Arizona couple Kimberly and Patricia O’Neill wanted to display the realities of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) by sharing a newborn photoshoot of their ‘rainbow baby’ – a child who was conceived following a stillbirth, miscarriage or infant death.
As many couples and families who experience infertility know – nothing about the IVF journey is easy. The O’Neill’s photoshoot features hundred of IVF needles, shedding a light on just how much is involved in the process.
The couple admitted that their three-week old daughter London was born after four years of trying, seven attempts, three miscarriages and 1,616 injections. They proud parents said that they wanted the image to symbolize hope for other families going through IVF.
“I hope that there’s a couple out there that’s going through what we are that can see that there’s hope at the end of the tunnel,” Patricia O’Neill told CNN.
The immediate heart surrounding the infant is made of blood-thinner syringes her mom used twice a day while the outer ring is made up of the many IVF injections that followed.
Welcoming baby London on August 3, the O’Neills admit that her arrival was after years of “pain and disappointment.”
On Facebook the photo has more than 41,000 likes, 66,000 shares and 5,700 comments. Originally intended as a personal photograph, the family is happy the image has touched so many with thousands of users connecting to share well wishes and similar experiences.
“I can so see this as a beautifully framed photo in a doctor’s office or in a brochure to encourage and give promise to others. I can’t find the words,” commented one follower.
“This photo shows so much beauty and strength. Those lovenox injections are no joke. I take eight shots a day and we plan on doing something with all my saved up shots too. Tell the momma congrats because this is such a photo of strength from one mom who has a similar story. Miscarriage of twins, stillborn triplets and losing twin b in this current pregnancy. Please tell her my heart goes out to her. 2,072 shots by the time we deliver,” added another.
For the O’Neills four years of IVF cost them $40,000 (USD). In Canada, IVF is similarly expensive with a single session costing anywhere from $10-15,000.
According to most-recent stats from the Government of Canada, one in six Canadian couples experience infertility – a number that has doubled since the 80s.
Factors causing infertility for both women and men include cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, tobacco and alcohol use, and being under or over weight, along with various sex-specific factors.
For the O’Neill family, they couldn’t be happier to see baby London receiving so much love online. They’re hopeful the image inspires positivity for anyone who may be struggling through a similar journey.
“There’s a light and you just have to get there.”