WHEN Deborah and Tommy Carberry, from Celbridge, married in 2005, they thought they would come home with a honeymoon baby. Two years later, Deborah (33) decided to seek help. The couple was referred to a fertility clinic and after some tests, their doctor advised IVF.
Because of the cost of IVF, they decided to keep trying on their own for a year and then tried two rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination – a less invasive procedure than IVF). "But I never even had a hint of a pregnancy," says Deborah. At that stage, it was time to move on to IVF.
Deborah had never made any secret of her longing for children. "Everyone knew I was dying for babies. And people knew I was up the walls by the time we started IVF. It wasn't something that was hushed, it was quite openly spoken about."
On Deborah's test day, Tommy was leaving for work early in the morning, so they tested at 2am. "We covered the test with tissue paper and we waited and we waited and when the time was up I said, you look. I was shaking. When we took the tissue paper off, there was a clear blue line." Eight months after the couple's daughter, Ellie, was born, Deborah discovered she was pregnant again.
"Oh my God, the shock. I thought it couldn't happen." Eight months later, Ethan was born.
"You have to go through infertility to understand it," says Deborah.
"I remember friends announcing pregnancies and I'd have to walk out and leave the room.
"It's soul-wrenching, when you want something so much."
The research of Dr Alice Domar, professor at Harvard Medical School, suggests that the stress endured by infertility patients is comparable to that experienced by people undergoing treatment for cancer and Aids.
A 2004 study found that 40pc of infertile women suffered from depression, while 87pc had anxiety.
"There is no fertility treatment available on the health service in Ireland and insurance companies don't cover it, either.
"That's why I set up the charity, Pomegranate (www.pomegranate.ie), with Joanna Donnelly," Deborah added.