A story of hope

Pictured, from left , are mom Tasha Mckenzie with surrogate Lee-Ann Laufs in the middle, the Mckenzies twin girls Lea-Rae and Madison-Lee and dad Wayne Mckenzie.

Starting a family can be one of the most exciting times for many couples but for Wayne and Tasha Mckenzie the journey was not as easy.

Wayne and Tasha from Constantia decided to get married in November 2013. Wayne knew that Tasha would face possible challenges when attempting to conceive due to complications in her younger years but these odds did not stop the couple as they soon decided to stop using contraception and started planning a family. Their attempts ended in a twist as Tasha fell sick with abdominal pain and was told she had a cyst that had to be removed. The couple could only put their trust in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the process where an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory.The fertilised egg, called an embryo, is then inserted into the woman’s womb to grow and develop.

After the healing of Tasha’s operation took place, July 2014 was when the first IVF procedure was done at a cost of R70 000 which ended up being unsuccessful. The Mckenzie couple opted for a second opinion at another fertility clinic, recommended by a fertility specialist.

The specialist assured the couple that he would get them pregnant and offered free service for the first three months of the IVF process. But after six IVFs at the second fertility clinic, surrogacy was the last and only option. The couple decided to give it a chance.

The surrogate, Lee-Ann Laufs, from Kirstenhof, became a client at Tasha’s hair and beauty salon and as the relationship grew over time, Tasha opened up about her story and explained that she was thinking about getting a surrogate mother.

“I volunteered to be a surrogate for the Mckenzies but this statement was taken lightly many times as Tasha was in disbelief.” said Lee-Ann. She continued to go to the salon and the discussions about planning a family and surrogacy always came up and she finally managed to convince Tasha that she was serious about being a surrogate mother for them.

Wayne was overwhelmed with Lee-Ann’s decision.

Lee-Ann confirmed her decision with her husband Shaun Laufs and he agreed, giving her full support. Lee-Ann had mulled over the idea of being a surrogate many years ago.

At the time of informing the Mckenzies of her decision, Lee-Ann was expecting her second baby. Once her son had been born, she had to wait a period of six months for her body to heal. The first IVF for the surrogate was unsuccessful. “I was devastated for Tasha and Wayne even my husband was very emotional,” recalled Lee-Ann.

The Mckenzies joined with Lee-Ann for the second IVF which was a success and they fell pregnant with twins. “We got two for the price of one,” quipped Tasha.

On Monday May 15 this year Lee-Ann gave birth to twin girls via caesarian section, each child weighing 3kg. Lee-Anne welcomed the Mckenzies to join her in the theatre as the delivery took place.

The twin girls’ birth had social media buzzing. “Likes, comments and congratulations were in place minutes after we posted about the birth,” said Wayne.

Lea-Rae Mckenzie was the first-born and her name derives from Wayne’s mother and Tasha’s friend who passed away. Madison-Lee, the second-born, is named after Lee-
Ann.

The McKenzies are enjoying their time with their twin daughters and finally having a happy ending to their emotional journey to parent-
hood.

IVF is one of the more widely known types of assisted reproductive technology.

IVF has many steps, and it takes several months to complete the whole process. It sometimes works on the first try, but many people need more than one round of IVF to get pregnant.

What’s the IVF process?

Once the ovaries have produced enough mature eggs, a doctor removes the eggs (this is called egg retrieval). In a lab, the eggs are mixed with sperm cells from your partner or a donor – this is called insemination. The eggs and sperm are stored together in a special container, and fertilisation happens. For sperm that have lower motility (don’t swim as well), they may be injected directly into the eggs to promote fertilisation. As the cells in the fertilised eggs divide and become embryos, people who work at the lab monitor the progress.

About three to five days after the egg retrieval, one or more embryos are put into the uterus (this is called embryo transfer). The doctor slides a thin tube through the cervix into the uterus, and inserts the embryo directly into the uterus through the tube. Pregnancy happens if any of the embryos attach to the lining of the uterus.

* Source: www.plannedparent
hood.org