Australian IVF campaigner and Bourn Hall baby turns 40

Being a Bourn Hall baby has shaped Rebecca Featherstone’s life. At 18 she helped lobby the Australian government to extend IVF treatment to women over 35; now, as she turns 40, Rebecca and her dad reflect on the impact of IVF on their lives. 

Rebecca’s parents Judy and Don were among the first to be treated at Bourn Hall after it opened in 1980. They had secondary infertility after the birth of their first daughter and tried both IVF treatment and adoption in their struggle to complete their family. Both succeeded and the family of five moved to Australia shortly afterwards.

Rebecca was told at twelve that she was a miracle baby, but her life changed at 18 when she was asked to support a campaign to make IVF more widely available and she met Australia’s first IVF baby. After that she became a fertility education campaigner, running Fertility Matters with fellow IVF baby Candice Reed. Rebecca also works at IVFAustralia as a relationship manager, a job that she feels very passionate about.

Proud to be a Bourn Hall baby

“I am so proud to be a Bourn Hall baby and it has shaped me as a person – so much that I am now working within IVF!” says Rebecca.

“To think my life started 40 years ago with the help of the amazing Steptoe and Edwards and the team at Bourn Hall – and of course, my beautiful mother Judy and father Don, who experienced infertility when IVF was still in its infancy.

“We sadly lost my mother this year, but as I reach 40 I reflect on what she would be thinking. I know she would be proud of me. She inspired me so much to become the person I am today.

“I also look at my beautiful children, who were conceived naturally, but would not be here today were it not for IVF.”

Early IVF baby now campaigner for fertility education
Judy took Rebecca to see Bourn Hall Clinic

Thank you Bourn Hall

“My darling Judy wanted nothing more than a big family,” recalls Rebecca’s father Don.  “We had our eldest daughter Johanna naturally but then things went wrong, and we couldn’t have any more. So we applied for adoption and at the same time went up to Bourn Hall for IVF.

“After a few weeks of treatment, the telephone rang with the joyous news that Judy was pregnant with Rebecca. Ten minutes later the phone rang again saying we had been given a baby boy, James, to adopt. Our family went from three to five in ten minutes!

“Judy was a wonderful mother to our three children and a generous and loving grandmother to our six grandchildren. Rebecca is now 40 and blooming! I can see Judy in her and in her two gorgeous children Talita and Rafael. Thank you Bourn Hall.”

Don and Judy Featherstone
Don and Judy Featherstone
Judy Featherstone at Bourn Hall
Judy Featherstone at Bourn Hall in 1982
Don with baby Rebecca
Don with baby Rebecca
Rebecca with Talita and Rafael
Rebecca with her children Talita and Rafael
Judy with baby Rebecca
Judy with baby Rebecca

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