My name is Tahli (Tahleisha), I am a 23-year-old nurse in Darwin, I moved up here from Adelaide two years ago with just my sausage dog and whatever belongings I could fit in my car ready for adventure. Unfortunately, the journey I will be talking about here is not so exciting and is not the easiest to talk about. It’s a lot, but I will start from the beginning.
After a diagnosis of endometriosis at 18 and having one of my ovaries removed at 20 when it turned into a 20cm tumour, I pled that my remaining reproductive organs would still be healthy enough to produce babies in the future. In March this year (2020) however, my worst nightmare became a reality; I was hit with news that no 23-year-old woman would imagine hearing - that the number of eggs in my remaining ovary have fallen so low that I have what is called Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI).
POI is the loss of ovarian function before the age of 40 and affects approximately 0.5% of women in their 20s. POI can occur spontaneously, or it may be caused by medical procedures/therapies. I still have some ovarian function remaining but the number of eggs my body will produce is rapidly approaching zero and with the extensive damage to my fallopian tubes (thanks endometriosis), the chances of me ever conceiving naturally are slim-to-none. So time really is very critical.
After the shattering diagnosis I consulted Repromed at the Darwin Private Hospital, and their team of doctors and nurses had me in for my first egg retrieval in May after numerous scans, blood tests, medications, and tears. I had already accepted that there was a very high chance that I would not produce any viable eggs, and my specialist was almost certain of this too, but we pursued anyway and managed to get 3 eggs put away for later use. After this small success we agreed to try again, and after a few troubles with cysts I was back in again in September and had another 4 eggs retrieved.
Despite all of this, the chance of me having a successful pregnancy one day even with IVF is significantly low because there is a lot of wastage in reproductive medicine due to the fragility of the eggs. It is recommended that I have at least 20 eggs stored; however, the cost of each cycle is up to $10,000 and only some of this is refundable through Medicare. I am scheduled for a third round of egg collection in February 2021 and will likely need to do a few more cycles to have a real chance. After paying for the costs of the previous cycles and all of the chaos from covid my finances have run dry, and as a Uni student it just isn’t possible for me to save enough before the bills for the next cycles arrive. I haven’t seen my family for over a year (covid has also been no help) which has made it significantly harder to cope with, and to visit them is going to put me in further financial strife. I hesitated over starting a GoFundMe for a while as I didn’t feel comfortable talking about this so publicly or asking family, friends, or strangers for money, but I’ve exhausted my other options. My biggest dream in life is to have a family of my own one day with children who are “half-me”, I shouldn’t have to worry about my fertility at my age but without action, it won’t happen. With your generosity, I might get lucky though, and I will be forever grateful for any amount of help I can get.
Thank you, lovely people.
- Hannah Florance
- Shalina Rhodes
- Samantha Smart
- Caitlin Hughes
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