“After doing thorough research and consulting experts on the various Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments, we opted for IVF because the chances are better. I was even hoping for twins although I was informed that multiple births are prone to risks,” she says.
In 2017, the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council stated that Malaysia is recognised as the preferred destination for health- care particularly for ART since the country records a 65 per cent success rate for its IVF treatments compared to the global average rate of 50 per cent.
According to the Mayo Clinic, IVF is the most effective form of ART and involves a complex series of procedures to help couples having trouble conceiving due to problems like blocked fallopian tubes or low sperm count.
The time-consuming and expensive treatment can result in a pregnancy with more than one foetus and the chance of having a baby depends on multiple factors, including age and the cause of infertility.
In IVF, mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a lab before the resulting embryo is implant- ed in the uterus.
One cycle of IVF takes about two weeks and Siti Nurhaliza underwent three cycles in her years of IVF treatment.
“When I went for the treatment for the first time, I wasn’t that strict with myself. After the transfer of the embryo to the uterus, I resumed my daily activities and didn’t restrict my movements.
“But after several failed attempts, I real- ised that my body was fragile and I should be more focused and extra careful during the whole process. On top of that, I couldn’t wait much longer because I wasn’t young anymore,” she says.
Although most women on IVF treatment describe the process as painful or gruel- ling, Siti Nurhaliza says it was manageable.
So what kept her going?
“My hopes stayed alive because I always believe that rezeki (gift) will be granted by Allah as long as we don’t stop trying.
“Throughout the whole journey, I hung on to my belief that rezeki comes in many forms and Allah will eventually grant what I wish for as he knows what is right for me. That was my strength. That kept me going. “I never gave up and it was worth the
wait,” she says.
IVF finally worked for Siti Nurhaliza in 2017. However, she only announced the good news to the press in October, her fourth month of pregnancy.
Her statement confirmed speculation of her pregnancy which had been rife given that she had scaled down her activities and was staying under the radar for months.
“I was nervous whenI found out I was pregnant.I had had a miscarriage in 2015, but I wasn’t on IVF during that period. It wasa natural conception and the miscar- riage affected me emotionally,” admits Siti Nurhaliza, adding that at that time she did not go for IVF because she was focusing on her concerts.
“I took extra precautions to be on the safe side especially during the first trimes- ter. I didn’t want to take things for granted, especially with this being my third IVF cycle,” she says.
During the first trimester, the singer was confined to her bedroom. She was prescribed bed rest by her doctor. And her career was put on hold.
“I didn’t do any shows or go for photo shoots. I took plenty of rest and ate a healthy diet.I spent the whole three months in bed, reading and surfing the Internet. At times, my husband helped move me in a wheelchair or lifted me up.”
COMEL PIPI MERAH
Siti Nurhaliza mendokumentasikan hatinya
The lullaby tune Comel Pipi Merah was uploaded on YouTube via her official DatoSNurhaliza Vevo channel on March 28 and has garnered over 3.3 million views, 66,000 likes and over 2,000 comments to date.
The single was composed by the singer herself with lyrics penned by her manager and sister-in-law Rozi Abdul Razak.
The music video of the catchy song featured Siti Nurhaliza, who was heavily pregnant at the time, singing the tune, with an interspersing sequence of scenes from ultrasound images of Siti Aafiyah and snapshots of the baby when she was born. Motherhood has been a blissful expe- rience for the singer and her husband.
Siti Aafiyah is exclusively breastfed by her mother.
“Aafiyah is a darling. She’s easy to take care of.I wish I can take her with me wher- everI go. The one thing that I now can’t leave home without is my breast pump,” she says, smiling.
She and Khalid are in the process of setting up a fertility centre under Yayasan Nurjiwa to help couples in a similar pre- dicament.
“Everything is in progress but we have yet to ascertain the eligibility criteria for couples seeking treatment at the centre.” Her advice to couples who are keen on going for IVF? “Be patient and understand the concept of rezeki — what is meant for you will come to you. The couple must stay focused and be physically and mentally prepared to go through the process espe- cially to overcome the two big challenges in infertility treatments: The process itself
and people’s perception.
“On top of it all, the couple must under- stand and appreciate each other. The hus- band must understand that the wife is not only facing physical changes but emotional changes as well. Try to stay positive and support each other. And don’t be shy to seek help.”
Is she going to have another child?
“Yes, I would like to have another child but not so soon. Perhaps my husband and I will try again after two years, Insha Allah.