Harley is a Pride baby! As the events that Bourn Hall was to support this year have been postponed we are sharing some of our LGBT+ fertility treatment stories with you online
It was after London Pride a few years ago that Melissa and Zoe decided that they didn’t want to delay any longer and would go ahead with assisted conception. Their daughter Harley celebrates her first birthday this June just in time for Pride month 2020.
Melissa says she has always wanted to be a mum and when she hit 30 “I suddenly felt as though I didn’t want to leave it too late.”
“At London Pride there were all sorts of stalls at the event about parenting, including adoption, and we started to think about how we were going to go about starting a family,” she continues.
Friends had recommended Bourn Hall in Colchester for fertility treatment with donated sperm and using a regulated clinic provides assurances for the health of mother and resulting child; it also confirms the legal status for both the parents.
IUI for lesbian couples
The couple opted for IUI – Intrauterine Insemination – a type of fertility treatment where prepared sperm is introduced at the time of ovulation (when an egg is released). It requires less medication than IVF treatment, is less invasive and less expensive, so a good option for healthy women with regular periods.
Dr Arpita Ray, Lead Clinician for Bourn Hall Clinics in Essex explains that the ovaries are stimulated with medication and then monitored carefully to see when an egg is released. The donated sperm is introduced high in the uterus to maximise the chances of fertilisation.
“The sperm donors are carefully screened and the sperm quality assessed to ensure it is healthy and provides the highest chance of success. Patients can also use known donors subject to the same screening tests and assessments. Same-sex couples and single women often say that treatment is more affordable than they thought.”
After a consultation at Bourn Hall the couple decided Melissa would have the treatment and carry the baby. She had fertility tests and together they selected a donor.
Bourn Hall has its own sperm bank and also offers patients the option to source the sperm themselves from sperm banks which have been approved by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which can offer a greater choice, particularly of ethnicity, if required.
The couple chose a donor through an approved sperm bank in the United States.
IUI worked first time and nine months later in April 2015 they welcomed their first child, a son Logan into the world and he is now four and a half years old.
The couple returned to Bourn Hall for further treatment in 2018 and Melissa admits that she was more apprehensive because she was older. “I was 35 when I had my second treatment and didn’t take anything for granted when I underwent fertility tests again,” she says. “I knew that things change as you get older but thankfully my tests all came back fine.”
A baby born in Pride Month
Melissa had IUI second time around using the same sperm donor and once again she got pregnant at the first attempt. Daughter Harley was born in June 2019.
So what does it mean to Melissa to finally have the family she dreamed of?
“When I see the two of them together it is just an amazing feeling. Logan is besotted with Harley, he just loves her so much. Our family is complete.”
“Due to the pandemic I haven’t returned to work yet so have had another amazing three months with Harley. She is a very determined little girl who knows what she wants (generally always food!). The love her and her brother share is amazing and she just wants to be near him doing whatever he is doing all the time.
“Everyone at Bourn Hall Colchester was just fantastic. Everyone knew who we were, it was lovely to have that familiarity and they made us feel so comfortable. It was really good doing everything through a regulated fertility clinic, we felt more protected.”