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Want to have a baby with my partner - any advice/information gladly received!

(66 Posts)
bluepumpkin Sun 18-Oct-09 17:24:51

Hello, I'm new here and my partner and I have just agreed to start trying for a baby next year. (I'm on a course at the moment so don't want the stress of TTC at the same time.) Anyway, I think plan will be donor insemination at a clinic as we don't have any male friends who would be appropriate for donation. My question is, do I go to my GP now and get on a waiting list? How easy is it to get fertility treatment as a same-sex couple? Also, are we better off trying to self-fund to start with, as I thought I remembered reading that the NHS will only fund you if you have NOT had any self-funded treatment already. Sorry for all the questions, but I don't really know where to start! I'm 32 by the way.

LeninGhoul Mon 19-Oct-09 09:21:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HidingFromTheDM Mon 19-Oct-09 09:25:54

I don't have any advice bluepumpkin but just wanted to wish you both the best of luck. I hope you find the answers you need. Happy baby making!! grin

bluepumpkin Wed 21-Oct-09 09:56:29

LeninGhoul - Thanks for the advice, I'll try to get the Stonewall booklet, have had a look for gingerbeer but can only find a gingerbear, is that the same person?

HidingfromtheDM - Thanks for your message, am so excited, I've wanted to have a baby for ages now and I can't wait to finish this course so we can get started!

bluepumpkin Wed 21-Oct-09 10:34:14

LeninGhoul - I've just discovered the Gingerbeer forum, thanks for that, was on the wrong track entirely! Have emailed for the Stonewall booklet too. Much appreciated!

LeninGhoul Fri 23-Oct-09 20:59:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hester Fri 23-Oct-09 21:41:45

Hi bluepumpkin, just to say good luck. I didn't go the clinic route, but just to point out that if you go privately you won't need to go via your GP.

How exciting - I'd do it all again if I could!

bluepumpkin Sat 24-Oct-09 17:09:41

Thank you! Hester - did you AI at home then if you don't mind me asking? I'd much rather do that to be honest, but we'd need an appropriate donor which is not easy! It's a shame you can't buy sperm and just have it delivered to the house fresh! Would be so much nicer to do it at home.

LeninGhoul Sat 24-Oct-09 18:18:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bluepumpkin Sun 25-Oct-09 15:49:14

I wish we could do that too to be honest but my partner is a little freaked out by the idea of any male involvement, and if we know the donor that might always be an issue for her. If we don't know the donor, I have my own concerns about safety with self-insemination - how do you trust that they are disease-free etc? I've had a look on the websites and am surprised how many are offering 'natural insemination' - I just can't imagine that many women are looking for that from a donor.

ellabella2 Sun 25-Oct-09 16:17:27

Bluepumpkin, Me and my partner went through pretty much the same 'reasoning' process as you by the sounds of it. We did try using a donor through a web based company and it didn't work out and all got very stressful. We are now TTC doing IUI at a clinic and both feel much more comfortable with this set up (although like you, would much prefer the personal, non-medicalised home insemination route if the donor situation was different).

Good luck with it all smile

Goalie Sun 25-Oct-09 19:18:58

bluepumpkin
Just to follow up on your previous comment - you can get fresh sperm delivered directly to your door. One company that does this is called fertility first. It's all above board (although the HFEA doesn't like the fact it's fresh not frozen sperm) and you get to choose an anonymous donor who has been tested / screened for all the 'normal things'. Our DS is living proof that it works and works well ! There is a small admin charge to join - this allows you to view the donors database in your area. Not sure on the cost at the moment, but the middle of last year it was £600 per month which included the 'introduction fee' and 2 'deliveries' !. Complete anonymity is assured.
Goalie

Goalie Sun 25-Oct-09 19:20:28

Sorry, that last post should read fertility 1st, not fertility first ! Goalie

hester Sun 25-Oct-09 23:01:14

Hi bluepumpkin, yes we did it at home with a yogurt pot and syringe - easy! That really was the easy bit; the hard bit was finding the right man to be a donor and then an involved father. That took years. I'm really glad it turned out the way it did - our dd has a loving father who is very supportive to us - but tbh we paid a high price for it in all sorts of ways, including all those lost years which ultimately meant we couldn't have another birth child.

If I didn't want an involved father, I'd go to a clinic. I'm very interested to read of your good experience, Goalie, and many congratulations - but can I ask, what are the 'normal things' the sperm has been tested for? Isn't the usual concern that you can only properly test frozen sperm for HIV (because of the incubation period) ?

I'm not saying there's any right or wrong way - it seems to me that all the routes to alternative motherhood have risks, including the one we chose.

LeninGhoul Mon 26-Oct-09 08:03:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bluepumpkin Mon 26-Oct-09 15:49:25

Thanks everyone, this is really interesting and helpful. I wish we could do it as simply and as privately as possible tbh, and I'm intrigued by your response Goalie, I will certainly look into that although I see LeninGhoul's point about the HIV - I'll have a look at the website and see what they say.

I have to say that it would be easier in many ways if the donor could be a friend, but I think that my partner would just find it too difficult for the 'father' to be a presence in our lives, although I do wonder how it would be for the child for the donor to be someone we never even meet. I grew up with a lesbian mum and it didn't feel like a problem for me, I had a wonderful Mum and a stable family home, but I did know who my Dad was, not that he had anything to do with parenting us. Lots of issues to think about anyway!

