THE Australian Jewish Fertility Network (AJFN) raised over $180,000 on Monday’s Miracle Making Day following the organisation’s high-profile and moving event at Paddington’s Chauvel Cinema.
In one of her first public speaking engagements, Jenny Morrison, the wife of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, spoke of the couple’s struggle to form a family over 14 years, saying: “It was the holy grail … It’s like a natural thing everybody else can do but you are unable.”
After multiple rounds of IVF, Morrison underwent microsurgery for endometriosis, and then fell pregnant naturally – giving birth to Abbey Rose in 2007, and Lily two years later.
Morrison’s words, along with Channel Nine’s Peter Overton and comedian and writer Mary Coustas, had a profound impact on the 350-strong crowd.
“I took away the hope that hopefully one day soon I will be telling my husband the happy news,” said one audience member, while another remarked, “It was amazing to hear the lengths the speakers have gone to in order to have a family, and see that there is hope in all different ways.”
Highlighting challenges both women and men face on the infertility journey is a focus of this year’s AJFN campaign, and Overton, who is married to journalist Jessica Rowe, remarked, “I didn’t like seeing what the one I loved the most was going through.” He added, however, “You hang in and there is hope.”
That hope was born when the couple had Allegra in 2007, and Giselle two years later.
Reflecting on the “inspiring” community spirit palpable on the night, Overton added, “What a community you all are to rally around and support each other.”
Coustas spoke of having 23 rounds of IVF treatment. In 2013, she conceived using a donor egg and had a baby girl, Jamie.
The AJFN also recently received a special pool of funding in honour of Shoah survivor, Leslie Kleinman, and the late Sonia Hall as part of a campaign run by JRoots. Through seven fertility charities, families around the world were allocated funding for fertility treatment in memory of Kleinman’s seven siblings who perished in Auschwitz.