Radio couple share IVF baby blues

By Rachel Grunwell

Dominic Harvey and Jay-Jay Feeney. Photo / Janna Dixon
Dominic Harvey and Jay-Jay Feeney. Photo / Janna Dixon

A celebrity couple have opened up about the emotional toll of failed IVF attempts in the hope others will take comfort from their ordeal.

Radio DJs Jay-Jay Feeney and Dominic Harvey have yet to decide if they want to continue with their dream of having children after six years of setbacks.

The husband and wife were forced to try IVF when doctors discovered a 9cm tumour in Harvey's aorta after he collapsed while running the Auckland Marathon.

Surgeons removed the benign tumour but the couple were told they would not be able to conceive naturally.

Their first two rounds of IVF were unsuccessful, but the third attempt in 2008 produced six eggs and an embryo, which resulted in pregnancy.

"We were so, so happy," recalled Feeney.

But just a few days later she had a miscarriage.

Feeney said her husband "really, really" wanted to be a dad so they decided to give it another shot.

Two embryos were successfully implanted, but bad news came two weeks later.

"I started bleeding and I just knew it was gone," said Feeney. "The realisation was instant."

Harvey remembered seeing her "shaking and white".

The couple put up pictures of each of the embryos on the wall at their Auckland home. The images symbolised "hope" the cells might grow, said Feeney.

"But now when I look at them I feel very sad."

Harvey said IVF "breaks you down a bit", but "it's a lot harder for the girls".

The couple will share their video diaries and intimate footage from a fertility clinic in a documentary to be screened on TV One's Sunday tonight.

Harvey, who admitted "it could be a cry-fest" watching the show, avoided caffeine, alcohol and hot baths to try increase his low sperm count.

Feeney said they have been blown away by the support they have received. Four male friends offered to give sperm, about 40 strangers have offered to be surrogates and one pregnant mother this year offered her baby because she could not cope with the large brood she already had.

Fertility Plus medical director Neil Johnson said one in six Kiwi couples experiences infertility. Most couples using IVF are aged 35-plus, he said.

Each cycle costs $10,000, and the first two are funded by the Government.

- Herald on Sunday

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