IUI with donor sperm has given us ‘our little ray of sunshine’

“The IUI procedure was so quick and the staff so kind, I asked “is that it?” and they all giggled!” says Helen. “We still can’t believe it worked first time.”

“Sammy and I met eight years ago at work. We started as friends and then realised there was more to it. She has had a lot of commitments with her mum having primary progressive MS and initially we wanted to spend time visiting as many countries as possible together before starting a family.

Struggling with adenomyosis

“During the pandemic, instead of planning our next adventure, we started to investigate how we could become parents and spoke to others who had been through fertility treatment. I was concerned we might have left it too late to have our own family as I am eight years older than Sammy.

“I also have adenomyosis, which is a condition that causes the lining of the womb to bury into the muscular wall of the womb. It can affect the whole womb or just one part of it.

“When I was diagnosed, I was told it might affect my ability to have children and this always played on my mind. I was worried our journey could be tough.

Helen, Sammy and Jasper
Helen, Sammy and Jasper

“Our close friends used Bourn Hall for their IVF journey for both their sons and had thoroughly recommended them to us. We went to Bourn Hall’s Cambridge clinic where I had tests and was reassured at each stage that things seemed positive. The staff were really supportive and informative.

“I was worried how I would cope with IVF, having seen a few people go through the process,  so I wanted to try IUI first as I felt this would help to prepare me both mentally and physically.

Search for a donor

“We then started the search for a sperm donor which at first seemed quite simple but in fact we found this part quite tough. We decided after looking on various websites to go with a European company called Sellmer Diers.  This company creates a document which is pages long and outlines lots of important information including the donor’s medical history and their families as well. Also the donor writes some information about himself and why he is a donor.

“There was so much to consider and sometimes by the time we had thought everything through and returned to purchase the vials of sperm it had sold out! We would have to start our search all over again which was really tough as it always took a long time and then we were back to square one. We eventually decided on a donor and decided to move quickly and purchase 4 vials of sperm. The clinic had recommended three vials but Sammy didn’t want to order an odd number!

“Bourn Hall advised us throughout all of the process. The portal system was really helpful as you are alerted that you have a message or documents to complete and then everything can be completed online. The staff guided us through the process, arranged for the shipping and storage of the sperm and explained everything at each stage, answering our questions promptly whenever we needed support. We also completed the implication counselling and legal documentations so that Sammy would be the legal parent.

Timing treatment around work

“We decided that we would like to complete the first round of IUI treatment during the Summer holidays as we are both teachers and this would mean not having to take time off and being well rested. I took a short course of tablets at the start of my cycle and then went for 2 scans to measure the size of the egg follicles later on in that cycle.

Helen, Sammy and Jasper
Helen, Sammy and Jasper

“The clinic had said that we would probably complete the procedure on 15th August so we had organised a little trip to Norfolk in our campervan to try and keep our minds busy and relaxed, but when I went for the scan the nurse said that she thought that the 12th would be better and not to go away. She sent us away with a trigger injection and said the consultant would advise and then she would call back later. She called back and said they were going to do it the next day and to complete the trigger, I suddenly become very nervous and realised what we were about to do! I was so worried it wouldn’t work.

“The IUI procedure was so quick and the staff so kind, I asked “is that it?” and they all giggled!

The long wait

In the days that followed we couldn’t think of anything else and just tried to keep our minds occupied. The night before our first test I couldn’t sleep at all, I was so nervous about the result, so we took a test at about 6am and sat together on the bed watching the timer. We couldn’t believe it, I was pregnant. We were really happy but knew this was just the very first step so didn’t take anything for granted. As each test was completed we couldn’t believe our luck. We told our families at 12 weeks and they were so happy for us but in shock as we hadn’t told anyone that we were going through the process in case it took a while.

“At each step we felt so lucky that things were positive and it started to slowly sink in that we were actually going to have a baby! I was still so worried and found it hard to enjoy the pregnancy until the third trimester. On the 19th April, when I was still at work, I had a show and then later on my waters broke. By 11.30am the next day Jasper was born, nine days early!

“As soon as I held him in my arms I cried with happiness that our baby had arrived safely and we could start our biggest adventure as a family. I still can’t believe it worked first time, he is our little miracle. Our families are besotted with him and he is our little ray of sunshine.

“Hopefully Sammy will carry next time and will use the remaining vials so that they can be biologically related. We can’t thank Bourn Hall enough for all their support at every stage and for making our dream come true.”


Choosing a sperm donor – Bourn Hall’s options explained

Bourn Hall’s sperm bank

As a patient at Bourn Hall you have the option to use our sperm bank, which is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, or to use a known donor and we can perform all the necessary checks. This will ensure that you are protected from health issues and are the legal parent(s) of the baby.

Screening is really important. All donors are asked about their medical and family history and we perform a medical examination and blood tests. All sperm samples are rigorously screened and then frozen and quarantined for up to six months, after which the donor is invited back to repeat the tests.

Help is given for matching the donor with you. Non-identifying information about the donors is provided to enable a selection and the sperm donor writes a short goodwill message to share with the child, who is able to request identifying information once they are 18 years old.

Sourcing sperm from another sperm bank

We also collaborate with a network of high-quality sperm banks around the world, which can give access to a greater diversity of donors and we will again help to choose a sperm donor.

Moving sperm from another clinic

If a couple has had treatment at another fertility clinic and wishes to move their treatment to us, we can treat them using frozen sperm they have stored with their previous clinic if they choose to.

Using a known donor

As well as receiving sperm from an unknown donor there is also the option of using sperm from a known donor for treatment – we can provide advice on this.

The potential donor is assessed using the same criteria applied to all donors. If they pass the necessary checks, they will be able to proceed with sperm storage. The sperm can be released for use after a quarantine period and passing the health checks.

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