Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Kiwis' babymaking struggle brought to small screen

Teresa and David in Inconceivable. Photo / Supplied
Teresa and David in Inconceivable. Photo / Supplied

The hopes and struggles of eight Kiwi couples battling infertility will be highlighted in a new TV documentary series starting this week.

Six-parter Inconceivable was two years in the making. Cameras capture the highs and lows as the couples tackle the challenges of trying to start a family with the help of IVF. Retail workers David and Teresa Hill from Wellington, who met seven years ago, feature in the first episode.

The couple have been raising Kingston, Teresa's son from another relationship, since shortly after he was born.

After a year of trying to get pregnant, the Hills had a niggling feeling that something was wrong. They suspected David, 30, might have a low sperm count - but in fact he had zero.

"When we got the test results back we were both pretty shocked," Teresa, 27, told the Herald on Sunday. "We immediately assumed we would need to go down the sperm donor route if we wanted to have a baby."

Further tests showed David is a carrier of cystic fibrosis and this was likely the cause of the problem.

"We were told David was producing fertile sperm but it just wasn't getting out and doctors would need to try to extract some with a medical procedure," Teresa said. "It was very stressful and with any form of IVF there is no guarantee of any success.

"Fortunately David and I are a great team and the whole experience brought us even closer together."

The result of the Hills' treatment is revealed as the series unfolds.

Dr Andrew Murray, from Fertility Associates in Wellington, was closely involved with the Hills' journey. He hoped the series will help demystify infertility, which affects one in four couples in New Zealand.

"We tried to portray what we do as realistically as possible and not everyone has a positive outcome," Murray said. "Hopefully the series will demonstrate infertility treatment is not as scary as it is made out to be."

Murray believed more couples were seeking help as some women delayed pregnancy until their mid-30s and ran out of time for a second.

"Often it is a medical issue that is causing the problem and needs to be treated as such," he said. "The sooner people ask for help, the better chance they have of a successful result."

Inconceivable starts on Tuesday on TV One at 8.30pm.

- Herald on Sunday

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