Claire always knew that she wanted to have children and from her early-thirties became increasingly keen to have a baby, so when she hit 36 and had still not found ‘Mr Right’ she decided to go it alone and become an ‘IVF single mother’.
“It was not an easy decision but I didn’t want to miss out,’ she recalls. ‘I have the rest of my life to meet Mr Right, but only a limited window to have children”.
Claire went to a London clinic for IUI (Intrauterine insemination), where she had four rounds of treatment with donor sperm. Unfortunately, three of the rounds of IUI were unsuccessful including early miscarriage.
“I decided to cut to the chase and try full blown IVF. As this involved many more appointments, I moved to another clinic nearer to my work.”
Claire then looked for an IVF clinic in Cambridge and chose Bourn Hall.
“It was so lovely I wished I had gone there from the start,” she says. “With the big London clinics you rarely see the same person twice, there is little continuity of care. It feels very much like a business first and about making babies second.”
“At Bourn Hall I felt cared for and that their priority was to help me make a baby.”
“I had been talking to friends about my attempts to have a baby and someone mentioned a mutual friend of ours who really wanted children and was also not in a relationship. I asked her ‘do you think he would like to be my baby-daddy?’ and she said “yes!” without hesitation. She broached the subject with him and he was immediately on board.
“We discussed everything we could think of about the implications of having a baby together and found we agreed on all the big issues. He definitely didn’t just want to be a sperm donor, he wanted to be a father, so we are co-parenting – it’s all thoroughly modern! We drew up a shared-parenting agreement and agreed contact and financial contribution. We got professional advice and counselling, it was almost like arranging a divorce settlement but without the acrimony!”
It was suggested to Claire that an intralipid infusion might help to reduce the risk of miscarriage and she agreed. “I’m not someone who would normally agree to try a relatively new treatment, but as the infusions are an entirely natural product with no side effects, I agreed to try them. I took my cousin along to the infusion sessions to chat with me while I was hooked up for an hour or so and it was all fine, there was no discomfort – just a slightly chilly arm!”
Treatment resulted in 20 eggs, which were fertilised, and the embryos were taken to blastocyst stage, which is when the cells start to differentiate and are ready to implant in the womb. Claire had two embryos transferred and soon found she was pregnant and the pregnancy progressed well.
To everyone’s delight Claire gave birth to her beautiful baby boy, safe and sound, in September 2013.
For Claire the experience at Bourn Hall was a highly positive one.
“I have my lovely co-parent who wanted to be part of the pregnancy and share the concerns and the joys of parenthood. The clinic was so supportive and made me feel extremely well cared for. I wish I had come to Bourn Hall from the outset.”
You can hear more about Claire’s quest to become a mother by listening to the audio clip below.