He is a Mummas’ boy! Couple speak out for PRIDE month

“We knew we wanted children but were very, very unsure of what our options were,” say Katie and Ali, who are celebrating their baby’s first birthday at the start of PRIDE month in June. The couple are sharing their journey in a webinar to help other same-sex couples have safe and successful treatment.“

Being in a same-sex relationship and wanting children, we assumed it was all a bit of a taboo thing and that we would have to go ‘underground’ to find a sperm donor and try to get pregnant,” says Katie.

The couple had already decided not to use a known donor as they wanted to be the baby’s only parents, with no one they knew “lurking in the background”, but they thought fertility clinics were just for heterosexual couples.

After trying at home with sperm sourced from the internet, the couple then chose IUI at Bourn Hall, a regulated fertility clinic. This ensured not only that the sperm they used was screened for hereditary and medical conditions, but also that they are both named legal parents of their children.

Ali and Katie chose IUI
Ali and Katie

Think about starting a family? Join our free webinar on 10 June: ‘Safe & Successful – options for lesbian couples who want a baby’

Tried the online DIY method unsuccessfully

After three DIY attempts the couple were advised by a friend to try Bourn Hall. Using a regulated fertility clinic, ensures not only that the sperm is screened for hereditary and medical conditions, but that they are both named legal parents of their children.

Senior Bourn Hall Fertility Nurse Specialist Jackie Richardson explains that there are a number of treatment options for same-sex couples: “Although IVF can initially be more expensive than IUI it often results in multiple embryos being created. These can be frozen and used for further treatment if the first cycle is not successful, or for siblings. IVF also offers the option for shared motherhood, where one partner provides the eggs and the other carries the pregnancy.

“We discuss with couples both options, depending on their fertility health and wellbeing.”

Ali and Katie with Harry and Oliver
Ali and Katie with Harry and Oliver

Like throwing a dart in the dark

It is often assumed that sperm is the only thing which same-sex female couples need in order to get pregnant, and the couple were surprised when they discovered the clinic does fertility tests for same-sex couples. This includes checking that the fallopian tubes are unobstructed, allowing the egg to reach the womb where it is fertilised.

For Ali and Katie, the tests revealed that Katie was fertile, but was ovulating (releasing an egg) late in her cycle, which makes timing difficult.

“This made us realise that there would have been no way for us to have ever become pregnant doing it ourselves at home. It would be like throwing a dart in the dark.”

The couple were advised on their options and chose IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), for which Katie was closely monitored using ultrasound to establish the best time to use the donated sperm. The couple became pregnant on the first attempt with Harry, who is now four, and then on the second attempt with Oliver, who will be one at the start of June.

The couple were matched with potential donors and they could choose one by looking through information about their characteristics, occupation and interests. The donor is anonymous, but Harry and Oliver could request identifying information when they turn 18 if they wish, along with a handwritten note from the donor.

Chose IUI and a sperm donor

The couple were matched with potential donors and they could choose one by looking through information about their characteristics, occupation and interests. The donor is anonymous, but Harry and Oliver could request identifying information when they turn 18 if they wish, along with a handwritten note from the donor.

The donor has no legal, financial or moral responsibilities for any resulting children because the couple went through a registered clinic and completed all the required paperwork.

Katie and Ali were also given free counselling, which they didn’t think they needed at first. “It was actually very informative and helped us to consider how we will talk to the boys in the future.”

As the family get ready to celebrate Oliver’s first birthday on the 1st of June, Katie says:

“Bourn Hall were more than accommodating, they were amazing. We never felt uncomfortable or ‘judged’ or that we shouldn’t be there or that we weren’t entitled to become parents. They just welcomed us and made everything so easy.

“I would say to any same-sex female couple looking to start a family: do your research. There are people who go down routes which are not safe. We had three goes at home which didn’t work and three goes at Bourn Hall and have two children. It speaks for itself really.”

Oliver's first birthday
Oliver's first birthday

More information

Find out more and get your own questions answered at our free webinar 10 June 2021: ‘Safe and successful – options for lesbian couples who want a baby’

IUI or IVF? – the benefits of using a regulated sperm bank.  giving examples of couples who chose IUI and IVF

Find out more about using donated sperm at Bourn Hall

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