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Two couples tell Tengku Nor Azah how their dreams of having children become a reality
NORZAINAB Paee and Faizul Harris Mohd Kamal, both 39, were college sweethearts. They met when they were studying IT at Institut Teknologi Mara (now UiTM).
Three years after graduation, they tied the knot in 2000. But unlike many of their friends, their journey to parenthood took longer than expected. “We had a happy marriage even though we did not have any children, but of course, when you’re married and get older, you’d want children of your own,” says Faizul, who works in an IT company in Kuala Lumpur. He adds that seeing their friends with their children made them yearn to become parents.
Fortunately they had understanding families. “Our parents were very supportive and they never pressured us to have kids,” Zainab says while changing one of their twins’ diaper.
“We tried everything, even traditional massage and what-nots, but nothing worked. We finally decided to try in vitro fertilisation (IVF) for the first time in 2005,” says the doting father.
Unfortunately, Zainab had a miscarriage after the first treatment. The couple took a break and tried again a few years later. It didn’t work too. Asked whether the treatments have made a dent in their finances, Faizul answers, “We didn’t think much about it. You can’t put a price on children.”
Luckily, third time’s the charm. Zainab finally decided to give up her career as a manager at an IT firm just as she started her IVF cycle.
It was a huge sacrifice but it was worth it. Their third treatment in late 2010 was successful and Zainab was pregnant with twins.
Kayla Fara and Kaysha Zara were born via Caesarean section on Aug 31 last year. They are not identical twins but if you look closely, their features are actually similar despite Kaysha being smaller than Kayla.
Being Merdeka babies, they are used to the limelight so they happily smile for the photographer.
The couple credits fertility consultant obstetric and gynaecology specialist Dr Colin Lee for being instrumental in helping Zainab conceive. Dr Lee has since left Tropicana Medical Centre (TMC) to set up his own fertility centre in Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara.
When asked if they will consider another round of IVF, Zainab says: “We haven’t thought about having more children at the moment, but we’ll see.”
Now that the twins are about to celebrate their first birthday Zainab is keen to start working again. “Doctors said there’s nothing wrong with us, so may be we’ll try in the future without the help of IVF,” says Faizul.
For many couples, parenthood is swift but for others, the journey isn’t as smooth. So when TMC celebrated its 3,000th IVF baby recently, couples came in droves to celebrate the joy of finally becoming parents.
One such couple is Suria Lasius, 33 and David Ching, 43. Suria from Sandakan in Sabah, married Ching in 2007 and started trying IVF treatment after a year of marriage.
“I was not getting younger and we both wanted children, so we decided to try IVF straight away,” says Ching.
Suria, the second of 12 siblings, was more than ready to start motherhood. “I have four brothers and seven sisters,” the homemaker says.
Her younger brother, who is present at the interview, is busy taking pictures of his nephew.
“We were hoping for twins but unfortunately, my wife had a miscarriage (of twins) the first time,” says Ching. “Perhaps the pressure was too much.”
Then Suria had a second miscarriage but despite the frustrations, the couple did not lose hope. They were more relaxed the third time and thought of IVF as just regular treatment. It was a success and Suria gave birth to a healthy 3.47kg baby named Glennson Ching Lasius on Nov 11, last year.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether the baby is a boy or a girl. What matters most is that the baby is healthy,” says Ching.
“I hope he’ll grow up to become a doctor like Dr Yong,” says Suria, referring to Dr Yong Jee Kien, TMC’s fertility specialist who was responsible for making the couple’s dream come true. Ching spent almost RM100,000 for the treatment and said it was worth every bit.
While many couples take the ability to conceive for granted, others have to try hard to start a family. For the latter, IVF is one of the options available. Treatment is relatively expensive, but there are affordable alternatives such as the Tunku Azizah Fertility Foundation. To date, TAFF has helped childless parents to conceive 86 babies.
Eligibility requirement to join the TAFF programme:
1. Registered husband and wife.
2. Both husband and wife are Malaysians.
3. Wife is 44 years old and below.
4. Maximum combined income of RM4,500 per month.
6. More than three years of marriage and only wife.