Who’s The Daddy?

When I first tell people my wife and I are going through IVF, they always ask the same three questions.

Who is carrying?

Are you using your eggs?

Do you know the sperm donor?

People often don’t know how to react when I tell them I’m not biologically involved – like I will be some sort of pseudo-parent. Let’s get one thing straight (ha) – DNA has very little to do with parenting!

At 18 years of age, any child conceived by IVF/IUI/ICSI will have the ability to trace the donor which made their very existence possible. When you donate, your details are put on a database with a unique ID – a system we can also use to trace the success of eggs we donate, and discover potential half-siblings. Should the need to use this database ever arise, I will fully support it, and it would never make me less of a Mother. After all, wouldn’t you be curious? I sure as hell would be!!

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The truth is, it scares me a little but it’s not something I will ever regret doing. I will be that child’s parent from the moment Keren’s egg is fertilized, and I am lucky that now I also have the law on my side to legalize that fact. I have signed documents to secure in the event of my death post insemination but pre-birth, I will still be the legally named parent.
Both Keren and I will get to sign the birth certificate.
I don’t have to adopt or fight for my right to call myself my own child’s mother, and that is a real 2017 win.

After all, I will be there at their birth (potentially passed out – big wimp here), their first day of school, and their graduation… how could I not qualify for that title!? Parenting is in the relationship and upbringing, not just genetics.

Sam Warren-Close

Progress report so far

I know that I haven’t written anything for a while, but I have been pretty damn busy with life. Sam and I are getting married in 45 days (not that we’re counting or anything) and i’m working on not morphing into a bridezilla! Alongside all of this we have been slowly chipping away at the IVF process and are finally in a place where things are starting to happen. I say finally like this has been going on a while – it’s only been a few months, but we are both very eager to get started…and very anxious.

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My head seems to be all over the place right now, I cannot wait to get married and start IVF, but planning it all simultaneously is a tad overwhelming. I wouldn’t change anything for the world though. Let me fill you in on all of the happenings since our appointment at Care.

After our information session, we were sent out all the information about me becoming an egg donor – a process that not only helps infertile couples, but also reduces the cost of our IVF treatment. We both are so grateful that we have the opportunity to use donated sperm to try and conceive a child, so it seems only right that we return the favour.

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It’s also been fascinating learning all about how egg and sperm donation is no longer anonymous. And any child that is brought into the world using my eggs will be able to contact me once they are 18. When we fill in all the forms we will be given the option to know whether any children have been conceived using my eggs, and i’m currently torn about whether I would want to know – but I guess there’s still time to think it over. I also love the idea that you can leave a letter or note of some sort, should my eggs create a child, which they can read at 16 and it’s nice to know that if we do have a child, they will have the option to learn a little about their father too.

The donation forms included paperwork to fill in all about my health and fitness, as well as an investigation into my family’s health. To complete this I had to find out the medical history of my dad and my mum and then both of their parents – including their age, any medical issues they had and if they had passed away, their age and cause of death. All rather morbid stuff, but that’s all filled in and fingers crossed everything is going well so far.

A week or so after I received a phone-call inviting Sam and I to an appointment with the donation team. During this appointment I will meeting the donation nurse to fill in legal parenthood consent forms, discuss donor sperm and egg donor protocol and fill in welfare of the child forms.

followed by a trans-vaginal ultrasound (daunting) to assess my pelvic anatomy, this will also include an antral follicle count of my ovaries – it’s all technical stuff! After this I will have blood tests and I guess, await the results.unnamed

All of the information we have received has been incredibly useful – and we both feel a lot more in the know about IVF, sperm and follicles. I know that Sam was feeling particularly anxious about her relationship to our (potential) baby. And it’s been relieving to know that, as we will be married when we begin the whole process, Sam will legally be the child’s parent and her name can go on the birth certificate. It’s so amazing that non-conventional families can now be accepted to a degree, as we both have so much love to give.

My appointment is in about three weeks. So i’ll keep you posted!

