A regulated clinic means our children can ‘own’ their IVF story 

“We found and chose Bourn Hall in pretty much the same way that we chose our wedding venue…we searched online! Several same-sex couples had their IVF story on the website and it felt ‘comfortable’.  Also, as we live in Northamptonshire, it’s only a 40-minute drive from our home to the Cambridge clinic.”

Shelley, 33, and her wife Lucy, 38, had always wanted children

“The subject of children came up on our first date,” says Shelley. “Probably because we were both a bit older when we met.”  

“When we began our IVF journey we considered going abroad, financially it could be cheaper, but for us we liked that by using a registered clinic in the UK, we as parents had equality. And our future children could choose to find out some basic information about the unknown donor we used. That way if they choose, they can learn more about where part of their DNA comes from.

Wanted them to own their IVF story

“We wanted our child/children to be able to say ‘this was my parents’ journey to having me and this is my story’. It was important that we were both equal in our roles as parents.  Legally, emotionally and practically.

“Before our treatment we also had the counselling offered by Bourn Hall. This was helpful as the counsellor raised a question that we hadn’t thought of. She said ‘have you thought about how you will explain your journey to a little one?’

“She suggested we buy all family members the same reading book so that we would all use the same terminology.

“Lucy went online and found a wonderful book called ‘Zak’s Safari’ written by Christy Tyner. It’s a story about donor conceived children in a two mum family. Now anyone who may have involvement in our child/children’s upbringing can provide a consistent story for them and it provides a child friendly way of explaining the family.”

Going to a regulated clinic offers security

“At the time Bourn Hall were also offering a 30-minute face-to-face chat with a nurse; it was nice as we were able to ask her what our options were and visit the clinic.

“This was six months before we got married and we were conscious that time wasn’t on our side. So when the nurse told us we would need to wait six months before treatment if we went to Antigua for a honeymoon (it was at the height of the Zika virus) – we went to Florida instead!  

“At this point we hadn’t decided who was going to carry any baby. Bourn Hall did AMH testing on both of us and they said ‘we will see what the tests come back with’ and we agreed ‘we will go with the better odds’. 

“The results came back and my fertility was higher. As neither of us had a preference on carrying a baby, we decided to use my eggs and I would carry. 

Lucy and Shelley with Evie important to own her IVF story

If you are considering starting a family with your partner of the same-sex then you may like to take a look at previous on-demand webinars about same-sex families.

Choosing a sperm donor

“One of the first things we needed to do was choose a sperm donor. As we were using my eggs we wanted the sperm donor’s characteristics to match Lucy’s as best as possible. Bourn Hall gave us a shortlist of six potential donors from their sperm bank; each had a goodwill message.

“The one we chose said that he and his partner had a family through IVF after years of infertility and they wanted to give something back – we were quite touched by that.”

“We opted to have IVF treatment rather than IUI because we thought our chances would be higher. 

“I don’t think that people who haven’t been through an IVF journey understand how much it takes over your whole life. My work was good – they allowed me to work from home during treatment. 

“At our egg collection, we got three eggs. All three fertilised but by day two we had lost one and by day three Bourn Hall recommended we transfer the embryos. 

Lucy and Shelley with Evie

Evie arrives

“We transferred two embryos and then came the hardest two weeks of our lives.

“We took the pregnancy test early because I was feeling sick and vomiting from two days after embryo transfer, and it was positive. I ended up having morning sickness for 12 weeks!

“Our daughter Evie was born on 19th December 2019 and we went home on Christmas Eve. She was a wonderful Christmas present for our extended family who were so pleased to meet her.”

Baby number two

“I was tired after Evie and thought it was because I was a new mum, but the GP said I should have recovered by now and after some tests I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which is an underactive thyroid. We wanted a second child, but I was prescribed thyroxine and told to wait for a year. 

“Our second treatment at Bourn Hall also worked first time and we are pregnant again. As before two embryos were put back and one has taken and we are due in November. 

“It is absolutely crazy that our IVF worked first time both times. It was only afterwards that we realised how lucky we were. 

Honest with us at every stage

“Our experience at Bourn Hall has been amazing. From the beginning we said to them ‘can you just be honest with us because that is how we work.’ We are not very good at sugar-coating things. Bourn Hall have been honest and realistic but kind and caring at the same time.  

“As a same sex couple people have asked us lots of questions about our journey to parenthood. We chose to share our story with whomever asked. That way we share knowledge on the process that we have to go through. Whilst hopefully providing hope to other parents who may be starting their own IVF journey.

“We have recommended Bourn Hall not only for their excellent customer service but their kindness and how each member of staff has always been caring and attentive. We couldn’t have found a better fertility clinic.” 

Lucy and Shelley with Evie

More information

For more advice and patient journeys please have a look at our supporting patient choice section.

Read more about Bourn Hall’s treatments for female same-sex couples.

Couples who are married or in a civil partnership and have fertility treatment at a licensed UK clinic are the legal parents and will be named on the birth certificate. The donor has no legal status. More about Legal Parenthood.

When donor sperm is used, a choice of anonymous donors is provided, with a brief description about hair and eye colour, build and interests. Donors are also invited to write a goodwill message for any resulting children to read. Offspring can request more information when they reach the age of 18. More about choosing a sperm donor.

IUI or IVF? – the benefits of using a regulated sperm bank.

A consultation with a doctor at Bourn Hall is a good first step for same-sex female couples who want to know what options are available – get in touch to book an appointment.

The Northampton  Pride is on Sunday 26 June 2022 -see more information at westnorthants.gov.uk/events/northampton-pride.

Find out about Bourn Hall’s fees and funding 

To discuss any of the above please get in contact.

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