Natalie Lovett, from Sydney’s Lilyfield, had a number of failed relationships, unsuccessful IVF attempts and a miscarriage.
She was told she could not carry her own biological child and instead of waiting for her needs to be met, she took control of her life.
Ms Lovett went onto an American database to legally choose anonymous donor eggs and donor sperm based on success rates and got a total of 28 embryos.
She travelled to the United States for the embryo transfer and nine months later gave birth to her daughter, Alexis, now aged three.
After trying to carry her second child without success, Ms Lovett decided to donate the unused embryos to people facing the same issues but on one condition — they all stay in touch.
She selected childless single parents, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples across Australia and the United Kingdom.
Natalie Lovett’s first cuddle with Lexie.Source:Supplied
Adelaide’s Fiona Fagan had her daughter, Adeline, 18 months ago and Mia Bee, of Narrabeen, had her son, Sam, 10 days later.
“We call them fraternal triplets because they were all conceived at the same time with the same batch of eggs and sperm,” the 50-year-old Ms Lovett said.
“We call them brother and sisters because they are full biological siblings and we call each other aunties.
“I’m a single parent so I was only giving Lex one side of the family. We’re an extended family and all go to each other’s everything.
Three-and-a-half years ago there was none of this.”
Fiona Fagan with Adeline as a baby and Natalie Lovett with Lexie.Source:Supplied
Ms Fagan, 49, had fertility issues and went through menopause in her early 30s.
She saw Ms Lovett’s ad on the Embryo Donation Network website and contacted her immediately.
“From meeting Nat to having Adeline was just 12 months,” Ms Fagan said.
“I get teary all the time thinking about this miracle. I look at Adeline and think she’s mine forever.
“If I was 10 years younger, I’d try for another in a heartbeat. We just have this extended family. “We’re the modern Australian family.”
The sisters and their brother together; Lexie Lovett, Adeline Fagan and Sam Bee.Source:Supplied
Ms Bee, 44, carries a generic condition and had six miscarriages before having Sam.
“One time we got to 18 weeks but my egg-quality just wasn’t there,” she said.
“I saw an ad on The Project that Nat was looking for people. I sent an email with the subject “pick me, pick me”.
“From the day I emailed Nat, we met about five weeks later and I was on a plane six weeks later to San Diego to pick up Sam.
“I know we’re not their biological parents, but biologically Sam has two sisters and its blood family.”
The three “single mothers by choice” are the success stories of the embryos so far.
“There are three children from the embryos but there could be more,” Ms Lovett said.
“We still have several transfers to go but they have all been allocated. There were 24 I ended up donating including two transfers to a lesbian couple in Perth.
“There’s been quite a number of failures. We had such a good start with the three of us who got pregnant immediately and we’ve had some challenges. We had an ectopic pregnancy.
“We’ve had two heterosexual couples. We wanted male role models for the village and to interact with the children.
“I have a couple in the UK who have been trying for quite some time without success.”
Lexie’s Village — A New Kind of Village book cover.Source:Supplied
Lexie’s Village — The Family Tree book cover.Source:Supplied
In her book, Lexie’s Village — A New Kind of Family, which launches today, Ms Lovett shares her journey after being inundated with stories from people coping with the same problems.
“We wanted to educate people that there are a lot of different ways to make a family,” she said.
“There’s still a lot of people who have embryos on ice that have finished their families but they are not willing to donate to others.
“I had a contract and had all my recipients sign it to stay in touch.
“I consciously allocated a chunk of embryos per person based on what they wanted in terms of their total family but I never gave them all to them.
“I stayed in complete control of the embryos. I wanted these embryos in people’s uteruses and not staying in people’s freezers.”
Natalie Lovett with Lexie.Source:Supplied
Ms Lovett said laws in Australia made it virtually impossible for eggs to be supplied. There was also a limited supply of sperm due to the open donor laws.
“When you need people to donate, they are quite young and there really needs to be a program in place to educate young Australians that by donating they’re helping other Australians,” she said.
University of Technology Sydney law professor Jenni Millbank was part of a team who undertook a study on embryo donation and the impact of law and policy.
“… remarkably little research has been conducted on those who do donate embryos, and on those who receive them,” the study found.
“Embryo donation and destruction is influenced by a number of external factors, including laws which limit the time embryos may be stored, as well as those which impose counselling and approval processes and provide or require donor identity disclosure.”
Ms Lovett’s second book, Lexie’s Village — The Family Tree, will be released mid-next year.
To buy the current book, visit Amazon or lexiesvillage.com.
● In Australia, it is illegal to buy or sell any human tissue including sperm, eggs and embryos
● Under current NSW law, a child born from a donated embryo is deemed to be the child of the birth mother
● In 2010, the NSW Health Department established a central register for donors and donor-conceived offspring