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A touching photograph of a newborn baby conceived through IVF has gone viral after perfectly capturing the emotional rollercoaster of fertility treatment.
The image, which was shared on the Facebook page for Sher Institutes, an American chain of fertility clinics, shows the little girl surrounded by a heart shape constructed from syringes, which represent just a small percentage of the total number of injections her mother had to undergo during treatment.
‘Wow, what a photo. Thank you to Sher Fertility St. Louis and Dr. Dayal patient Angela, who shows the true definition of love that went into making this gorgeous new baby girl,’ the caption on the picture explains.
‘The needles were the easy part. It was the emotional struggle, the ups and downs, that really took a toll,’ Angela, who has asked to be identified only by her first name, told ABC News. ‘I’m single and waited a long time for a husband to come. And then by that time it was difficult to get pregnant.’
However, despite the heartache, she added that she would advise women who are having similar difficulties to ‘hang on in there.’
Since the picture of Angela’s daughter was posted on 5th October 2015, it’s had more than 6,000 shares, and hundreds of comments from other families who have experienced similar struggles, but ultimately managed to conceive.
‘My IVF babies are now 11. So blessed to be their mom,’ one woman wrote, whilst another shared a picture of her own little girl, explaining that she was ‘Our last round of IVF, last embryo. She turned 2 months this week. Bless those who help make this dream a reality.’
The picture has also opened dialogue between those who are contemplating IVF, and those willing to share their experiences.
One commenter asked: ‘I love this photo and that it gives women like me hope. My husband and I are contemplating trying IVF but the statistics are scary to us. Those of you that have done IVF- how many rounds did it take to get your miracle?’, and has had a handful of reassuring responses from other couples who has gone through several rounds of treatment.
‘We were also hesitant, but so happy we did it. Good luck!!’ read one of the replies.
Lisa Stark, director of communications for Sher Fertility Institute, told USA Today: ‘We felt like it was a provocative, emotional photo that captures the joy and pain of IVF,’ ‘We are overwhelmed by the response pouring in from women who can relate to the photo.’
Stark added that she hopes the photo will ‘encourage a culture of openness and elevate the dialogue around infertility,’ – and judging from the comments on their page, the conversation is already well underway.