Life-changing decisions during lockdown
“We’d had a bit of a whirlwind in 2020,” says Amber. “We moved into our first house during the lockdown period in April, then we got a dog a month later and then we booked our wedding for the following year!
Amber, aged 27, and Tilly, aged 28, then approached Bourn Hall Norwich to discuss fertility treatment.
“We knew that fertility treatment is not necessarily that straightforward so we said we wanted to take the plunge and try as early as we could so we would give ourselves the best chance.
Amber and her wife Tilly have been together for over six years and coincidentally went to the same high school in Norfolk.
“We have always wanted a family and both knew that, ideally, we would each want to carry a baby if we could. We were also one hundred per cent sure that we wanted to go through a fertility clinic and do it all ‘properly’.”
Success and reputation
“We chose Bourn Hall because we had done a lot of research, looking at success rates and reputation, and we are so glad we did, because we found the staff amazing.”
The couple decided that Amber would have treatment first and they opted to have IUI.
“We knew that the success rates are higher with IVF but we decided to take our chances with IUI there was no reason why it shouldn’t work with me being healthy and still young,” says Amber.
Choosing a donor
“We used a donor from the Bourn Hall sperm bank. We wanted to keep it simple and wrote down the characteristics we wanted and waited for Bourn Hall to send us some matches. They came up with three potential donors and one of the main reasons we chose our donor, besides our preferred characteristics matching up, was because of the lovely goodwill message he had written.
“We had our first IUI in July 2021 which didn’t work and our second in November, just after our wedding, which was also unsuccessful.
“We both felt quite deflated and upset when the IUI didn’t work. I was questioning ‘why hasn’t it worked? Is it me?’. It knocked my confidence and that is why we came to the decision to go for it and have IVF with donor sperm and hope we had a better chance.”
Decision to go for IVF with donor sperm
Once the couple had decided to try IVF with donor sperm, things progressed quickly.
“I started my injections in the February and had my egg collection in the March, it all happened quite quickly,” says Amber. “I didn’t do any of the injections myself, Tilly did them for me.
“I felt really bloated which made sense as I ended up having 26 eggs collected. We had eight embryos by day 5 of blastocyst and it was decided that we would have all of them frozen as a ‘freeze-all’ to give my body time to recover.
“Our IVF worked first time. My symptoms were not massive, I had very sore boobs, that is about it, and then the morning we did the test and it was positive we just couldn’t believe that we were actually pregnant, we were over the moon!
“It was lovely going in to Bourn Hall for the seven-week scan, we got to see our nurse Gemma who we had generally seen most times and it was lovely to hear her say ‘here it is, you are pregnant!’, it was nice to go through it with the same person.”
Our lives are complete
“Bourn Hall were brilliant all the way through,” says Tilly. “The staff did everything they could for us and would always pick up the phone if we needed support.”
The couple’s son Flynn was born on March 3, 2023
“His birth was a bit dramatic,” laughs Tilly. “But, now he is here he has made our life complete. It is everything we have always wanted,” says Amber.
“It means the world to us to think how he was created, same-sex couples haven’t always had this opportunity, we feel so lucky and are besotted by him.”
Amber and Tilly have the following advice for other same-sex couples going through donor treatment:
“Trust the process and believe that it can work,” says Amber. “Have patience, it is not a quick process.”