Two mums both had IVF – twins now and embryos in the freezer!

Both Amelia and her partner Helen wanted to carry a pregnancy so, after a few failed attempts at IUI, they have both had IVF treatment at Bourn Hall – resulting in twins and embryos in the freezer. Amelia describes their fertility journey. 

“For us, as a same-sex couple, if we wanted to have a baby it was a serious decision and it made sense for us to do it properly, through a clinic,” says Amelia from Essex.

“I was 30 when I met Helen and we had the conversation about having children very quickly. Within a month or two we had decided that was what we wanted to do.

“We didn’t immediately seek treatment, but when Helen’s dad died unexpectedly it made us reassess what was important and we decided to get the ball rolling.

“We knew we wanted to do it ‘properly’ and we wanted any future children to know that we had invested time, thought, and planning into them coming into existence. It is a serious and important decision so we decided to take the official route and started talking to Bourn Hall.

Helen with Edith and Amelia with Douglas
Helen with Edith and Amelia with Douglas

“We have got friends who had successful IUI at Bourn Hall, and they have got a seven-year-old daughter. We had spoken to them about their experiences and geographically the Wickford clinic was closest to us, so we didn’t even look at any other clinics.

“At that time Helen was 35 and I was 31. We both wanted to carry a pregnancy, but as she was older I said, ‘Well, you go first!’ We went through the first few stages, chose the donor, and had some tests done but then the clinics shut down due to COVID!

“We chose donors from the Bourn Hall sperm bank and were given five different profiles to choose from. We had explored the option of using a sperm bank in Denmark, but in the end, we quite liked having the smaller amount of information, just the crucial bits.

Bourn Hall has frequent webinars about treatment options for same-sex couples and you are always welcome to give us a call to discuss your own circumstances and options.

IUI to start 

“When the clinics reopened we decided to start with IUI because Helen was healthy and didn’t have any issues or anything.

“We were both quite naïve and were convinced it would be successful immediately. Helen had the first IUI in November 2020, but this didn’t work. We then had another two attempts – one in January and one in February. When the IUI wasn’t successful we reassessed and decided to try IVF, using an Access Fertility package.

“We are both teachers and, as IVF is a bit more invasive, we decided to wait until the summer holidays to begin treatment, and avoid needing to take too much time off work. Our first IVF round was also unsuccessful. We had another consultation and decided it was time to change donor, mainly because we had used so many vials and our plan was that I would have treatment with the same donor in the future. We did also wonder if changing to a donor with proven fertility would improve our chances.

“Our next IVF cycle was in January 2022. It was suggested we transfer two embryos, due to Helen’s age (37 at the time), and as we’d also had previous failed cycles. It didn’t take long at all – a few days later we found out she was pregnant and within a month or so it was confirmed it was twins!

Both had IVF treatment

“Not long after we found out Helen was pregnant, I started my own treatment as well. Even though we had twins on the way, I still had the desire to carry a pregnancy myself one day, or at least have the opportunity to try. We know it’s better to have treatment when you are younger and also thought that when the twins come we might not have the time or money to prioritise further treatment!

That Summer, while Helen was pregnant, I had a freeze-all cycle of IVF where any created embryos are frozen and stored for when we want to do an embryo transfer in the future.

“Everyone at Bourn Hall Wickford was really helpful and really did go above and beyond at times, which was lovely.”

Edith and Douglas
Edith and Douglas

Edith and Douglas were born in September 2022.

“We love being parents,” says Amelia. “When you have really hoped and wished for something for such a long time, you just love and appreciate every minute of it when it does finally happen. We are a good team, and we both know each other well enough to know when to step in and support the other, and we are lucky to have a good support system with family around us.”

Amelia has the following advice to other same-sex couples looking to have a baby:

“I would say have the consultation with the doctors at the clinic and discuss what your options are. Even if you don’t want to get started on treatment straight away, it would certainly be worth having initial tests done and finding out what your options are. Don’t hang around because it might take longer than you expect, but it is so worth it in the end.”


Women who choose to go to a regulated clinic rather than ‘do it themselves’ might assume they will automatically be treated using IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) – a form of assisted conception treatment where prepared sperm is injected high into the womb at the time of ovulation. It uses the body’s natural cycle, is less invasive than IVF and is less expensive.

Whilst many of Bourn Hall’s same-sex couples are treated using IUI, sometimes it is more appropriate for them to have IVF. This is where the ovaries are stimulated to produce more eggs at the same time; these are collected and mixed with the sperm in the laboratory. Although IVF requires more medication there are many benefits. The menstrual cycle is controlled so that the chances of success are increased and it overcomes fertility issues such as blocked fallopian tubes and reduced egg production. Additionally, the first cycle often produces embryos that are suitable for freezing for further attempts if the initial treatment is unsuccessful.

For some couples IVF also offers more options, for example if you want ‘shared motherhood’, where one partner produces the eggs and the other carries the pregnancy.

Patient choice is important to us, so do take the opportunity to talk through all the options before making a decision.

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