The IVF Years…

At Carla’s First Birthday…

Carl suggested that I tell the IVF story – from a father’s view point.  He was like that, always challenging – taking you out of your comfort zone… 

Plenty had been written on the science (by those more qualified)  and the tabloids had done the schmaltz… ad nauseum… So what did he want me to write?   

To answer that, one needs to know the man – the man behind the surgical mask, behind the academic accolades, the media tart (he was) – the Peter Pan who was Carl Wood… My friend, often more Peter Pan than Carl Wood… I think he would want me to talk about the human stuff, the funny bits, the sad bits, the silly bits and the naughty bits.  He LOVED the naughty bits, and he was brilliant at ‘silly’. 

I’ve been with him while he presented to Parliamentary Hearings, with him at Award Ceremonies – and with him (in our garden) playing a beloved ‘Professor Rabbit’ to his three year old name sake… She had him drinking pretend tea – from the dogs bowl… 

The worst bit about all this?  I’ve left the writing too late to ask his opinion… He would never have insisted on approving the content – he trusted me – and that makes it even harder.  I miss our regular phone calls… “Er… it’s Carl here John…” or – him always available for me when I needed advice.  I trusted HIM too. 

He’s been retired for a few years now – and living in a quite different world.  He always did – but we could go and find him – then. I hope he does get to read this – and I hope… It’s called ‘the long goodbye’. 

1976: Our First Meeting

“And you can tell your idiot boyfriend from me…” 

“You can tell him yourself – he’s just outside the door…”  So he did – in no uncertain terms.  And he sketched as he talked…  It was our first trip to Melbourne and to Monash University.  A doctor friend had arranged the introduction – and I was sitting in the waiting room while Anthea had her first consultation. She had asked if she should stop taking the pill. “You’re on the pill?  Ferchrissake WHY?” “Because John insisted…” and that’s when I was dragged into a very embarrasing lecture – and started to learn about infertility!   

He wanted Anthea off ‘the pill’ immediately and to have six natural cycles – then return to Melbourne and he would do a first ‘exploratory’. 

I just sat very quietly – nodding when I thought it appropriate…  I was to do a lot of nodding in the years to come – but I kept the sketch. 

My Tribute to Professor Carl Wood
Unique medical visionary…
Pioneer of IVF…
Dear friend…
and a bloody good bloke! 

And to Professor Alan Trounson
MSc, PhD
Scientific Director…
For showing me things that no father EVER gets to see.

And Anthea
No longer my wife,
but still my dear friend…
My thanks for these memories, the gift of fatherhood, and two very special young people. 

And to Carla & JB
My Everything…You have taught me just how ‘empty’ being childless could have been…And you’ve taught me (again) to love. 

Last updated: May 2006
This page is a ‘work in progress..’ and may take some time to complete… like 27 years… so far!




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