Two years after she was diagnosed with menopause at the age of 23, a Melbourne woman is expecting twins – and it’s all thanks to her younger sister.
Amber battled a devastating diagnosis, two failed rounds of IVF, and had to have a fallopian tube removed as she attempted to start a family with her partner Chris.
It was a long and crushing journey, until her sister Taylor – only 24 years old at the time – decided to donate her own eggs to her older sister.
‘I can’t even tell you how it was decided she would donate her eggs, I never asked and they were never offered. It was just this bond we had that we would do anything in our power for us to make this work,’ Amber told House of White.
Amber (right), who was diagnosed with menopause at the age of 23, is expecting twins two years later thanks to her younger sister Taylor (left)
Amber’s journey to pregnancy has been long and difficult, with fertility medication, failed attempts at IVF, and even acupuncture
It was in early 2015 that Amber, then 23 years old, began having 20 hot flashes a day.
Her doctor joked that she could be going through early menopause, and they both laughed. It just didn’t seem possible.
But two weeks passed and the hot flashes still hadn’t disappeared. Tests revealed that Amber’s follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels were in the menopause range.
It was a crushing blow to Amber and Chris, who had been trying to get pregnant for months with no luck.
Amber was in tears as she asked the doctor: ‘Can I still have children?’
Her physician had hope, due to her young age, and so began a gruelling process that involved numerous tests and a few surgeries.
Amber and her partner Chris (pictured) were devastated after their attempt at IVF failed and it was discovered that neither of Amber’s ovaries worked
Amber went on a number of medications to try and induce ovulation and even tried acupuncture. But nothing worked.
Another year went by and Amber and Chris decided to try IVF. But both rounds, using her own eggs, failed.
New tests then found that Amber had a cyst on her left fallopian tube, which would need to be removed, and that neither of her ovaries worked.
Her specialist revealed that an egg donation from Taylor was Amber’s only chance at getting pregnant.
After both women and their partners went through counselling together, Taylor began doing everything in medicine’s power to prepare for the egg collection.
She took medication to thicken the lining of her uterus, injected herself morning and night to stimulate her follicles, and had follicle scans every three to four days.
Taylor was then put under a general anaesthetic for 20 minutes as her eggs were collected.
But then it was decided that Taylor would donate her eggs to Amber, and on the second attempt two survived and were implanted inside her
The only one that survived was implanted in Amber, who found out 10 days later that she had not fallen pregnant.
‘We were all broken. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially, I didn’t think I could do this again,’she recalled of the negative pregnancy test.
But they did try again, three months later, and four of the 13 eggs survived.
Two were implanted in Amber, and the other two were frozen.
On the nine-day mark Amber saw blood in the toilet and was absolutely crushed, fearing it was a sign that the process had failed once again.
The next day she took a pregnancy test, and was pleasantly surprised.
‘I took the text expecting it to be negative but it was the strongest two lines I had ever seen! Well, only lines I had ever seen,’ she said.
Ten days later, Amber found out she was finally pregnant. A week later her good news doubled as doctors revealed she was expecting twins
‘Taylor came over and I showed her the test and she just burst out crying. It was the best feeling in the world!’
A week later, that joy was doubled. Amber found out she was expecting twins.
Amber is now just weeks away from her delivery date, and recently posted a tribute to Taylor on her Instagram alongside a sweet picture of her sister kissing her belly.
‘Never in my wildest dreams did I even think I would be celebrating my own baby shower!’ she wrote. ‘I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have such a selfless sister who would donate her eggs to us.’
‘I will never be able to find the words to express how grateful we are to you, but please know we love you so, so much.’