When Sara Marshall-Page mentioned to her friend Bronwen, that she wanted to talk to women who have had babies later in life, she immediately scribbled down a phone number for a friend of hers.
At the age of 50, using an egg donor, she had successfully fallen pregnant after just one round of IVF. “Tina Malone is amazing,” she said. “Call her!”
Sara says ‘I felt so awkward as I dialled the number; after all, Tina Malone is a busy working actress, writer, director, producer, wife and mummy. She wasn’t expecting my call, she didn’t even know me…. how would she react to a stranger asking her if she had 10 minutes to spare to talk about her personal experience of having IVF in her fifties?’
Tina’s openness to share her story
“Hello Tina, I’m Sara, a friend of Bronwen’s. I have a website all about IVF and fertility and was wondering if I could talk to you about your experience of IVF?” I blurted out.
“Hi love. Of course you can. I’ve only got ten minutes mind…”
An hour later and we were still talking. My friend was right. Tina Malone is amazing. She talked openly and honestly about how hard she has worked for everything she has achieved, including the birth of her second daughter Flame who was conceived through IVF. She is an inspiration to every woman who thinks they have ‘left it too late to have a baby’. Her attitude towards harsh critics who believe 50 is too old to become a mother, is inspirational and encouraging. Tina makes you want to stand up and shout “yes! I can do this!”
Making the decision to have a child in her forties
Tina had her first daughter, Danielle at the age of 17. 28 years later, at the age of 45 she met Paul, 19 years her junior. The couple fell in love, got married and decided they wanted to start a family. Although not physically fit, mentally, Tina was in the perfect place to become a mother. “I’m educated, wise, financially stable, own a house, have a job and I’m in love. I’m in a better place now than when I got pregnant at 17”.
On the advice of her doctor and exploring many options from surrogacy to adoption, the couple opted for IVF abroad, at a clinic in Cyprus.
Preparing for treatment
Before treatment began, Tina had to get healthy. This meant altering her lifestyle. She cut back on work, stopped smoking, lowered her cholesterol and had a gastric band fitted, losing a staggering 11.5 stone.
Malone conceived using a donor egg
Tina conceived Flame using a donor egg and the sperm of her husband Paul. Initially she was concerned her daughter would not share her DNA, but she said: “Doctors said it was my placenta she was growing in and my blood coursing through her veins. She’s totally my daughter and I love her.”
Due to Tina developing pre-eclampsia, a condition that is more common in older mothers, she had to have an emergency caesarean. Although it was a traumatic birth, which could have killed her, she said she would like another child with the other fertilised embryos.
Proud to be a role model for women having babies later in life
Tina explained how she is proud to be a role model for older ladies wanting babies.
She said: “I’m not saying you should run out at 50 and get pregnant, but we should encourage debate on older women who are by this age more successful in the workplace, more educated and can make better choices with men and relationships.”
She continued: “Why shouldn’t you have the opportunities in your 40’s to go for IVF, either with your own eggs or egg donation?”
“People might criticise, but I couldn’t care less. I am the happiest I’ve ever been”
Tina acknowledged that not everyone shared her views “People might criticise, but I couldn’t care less. Is it better to have a baby at 21 with no home, no income, no fella, no education? Should you have a baby just because you are able? No.”
“For me it was the right time to have a baby and I’ve paid for the IVF myself and it’s my choice.” She expressed she’s the happiest she’s ever been with a wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters.
We highly recommend you buy Tina’s autobiography ‘Back in Control’. Her fearless determination and incredible sense of humour is truly motivational.