An OFW reached his dream of becoming a full-fledged father by undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and spending over Php 9 million in the process.
Dan Lester Dabon, a 32-year-old healthcare professional in Abu Dhabi, CEO of DLD Consulting in the Philippines, and recipient of The Filipino Times Awards 2016 Healthcare Professional of the Year, explained that his path to parenthood hasn’t been as easy as many people believe.
In an interview with GMA 7’s Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho (KMJS), Dan revealed that if he decided to do it normally, his sperm count – which includes the shape, motility, and actual count of his sperm – is insufficient to reach a woman’s egg cell if done naturally.
“Yung problema sa akin is yung shape at saka yung movement – na kapag ginawa siya naturally, hindi siya aabot doon sa stage na mame-meet niya yung egg,” said Dan in an interview with KMJS.
This is when he examined the idea of becoming a parent via IVF, in which his sperm and egg cell would be processed in a lab to make an embryo.
Dan travelled from Abu Dhabi to St. Petersburg, Russia, in February 2020, to locate an IVF clinic and choose from 500 child photos from a potential egg donor.
“Yung konsepto kasi ng mga tao na dapat maganda ang anak ko kasi ibang lahi, which is dapat i-correct natin kasi when you go through an IVF dapat yung iisipin ninyo, who will be the healthiest donor,” said Dan who chose a 24-year-old Russian woman to give birth to a set of twins.
However, his expectations were dashed in March 2021 when the embryo transfer process failed.
“Nung nag-fail yung first embryo transfer, si mama yung late ko nang sinabihan kasi alam ko siya yung mas magiging sensitive. Ang sabi niya lang sa akin is if hindi ko na kaya – kasi alam niya na depressed talaga ako, if hindi ko na kaya, tama na,” said Dan referring to his'mama,' who was actually his grandma Helen, who raised him as their own son alongside his grandfather Leonardo after his mother abandoned him at a young age.
Dan suffered from sadness and developed vitiligo, an auto immune skin disease, as a result of his twins’ death. Despite his loss, his family remained supportive: “Kung meron mang tao talaga na sobrang glad and grateful ako, sila talaga iyon kasi suportado ako ng family ko.”
In May 2021, he tried fate once more by returning to Russia for another embryo transfer – but only one of the twins had a heartbeat during the initial checkup.
“When we did our first scan, I was very happy. I think that was the happiest part of my life na finally buntis na talaga – ito na, magiging tatay na ako tapos dalawa pa! During the first scan, isa lang yung nagkaroon ng heartbeat,” said Dan. At this moment, his IVF expenses already reached nearly Php 9 million.
“Siguro may reason si God kung bakit binigay niya na isa lang. Siguro pag naging twins iyon tapos ako lang mag-isa, hindi ko alam kung ano ang gagawin ko,” said Dan.
Dan brought a healthy baby girl named ‘Danaya Liya’ into his life on January 29, 2022, whom Dan refers to as a ‘God’s gift’ and the personification of his ‘happiness.’ He also recalled being a fan of GMA 7’s ‘Encantadia’ in the past and being astonished by the prowess of Kapuso actress Sanya Lopez in its latest version.
“Binabati ko kayo dahil nabalitaan kong isinilang na ang munting sanggol at ito ay ipinangalan sa akin!” said Lopez in her congratulatory message to the Dabon family.
Dan stated that after all of his difficulties, he is now pleased to be a father and is ready to face the next set of obstacles with his daughter.
“From time to time talaga, sinasabihan ko na mahal ko siya tapos everyday, palagi pa rin akong nagpapasalamat kay Lord kasi nga binigay niya si Danaya,” said Dan.
OFW spends Php 9M to fulfill wish to become a father via IVF|Filipino Times, Dan Lester Dabon