The audience listened, enthralled, as Greek Australian author Despina Meris recounted her incredible odyssey that would take her across the world, in her determination to become a mother.

The event at Melina on the Rooftop, was sold-out, as several women and men attended the presentation of Ms Meris’ book, ‘Every Conceivable Way’ on Sunday 21 March.

During the event, the author talked about her tumultuous journey and heartache of nine years, as she tried to overcome her problems of infertility with IVF and international surrogacy, and confront situations out of her control, before she would finally hold her child.

“The whole saga was so surreal,” Ms Meris said. “And I’m so blessed that I was able to write this book and bring our story to light. I never had time to think about it at the time because I was so busy fighting. But looking back at the story in all its entirety, it is something that Bill and I can be so proud of. I’m so thankful to have had Bill by my side for this journey and for the road ahead. And I can’t wait for Evander to read his story.”

Despina Meris addressing the audience. Photo: K. Deves

Her dramatic journey would take her from India for IVF, to the Ukraine, and finally to Thailand.

Every step of the way, Despina Meris and her husband Bill, faced obstacles that were beyond their control.

Their plans in Ukraine were blown over, as just before their final step, Russia invaded Ukraine in response to the rebellion, and a war erupted. Ms Meris would be thrown off course, depleted and ready to give up, when, leading IVF specialist Dr Nick Lolatgis would come into the picture and renew the couple’s determination and hope, finding the exact problem to their inability to carry a child full-term.

Though both Despina Meris and her husband had no health issues that would normally prevent them from conceiving and bringing a baby into the world, Dr Lolatgis found that the couple shared a gene match, that would always reject the embryo, if Ms Merris was to carry it.

This was such a revelation to the couple, as so many things were finally explained, and they knew for certain that their only option would be surrogacy.

Though everything started off smoothly in Thailand, and their surrogate became pregnant with the first transfer, only a week later, the military junta outlawed surrogacy in Thailand, bringing about yet another set of obstacles for the couple to overcome, before they could finally be united with their baby boy.

Mary Tsaganas, Despina Meris, Nassia Dimitrakopoulos, Dr Nick Lolatgis, Maria Vamvakinou MP, Taksia Tsaganas, Carli Gotsis. Photo: K. Deves

Due to the pandemic, the book presentation organized by the Pammessinian Brotherhood ‘Papaflessas’, at Melina, was delayed until it was rescheduled for March, to coincide with International Women’s Day and the bicentennial celebrations of Greece’s 1821 Revolution and War of Independence.

Amongst those who attended were MP Maria Vamvakinou, and Dr Nick Lolatgis, leading IVF specialist.

The organisers of the event were Denise Zapantis, Mary Tsaganas and Nassia Dimitrakopoulos, of the Pammessinian Brotherhood.
The event resulted in a charitable contribution of $2000 in proceeds, raised for Pink Elephants, a charity devoted to providing emotional support for women who have experienced early pregnancy loss.

Denise Zapantis, Stella Vamvakinou, Maria Vamvakinou MP, Despina Meris, Carli Gotsis, Taksia Tsaganas, Nassia Dimitrakopoulos, Mary Tsaganas, Evelyne Mandoukos, Rhea Gotsis, Jiuliana Charpantidou. Photo: Κ. Deves