“At age 30, I thought I had all the time in the world to start a family. But after trying for three years and not seeing any results, my husband and I decided to see a fertility expert.
“We found out that I had a small cyst in the uterus, so we were advised to start IVF as my husband was eight years my senior and his sperm quality and motility weren’t at their best.
“After removing my cyst, we did our ﬁrst round of IVF in March 2010 at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Much to my delight, I fell pregnant but lost my baby at eight weeks. Then, I found out I had an endometrial cyst around my uterus and had it removed.
“In March 2011, my second IVF cycle ended in a chemical pregnancy — an early miscarriage because the fertilised egg did not attach itself to the uterine wall. So, in August 2011, I used the remaining eggs I had frozen for my third cycle but I didn’t get pregnant.
“After taking a much- needed break, I embarked on my fourth cycle in May 2012, which required a fresh supply of eggs. As this was our last chance to use the Government’s IVF grant ($5,000 for the ﬁrst round, $4,000 for the second round and $3,000 for the third round), I was really hoping that it would work this time. Much to our dismay, I failed to conceive.
“Not willing to give up, we consulted a fertility clinic in Malaysia and did our ﬁfth IVF cycle in a Johor Bahru hospital, but it was negative again. Feeling dejected but still resolute about my decision to become a mother, I looked at adoption and even attended two talks on it with my hubby.
“While we were weighing our options, I came across an article about conceiving with donor eggs. I then found a Singaporean woman who had fallen pregnant using donor eggs.
“Inspired, I looked into the procedure and found out that I’d have to bring in my own donor eggs in Singapore. Since this wasn’t an option for me, I looked at the nearest country where I could use eggs from a donor bank.
“After I found a reputable clinic in Bangkok, Thailand, my husband and I ﬂew down in June 2013 to select our donor, which were matched to my O+ blood type. We then pored over hundreds of candidate bios, which came with pictures, vital stats, as well as educational and medical background information.
“We chose a 27-year-old woman who had carried two babies to term successfully. After her eggs were harvested in September 2013, they were fertilised with my hubby’s sperm and then placed in my womb a month later. Although two embryos were inserted, both failed to implant. Even though I was devastated, I decided to do it one more time.
“Lo and behold, I was ﬁnally pregnant! We spent a total of $18,000 in Thailand.
“The ﬁrst few months were nerve-wracking as I was worried I would lose my baby any time. But I successfully carried Liam till 36 weeks — he was born, weighing 3kg, via urgent C-section because I had severe pre-eclampsia.
“Although the emotional turmoil of going through so many IVF cycles took a toll on me, I’m enjoying motherhood more than I ever thought I would. Besides, my son is growing amazingly, so it was all worth it!”
New mum Andrea's name was changed to protect her identity and that of her baby.