IUI with donor sperm worked first time for midwife Miranda

Miranda had always known she wanted to be a mum. After reaching her thirties without having met the ‘right man’ she felt that time was ‘ticking’ and lost six stone before opting to have unmedicated IUI fertility treatment using donor sperm.

“I’d always known that I wanted to be a mum,” says Miranda, aged 36. “It was my main goal in life, and I have felt ready to have a baby since I was in my twenties. I just hoped that I would meet the right man, settle down and have children but it just never happened….

“My friends started to have children and I was happy for them, but it was a bit heartbreaking for me. I wondered when it would be my turn. I got really sad and down about it. In the end I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer. I felt that time was ticking fertility-wise and so I decided to grab the bull by the horns and go it alone.

“I work as a midwife and many of the women I look after have had fertility treatment and I spoke to them about their experiences.

“First, I needed to lose some weight. I was about 17 stone and although I’d always had regular periods, they were very painful and debilitating and sometimes I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed for three days. When I saw a specialist, they said it could be due to my weight. So, in 2018 I had gastric sleeve surgery and I lost six stone; the extra bonus was not having painful periods anymore.

“In 2021 I started seriously looking in to how I would go about having a baby, researching everything, looking at clinics, different sperm banks, how it all works, how much it costs, all that kind of thing, just gathering as much information as possible.

“I knew that I had to try to be a mum, it might not happen for me but I had to try…”

“Luckily, I still live with my parents and we are a close family. I have got two brothers, and we discussed me having donor treatment as a family because at first, they were all a bit apprehensive for me.  It is quite a ‘new thing’ and both my brothers have long term partners so they didn’t really understand my desperation at knowing my fertility might end before I found a partner.

“However, they knew being a mum is all I have ever really wanted to do, and they were supportive of my decision. And my parents kindly gifted the treatment to me, I couldn’t have done it without them really.

“I approached Bourn Hall Norwich in May 2022. I had an informal telephone consultation to start with and I went in to have initial scans and blood tests – hormone levels, progesterone, egg store and infectious disease.  My egg store was adequate, and all my other tests came back as normal.

“I then had to choose the sperm donor. I needed a CMB negative sperm donor which limits the options and Bourn Hall didn’t have anyone suiting my criteria. So, Bourn Hall sent me a list of external sperm banks that they would accept sperm from. We looked for about two months and I found a nice donor through a US sperm bank.


“With the US sperm banks you get more information with each profile, they are tested for genetic conditions, there is a recording of their voice, a sample of their handwriting and reasons why they choose to donate. There is also a baby photo and the option to purchase more. That was all quite important to me, I just needed to know what the donor looked like, so I got one of him as young child, a teenager and an adult.

“After it was ordered, the sperm had to be shipped across the Atlantic for storage at Bourn Hall which was quite straightforward.

“After discussion with the consultant at Bourn Hall it was agreed that I would try an unmedicated IUI cycle. IUI is cheaper than IVF but IVF has better success rates so it was a risk. But I thought well my periods have always been regular so let’s give it a go this time around and see what happens!

“It was done on my natural ovulation, so I was testing and then I went in for two scans for them to track my follicle cycle so they could tell when I was going to ovulate and then when they measured my follicles and they were a certain size they gave me a trigger shot of hCG which I took as an injection in the middle of the night. Then two days later they popped in the sperm.

“hCG is the same hormone you make naturally when you release an egg, so it was just to give more control over the timing of ovulation, so you don’t miss the egg.

“I had to wait 15 days before doing a pregnancy test, but because I am impatient, I tested on day 8 and got a positive, a faint positive and then it got stronger and stronger….

“It was a bit of a shock really, I couldn’t really believe it, I didn’t trust the pregnancy test, because the trigger shot is a pregnancy hormone so it might not be real…but then it just got stronger and stronger and then I got really bad sickness and then I thought maybe this is real and it is happening for me!

“Clemmie was born on the 10 July 2023, at the hospital I work at. Clemmie surprised us two days after my baby shower, by arriving 4 weeks early and in a hurry. I was surrounded by my mum, some incredible midwife friends and an amazing doctor and after just 4 hours of very intense labour, with just a TENS machine for pain relief and a few minutes of pushing a very tiny 5lb 1oz Clemmie came into the world. After a few days in hospital, as Clemmie needed some support from NICU, I was able to bring her home.

“When Clemmie was put on my chest, it just felt a bit surreal and I thought ‘has this actually happened?’ I was so relieved that I had done it and that she was here. I fed her and she looked really well and it was like ‘wow this has happened, it just feels like yesterday that I was in Bourn Hall having the IUI.

“I am incredibly grateful it worked first time and having Clemmie has changed my life. When I held her for the first time it was all completely worth it. She is the best and bravest thing I have ever done and I wouldn’t be without her. I am looking forward to our future together.

“I am really, really happy that I did it.”

Miranda and Clemmie
Miranda and Clemmie

Are you considering solo fertility treatment?

“My advice to other women thinking of going it alone is research everything, really look at your life, are you in a position to have a baby?” says Miranda.

“Do you have good support in place because it is really hard to do it on your own, and even though I have support and live with my parents I am technically on my own so at night-times I am on my own pretty much and you really need to be ready for that because it is exhausting.

“Have you got good male role models, I have got my brothers, because obviously the sperm donor is not a dad in the picture. And just make sure you can do it financially.

“I was really worried about people judging me and thinking ‘oh she can’t get a partner, she can’t get a husband that sort of thing’ but I have received nothing but love and encouragement and excitement from everybody, I have not received any negatives whatsoever.

“So, think about it long and hard, make sure you are ready for it financially, emotionally, and that you have got your support in place, and make sure you have someone to go with you if you can to all your appointments, someone you really trust, and just be proud of it.”

Clemmie with her grandparents
Clemmie with her grandparents

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