'Our little miracle': Mums welcome baby using egg donor after agonising journey

Photo: Jodie and Sam welcomed baby Mae eight months ago. Supplied
Photo: Jodie and Sam welcomed baby Mae eight months ago. Supplied 

Sam McPherson and Jodie Todd stare down at baby Mae, gushing over her perfect fingers and toes. 

At eight-months-old, 'their little miracle' is just about ready to crawl. 

For five torturous years, the Melbourne couple didn't think they would be sitting here today, holding their baby girl in their arms. 

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

They worried that they would never get the chance to be parents. 

A chance conversation at a dinner party changed everything. 

"We started trying to conceive with a sperm donor when we were both 40, so age wasn't on our side," Sam tells Essential Baby. "We were naively unaware of just how much your fertility starts to decline at age 35."

After six unsuccessful attempts at egg transfer, the couple decided to try with Jodie's eggs. 

While she got implantation straight away, after they did genetic testing, it was discovered they were all abnormal. Jodie also had an internal bleed from the IVF.

"She almost died, it was very scary. And so traumatic," Sam explains. "And from that point on, while we knew it was possible for Jodie to potentially fall pregnant and carry a baby, she couldn't do any more egg collections."

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The pair knew they desperately needed an egg donor to be able to fulfil their dream of having a baby. 

The problem was, egg donors are extremely hard to come by.

"We started looking overseas, but it was very important to us that our child would have the option of knowing who their egg donor was and overseas donors are anonymous," Jodie explains. "It was a very distressing time."

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

It wasn't until one night, when Sam decided to stay home as she was feeling so low, and Jodie ran into a work colleague, Hayley, at a dinner party.

After learning that the couple were still trying to get pregnant, Hayley offered to donate her eggs.

"She called me again the next day to say: 'I'm serious. I'm 34 and I've already finished having my kids. I want to do this for you'."

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

As a result of Hayley's generous gift, Sam and Jodie now have a beautiful eight-month-old baby girl, Mae. 

And are about to celebrate their first Mother's Day.

"The feeling of being a mum is like nothing I've ever felt before," Sam reveals. "It's the best thing we've ever done. She is our little miracle."

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

"The fact that she is not 'genetically' related to us truly doesn't matter. Once she was in my arms, any doubts I had about our connection were entirely short-lived."

"Hayley is simply amazing and she made our lives complete."

The entire process was managed through Melbourne IVF, with the help of fertility specialist Dr Melissa Cameron and a team of counsellors, nursing staff and doctors.

Photo: 'We call Mae our little miracle'
Photo: 'We call Mae our little miracle' 

Dr Cameron, who has particular experience with donor conception, says there is currently a chronic shortage of egg donors in Australia.

"The need for donor eggs is great and the gift that an egg donation can give to someone's life is profound," she tells Essential Baby. "If you are interested, it's definitely worth making an enquiry to learn more."

"Seeing patients like Jodie and Sam hold their baby makes me realise what a privileged position I'm in to see this happen."

The couple are passionate about being 'completely open and honest' about their experience and fertility journey - and sharing it with Mae as well as Hayley's kids.

"The thing is, once we had the eggs, it really was easy," Jodie chimes in. "And Hayley agreed. She had five viable embryos, and so Mae actually has four potential brothers and sisters too or we may donate them on." 

The couple feel 'completely blessed' and are passionate about educating others about the egg donation experience.

"I never wanted to give up on this dream," Jodie says through tears. "We had also started the fostering process while we were undergoing IVF. I always said to Sam, I don't care how I become a mum, I just want to be a mum'."

Their message for women is to think about joy your kids bring you - and imagine providing that for another couple or single parent.

"It's life-changing," Jodie urges. "Be brave. Mae is our little miracle and you can too, help make a miracle happen."

"Also please just talk about it," Sam adds. "I know its a tough subject but if you don't talk about it, you'll never know who might be able to help. If I hadn't talked about it openly that night, Mae wouldn't be here."

"She is our beautiful little blessing."