Woman gives birth to first child aged 52 after spending $200,000 on IVF
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A woman has given birth to her first child at the age of 52 thanks to the incredible power of IVF, having spent more than $200,000 on the fertilisation process.
Luise Hoehn gave birth on Christmas Day after trying for a baby for six years using IVF therapies and donor eggs.
She had met now-husband Dean, 47, back in 2007, but didn’t start fertility treatment until nine years later.
By the time she was 46, Luise was already beyond the cut-off age for many clinics, meaning that when they eventually found a specialist who would work with them, they found their insurance would not cover most of the treatment cost.
After enduring six rounds of failed IVF, she and Dean finally welcomed son Stellan at the end of last year – but they’re not done there, as the couple plan on trying for another baby later in 2023.
Luise, from Lowell in Massachusetts, said she’d never met someone she wanted a family with until she met Dean, having had a ‘fulfilling job’ as a nanny.
She said: “When I was 42 my doctor asked if I wanted to talk to an IVF specialist.
“It had never occurred to me to freeze my eggs and I believed it would happen naturally, so I said no.”
When her periods stopped for two months, Luise was initially told she was menopausal, but thankfully it turned out not to be the case.
The scare prompted her to ‘stop waiting for something to happen naturally’, with the couple having their first IVF consultation in January 2016.
Luise, who turns 53 this year, admitted she felt ‘very disappointed’ when the doctor recommended donor eggs as she was past the ideal age for trying with her own, but decided to ‘try with them anyway’.
She underwent her first IVF cycle in March 2017, and worked with a local doctor for a further two cycles when this failed.
They then moved to a clinic five hours away in Manhattan for another three cycles.
Following six failed rounds using Luise’s own eggs – a process that cost more than $115,000 – the pair ended up having to spend $75,000 on donor eggs.
Luise continued: “My husband’s insurance paid for the first round and half the second round.
“After that, we are fortunate that Dean has a job that afforded us the opportunity to keep trying more IVF cycles and we had to keep trying because it was what we both wanted.”
They agreed to search for a donor egg in 2019, settling on one two years later.
Luise said: “I am over the moon with the donor, she matches me perfectly.
“Ethnically, she could be my sibling, but also her personality and characteristics meant she was an ideal match for what I was looking for as my stand-in for my genetic half.
“It was important I found someone who represented me and I went through several agencies.”
She transferred the first embryo in May 2022, and had a positive pregnancy test eight days later.
Little Stellan was born via caesarean section at 35 weeks, weighing 4lb 15oz.
“He’s so calm and peaceful and we are slowly finding our feet as a family of three,” Luise said.
“I would like another transfer before the year is over, but I want to adapt to life with Stellan first and my body to recover.
“Once our family is complete, we expect to donate any remaining eggs.
“I was given the option to transfer more than one egg, but I was aware of the added complications with multiples, as well as my age, so I avoided unnecessary complications.”
She’s even been able to breastfeed, despite worrying that her age would affect her milk supply.
“The hospital was fantastic and encouraged me with a breast pump and we used donor breast milk too initially,” Luise said.
The new mother decided to post her baby news in an older mums’ support group, hoping that seeing successful attempts would inspire others ‘not to give up’.
She said: “It helped me to realise I’m not too old to carry and safely deliver a healthy baby and when you’re trying for so long you need to hear that it does happen successfully for older women.
“We paid more for IVF than we did for our house, but becoming parents is priceless.
“Our baby arrived on Christmas Day and he is the best present we could have ever wished for."
She called her son 'an absolute joy for us'.
“Of course, the night feeds are challenging as they are for any new parent, at any age" she continued.
“I may not have the stamina I once had, but I do have the motivation and a wealth of knowledge and experience.
“He is the love of our lives and he is the best decision we have ever made.
"I look forward to trying another transfer so that we may have a sibling for Stellan.”