moved from Mackay.

At the time, Adrienne and Gary had been desperate to fall pregnant but after many years of trying they finally discovered Gary was infertile.

IVF was not an option for the Marian couple because of the cost, which according to IVF Australia can be upwards of $20,000 for just one round of therapy.

"We didn't have the money for IVF, especially when you need a donor. I had this great idea, after doing some research, to do it from home," Adrienne said.

"I decided I wanted to do self-insemination, like the 'turkey-baster method'. I told my doctor and he said, 'no, that's not gonna work'."

But Adrienne always knew she wanted to be a mum and was not about to give up. She decided to post an online advertisement seeking a sperm donor on the Mackay, Buy, Swap and Sell Facebook page.

The advertisement read: "Looking for: Caucasian, 5'7" and taller, hair colour: not fussed, eye colour: not fussed, STD free, some family medical history will be required too please. Willing to co-parent if the donor would like or another arrangement can be made."

Not long after posting the ad she received considerable online trolling, which she found "really hurtful".

"People were saying things like if this was my wife I'd smack her or the only thing you'll get is crackhead sperm," Adrienne said.

"The negative response made me question if I my plea was worth the effort. But Zarisha got in contact and wanted to write a story about our experience online and a few days after the story ran a man contacted her and asked for my number. I agreed and she passed along my details.

"He called and said he was sorry to hear about the nasty responses we had received from the posting on Facebook and he wanted to help us.

"I met with the man soon after and was immediately like, 'yes, he'll do'. The way he looked, his height and his features were similar to my husband's and we had a good connection.

"I found out as much as I could about his medical background and got to know him a bit - I was confident I was making the right choice.

"My husband didn't meet him and still hasn't, but he was happy for me to give it a go. She told her doctor and he said the chances of becoming pregnant this way were slim. He didn't believe it could happen.

"But I was stubborn and said, 'just watch me mate'.

For two months Adrienne would notify the donor of when she was ovulating and he would bring her some 'fresh produce' each day for the seven-day ovulation period.

"He would bring it to me in a cup with a lid on it and I would use a syringe to implant it - and it worked," Adrienne said.

"My doctor was shocked when I told him I was pregnant - he didn't believe me at first. He was surprised but very happy for me.

"I have had a lot of roadblocks trying to become a mum. Originally, my egg supply was very limited and I wasn't getting any younger.

"Also I suffered a serious injury and became very ill as a result."

"And even though I had this terrible infection I still fell pregnant. It was as if this pregnancy was meant to happen. I don't know, part of me thinks fresh is best," she laughed.

"My husband was a bit iffy during the pregnancy. We didn't talk too much about it and I just gave him time because I knew when the baby arrived he would come around.

And Adrienne said she was right - the moment Gary met Anthony* it was love at first sight.

"Gary is his father, he's the one who helps to look after him and loves him. The donor, did give us this wonderful gift but he isn't Anthony's father.

Adrienne said it was important to her and to Gary that the relationship with the donor was as honest and respectful as possible right from the start.

"During the pregnancy I would send the donor a copy of the scans and I still send the donor updates on Anthony. We've run into each other at the shops and everything is friendly but we don't see each other regularly," Adrienne said.

"We respect each other's space."

One helpful aspect to this is that the donor has given the gift of life before and, because of this, it made it easier to navigate what could potentially be a complicated relationship.

"He had helped friends of his before through a fertility clinic and so he had been through all the medical testing and knew for certain he would be a viable donor.

"He's just a nice bloke who wants to help people. He doesn't reckon he'll ever have kids of his own and he said he thought that if he could help a family who were desperate for a child, why not give them that option."

Adrienne has taken this whole journey quite seriously and has planned ahead for any potential surprises. Before going ahead with the plan she downloaded a contract from an IVF clinic and adjusted it to fit their needs, and had the donor sign the agreement.

"We all signed it and we can all rest assured there won't be any legal surprises in the future.

When Anthony gets to a certain age where Adrienne and Gary feel comfortable, they will tell him about how he was conceived.

"I've been making photo albums containing photos of his donor and anecdotes about his donor as well as pictures of Anthony at different stages of his growth. There's a clipping of the original story that was in the paper, too.

The donor has agreed that if Anthony wants to meet him someday that he will be open to it. But we're not stressing about it, we will just be open and honest and take it one day at a time.

Adrienne said she would be keen to have another baby this way, but it would take a fair bit of convincing for both blokes.

"I would feel comfortable approaching the donor to ask if he'd help us again, but he has said after Anthony he was done. I'd definitely have to do a fair bit of convincing of my husband for a second child though. Raising a baby is tired work," she laughed.

"But I just feel so lucky to have our perfect baby boy and to have met the donor because he is an amazing guy to have done this for us and not ask for anything in return.

Zarisha Bradley, who is now a reporter for Channel Nine News in the Northern Territory, said it warmed her heart when she first heard from Adrienne about the baby's arrival.

"There's so much bad news going on lately, especially up here, it was nice to hear a feel-good story. I contributed to this - I helped make that baby!" Ms Bradley said.

"It's so special and reminds me of all the good things journalism can do. It made me happy I had the chance to help change her life."

Adrienne said she was initially very hurt by the trolling she received online after she posted her advertisement for a sperm donor.

"In the end something so wonderful came out of it, thanks to Zarisha's story and the Daily Mercury we now have become parents - something we were so desperate for."

*Names have been changed to protect identities.