In the face of the tragic passing of Ellidy Pullin’s partner Australian Olympic snowboarder Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin in a shallow-water diving incident on the Gold Coast last July, it was a quick-thinking friend who had the lightbulb moment that has now ultimately created a baby miracle for Ellidy.
Ellidy, 28, said after Chumpy’s sudden death she was in a terrible state – in shock and devastated by his sudden and unexpected passing – and it was just fortunate someone else was looking out for their baby dream.
“A friend who knew Alex and I had been trying to fall pregnant for some time had heard of the procedure of posthumous sperm retrieval but didn’t know how to mention it to me, so they told my mother, my best friend and Chumpy’s mum who all agreed to ask me” Ellidy said.
Ellidy immediately said 100 per cent yes to the idea and they set to work to sort out the legalities and find a specialist who could undertake the procedure within the required 36-hour time frame.
The sperm extraction procedure is a straightforward procedure that is commonly carried out in some IVF procedures.
Dr Andrew Davidson, Medical Director, City Fertility Gold Coast said testicular biopsy is sometimes used as a procedure to recover sperm from the testicles of men with genital tract obstruction, vasectomies or other issues including posthumous sperm extraction.
Alex’s sperm was extracted and rapidly frozen for preservation using standard methods.
Ellidy and Alex had met eight years prior in Sydney through mutual friends and having babies together was always on the cards. They had been trying for a year already.
Ellidy said following early investigations after not falling pregnant quickly, she had been diagnosed with a low egg count and her GP said it would probably take a while to fall pregnant. So, it was always in the back of their minds to soon start seeking the help of a fertility specialist anyway.
“I didn’t have any mood swings and despite my personal situation it was fairly smooth, the staff at the clinic were awesome in guiding me through the process,” she said.
“Even though I was going into the IVF on my own it felt right – I wasn’t ready to give up on our baby dream just yet.”
Ellidy said she knows everyone’s fertility journey is different and she personally has experienced some of the highs and lows of trying to fall pregnant.
She said she has some more embryos frozen but is happy with one baby at the moment and is taking one step at a time.
“I can’t wait for our baby to be born and for some of Alex to live on in our baby – it feels like the greatest gift. I am so grateful to friends and family who have and continue to help me on my new journey.”