Little Indi Greaves is blissfully unaware of the challenging journey her parents and her aunty have been on to bring her into the world.
Her arrival on January 31 was a dream come true for Kiama couple Tisha and Ben Greaves, who’d put all thoughts of parenthood aside after Tisha’s battle with cervical cancer.
However Tisha’s sister, Mia Wingrove, had other ideas. The mother-of-three offered to act as a surrogate so her little sister could have a family of her own.
While Tisha and Ben had viable eggs and sperm, Tisha could not carry a child due to the scar tissue left behind after a trachelectomy over five years ago.
“The trachelectomy (where the cervix is removed but the uterus left in place) is offered as an alterative to a hysterectomy for younger women to enable them to still carry a child,” Mrs Greaves said.
“When I was told years later that there was too much scarring, that I couldn’t carry a child myself, I was gutted as being pregnant was something I’d always looked forward to.
“Mia and I are 10 years apart and I’ve always seen her like a second mother. She said she didn’t see me not having children, so she’d do anything to help.”
The first embryo transfer in April 2017 through IVF Australia was not a success – but the second attempt a month later was.
It was a “dream pregnancy” for Mia, 42, whose own children are 18, 16 and 10 years old. Booked for an elective caesarean on January 31, things did not go entirely to plan however.
“My waters broke but so did the membranes for the placenta and I started to haemorrhage and was rushed to hospital by ambulance,” she said.
“The obstetrician rushed in and brought the caesarean forward and the birth went smoothly from there.”
For Ben and Tisha, it was an anxious wait in the next room for news that their daughter had arrived safely. “When we finally saw her it was the biggest excitement of our lives,” Tisha said.
The sisters have formed an even stronger bond through it all, and said they have so much empathy for the many families going through IVF journeys themselves.
“So many people are searching for surrogates and can’t find them in Australia, where it is illegal to pay someone to act as a surrogate,” Tisha said.
“In other countries it is more readily available as surrogates can be paid so there’s more women willing to do it.
“I can’t imagine using anyone else than Mia – it’s such an emotional journey to go through.”
For Mia, the decision was an easy one. “I’ve had so many people say it’s an amazing thing I’ve done but to me it just felt normal,” she said. “I was happy to help.”