Wednesday 17 July 2019

Irish couple who welcomed baby Leo (1) after 12 year fertility struggle announce they are expecting a second baby

Fred, Orla & Leo (1)
Fred, Orla & Leo (1)

Patricia Murphy

A Dublin couple who welcomed their first child after struggling with infertility for more than 12 years are thrilled to be expecting their second child.

Fred and Orla Rainert from Sandyford went through six rounds of IVF and an “arduous” six year adoption process before Orla fell pregnant with baby Leo (1) and now the couple have revealed that they are “excited” to meet baby number two.

“We’re very excited to be expecting another little one. Leo came into our lives as such a surprise and we were always keen to give him a sibling.

“We didn’t want him to feel on his own and we wanted him to have an emotional support as he grows but because we are older parents,” said Orla, who is 48.

“I’m due on the first of June but we aren’t sure of the sex yet.

“I have an inkling that it’s a girl and our doctor thinks perhaps it is a boy. We’ll be able to tell at my 21 week scan.”

Baby Leo was born in 2014
Baby Leo was born in 2014
Leo and Orla pictured after his birth

The couple had undergone six failed attempts at IVF and their attempt to adopt a child from Russia was filmed as part of TV3’s Adoption Stories. The country’s adoption legislation changed as they were in the midst of the process.

“We went down the IVF route prior to adoption and that was a very tough time of our lives really. I think you go through the grieving process during IVF because each set back is a grief because it reminds you," she said.

Speaking to the documentary series Adoption Stories, Fred said: “Unfortunately after six years of renewing our documents our declaration was going to run out in October 2013. We knew by then that that was it.

“It was the end of the line for us, where adoption is concerned.”

The couple had begun the fostering process, in the hopes that they might be able to offer a home to a child in need.

However, after completing the course, Fred and Orla received a letter from the fertility clinic in which they had undergone IVF more than six years previously.

The clinic informed the couple that they had eggs remaining and requested their guidance as to what to do with them.

“I just couldn’t let them go,” said Orla.

Leo and Orla pictured after his birth
Leo and Orla pictured after his birth
Baby Leo was born in 2014

“We went along and sat with the doctor and decided to go for it one last time. Between January and March we started the drugs and implantation took place in March,” she said.

The pair were delighted when a pregnancy test on Mother’s Day 2014 revealed that Orla was pregnant with the couple’s child.

“I had done a pregnancy test on Mother’s day and I was pregnant with my first baby and I was overjoyed.

“One of the happiest moments of our lives was doing that pregnancy test. It was terrific. It was scary and happy,” she said.

Fred and Orla welcomed baby Leo soon afterwards and revealed that he has brought such happiness and brightness to their lives.

“He’s beautiful. When he arrived wailing and bawling, they put him right up to Orla’s cheek and just as their cheeks touched he stopped crying,” said Fred.

Orla said: "I cried my eyes out because he stopped crying and I haven’t stopped crying since. He’s just gorgeous and such a lovely little boy.

“He’s a little performer. He’s a Drama King. He’s very cheerful and affectionate. We love-bomb him.”

Orla revealed that those struggling with infertility need to find an outlet to express their feeling if they cannot confide in their loved ones.

“Every case is different,” she said.

“If you do have children you should just be conscious of those around you who might be struggling in secret. Having been through this I do know that you do need an outlet because it is an emotional struggle. Whether that’s speaking to family or friends or seeking the support of a group you have to cope with that before you can move forwards,” Orla said.

New series of Adoption Stories is airing on TV3 at 8.30pm tonight

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