First experience of a fertility clinic

On Saturday, Sam and I had our first experience of a fertility clinic. Waking up filled with a mixture of excitement and anxiety, we made our way to Manchester. I downloaded a Disney soundtrack album to try and disperse our nervousness…apparently singing along to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Beyonce’s Diva whilst simultaneously eating Twiglets is the way to combat trepidation! During this road trip I foolishly decided to research a little more into how to qualify for IVF on the NHS and was really saddened to find out that we would have to self fund at least 6 sessions of IUI to be entitled to 1 attempt on the NHS. SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!!!

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Once we arrived at Care Fertility in Manchester we were greeted by a nurse and told to have a seat in the contemporary waiting room. Filled with magazines all about fertility, invitations to ‘The Fertility Show’ and anxious looking patients, I was instantly nervous again…Sam on the other hand was trying to figure out how to work the free coffee machine – nothing can keep her away from caffeine.

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After waiting for what seemed like an eternity we were met by Lauren, a welcoming patient Liaison member of the team who would be talking us through our one-to-one. Lauren instantly put us both at ease, discussing the refurbishment that the building was undergoing and ensuring us that it was almost complete. She then led us into a private room and we all had a seat around a table. This I really liked! It wasn’t the formal affair that I was anticipating and I immediately felt relaxed.

For the next hour or so we all sat and talked through our possible options, with Lauren asking us what our expectations were and ensuring us that we were going the right way about things. Basically I am the one who’s planning on having the baby (Sam’s far too much of a wimp) and we agreed that the most viable option for us would be to try IVF. I’ve wanted to donate my eggs for a while now, to help out people who are having fertility issues. After all, who am I to expect to use someone else’s sperm and not return the favour? We spoke in length with Lauren about this, and after she told us that there was a huge waiting list for women needing eggs to start a family – due to lack of donations, Sam has also decided she would like to try and donate her eggs too.

Lauren talked us through the entire procedure! How my eggs would be collected, fertilized, monitored and hopefully inseminated. We learned about how the sperm donation works – the selection process and legalities, how I would be heavily sedated, side effects of each treatment, where the best place to buy medication is and then through the different add on treatments, their benefits and whether their was scientific evidence to back this up the benefits. My primary fear about this whole process was that we would be sat apposite a consultant who would try and up-sell treatments through exploiting our lack of knowledge. This wasn’t the case at all. Sam and I were given fabulously honest advice and then given the literature to back this up – just in case it was all too much to take in. It really was a valuable experience and we both left feeling confident in taking the next step together!

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So what next? We are now waiting for forms from the donation teams for my egg sharing and Sam’s egg donation. From there we will then have a consultation and go onto the next stages! It’s all getting very real, scary and exciting now.

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My next post will hopefully be all about the forms we receive from the donation team and what happens next!

For more information on the amazing Care Fertility click here

 

 

 

 

And so it begins…

I have wanted a family ever since I can remember and i’m lucky enough to have found a beautiful girl who wants the same thing. After discussing, researching, crying and thinking…A LOT, we finally have a meeting with a fertility clinic tomorrow that we are both excited and terrified about. But let’s start from the beginning.

Sam and I met around two and a half years ago, we live in a cute cottage together with our two cats: Tallulah and Pete and we are getting married in June!!! But what we both want more than anything right now is a family – the cats just ain’t enough.

When we first started looking into how this was possible our minds were pretty much blown! So much terminology, so many options – it was overwhelming to say the least. The first point of call was the NHS. Which after a A LOT of reading made me feel sad, frustrated and helpless. The thing with the NHS is that for lesbian couples to qualify for IVF treatment they need to prove that they have been trying to start and family. While this is all well and good for heterosexual couples with infertility problems, for a homosexual couple the only way to prove this is by first paying for private treatment. The inequality here makes me feel vile. I’m frustrated at myself that I was born gay and i’m frustrated at society for not seeing this as a major flaw in the NHS.

So…what next? After this initial setback I trawled the trusty internet. This again was horribly confusing, with so many different options to consider: IVF, IUI, egg donation, sperm selection…and don’t even get me started on the prices! So, tomorrow we are embarking on our first journey to talk to professionals at a fertility clinic, where hopefully we will leave with a little more understanding and a plan of action.

We will keep you posted!