Ellabella, are you doing IUI privately or on the NHS? Would be interested in your experiences if you're NHS as I imagine it's a bit different from the private experience - is the same-sex couple thing an issue at all?

Thanks for all your responses everyone! smile

Goalie Mon 26-Oct-09 18:41:36

Hester, you are right about the HIV testing on frozen sperm, but the donors on this scheme are tested 3 monthly. Obviously that is no guarantee that they are HIV free, but for us it was better odds than having a mate tested once or even not tested at all. The 'normal tests' I referred to are the blood and urine tests for chlamydia trachomatis, syphilis, treponemal pallidum, gonorrhoea, HIV1 & 2 Antibodies + P24, Hepatitis B and C. You can pay extra for sperm count, motility, viscosity and so on.
bluepumpkin - good luck on whatever route you choose. Having a baby was one of the best things that ever happened to us grin

hester Mon 26-Oct-09 20:55:02

bluepumpkin, I think that if your partner would find it too difficult to accommodate a known donor, you should take that really seriously. My dp firmly believed that we should have a known donor, because she thought our dc should know who her dad was, but as non-biological mother she has at times really struggled with his presence in our lives. It's not easy. I think that overall, it has been worth it, but it has caused great tensions at times.

Goalie, you're right that the risks of HIV transmission can be overstated - to my mind, anyway. It's up to everyone to make up their own mind what risks they're willing to take, I guess.

Really interesting to read of people's different experiences.

ellabella2 Tue 27-Oct-09 20:49:32

Just an update about Fertility 1st - we used them to start with too. Back in November 2008 HFEA made them change their service so they were no longer alowed to act as the 'middle men' and keep donors anonymous. Now you pay a smaller introduction fee and you get given the details of the donor and have to liaise directly with them to sort out all the tests and delivery of sperm. So it is no longer an anonymous donor.

I would agree that you really need to consider the non-bio Mum's feelings in regard to a known donor. It really changes their potential relationship dynamics as a parent.

Bluepumpkin, we are going through a private clinic (LWC Cardiff) as the NHS don't fund any fertiity treatment in our PCT area!

Goalie Tue 27-Oct-09 22:34:37

ellabella

I have to disagree with what you say about Fertility 1st no longer being anonymous. We are still in contact with them (as we are looking to use them again in a couple of months) and although they have changed their way of working, the donor / recipient still remains completely anonymous. All you know is a donor number - you arrange deliveries via fertility 1st and a courier company - at no point do you have any dealings with the donor. The HFEA are seeking legal action against fertility 1st as they see them working 'outside of the law', but it has not changed yet - the guys running the company are fighting this and have stated they will go to the European courts to get a ruling if need be. I hope I don't sound too much like I'm selling the company, but I think it important that people realise there are still ways of getting anonymous fresh sperm - if that's the route they wish to take.

ellabella2 Wed 28-Oct-09 18:45:43

Goalie, It sounds like things have changed again then since we were last in contact with Fertility 1st at the beginning of this year.

They gave us the donor's contact details and then we had to contact them to arrange for them to get tests done. We could still use the same courier service. Essentially though for us it meant that the donor was no longer anonymous as we were given their name, tel. no and email address and advised to make contact with them arrange everything.

If things have changed again then that is good for those that want fresh sperm for home inseminations from an unknown donor.

Dorchies Wed 28-Oct-09 21:31:21

Hi Bluepumpkin - we've got two gorgeous children concieved through DIUI at a clinic. My partner has adopted one and is in the process of adopting the other - through a clinic you wouldn't need to go through adoption anymore as you could both go on the birth certificate. We opted for this route as we didn't want any third party involved and to protect my partner's rights as a parent.

It was still a long hard road and we changed clinics once as we didn't have a good time. You can keep costs down by having natural cycles (if you don't have fertiltiy problems there should be no reason to use drugs) the drugs tend to double the price and play havoc with your body. Where are you based? You need to find out the local clinic's philosophy on same sex couples, and whilst they can't refuse to treat you, if they don't really want to treat you they can make the whole process horrid.

We ended up travelling quite a way for treatment, but it was worth it.

bluepumpkin Thu 29-Oct-09 09:09:10

Ellabella and Goalie - I had a look at Fertlity 1st and whilst they don't mention much about STD testing on the website, they do seem to say that the donor remains anonymous. It's certainly worth a thought although I think my partner would rather just go for the clinic IUI in view of the debatable risk.

Hester - I think you're right about paying attention to her feelings on this. She's only really just come round to the idea of having a baby, as she has such issues with the idea of a man being involved. She loves kids, but hates the idea of me having a baby 'with' a man. So I think that if the donor was somebody we knew then it would feel awkward for both of us - she might well struggle if she sees him as 'the father' even if it's just genetics.

Dorchies - Thanks for your response. As far as I know I have no fertlity problems, I'm 32 so hopefully have a good few eggs left, but you never know. I live in Norfolk, which has a great policy for fertility treatment for infertile couples (3 free cycles I believe) but I've no idea if this includes same-sex couples. I'm kind of dreading approaching my GP as I've never even met him before, having moved fairly recently from the city. I'd be happy to travel if necessary rather than feel judged by clinic staff. It's surprsing how difficult it seems to be to find info on fertility provision for same-sex couples, it doesn't seem to be on the same pages as all the other info re local treatment for infertile couples.

ellabella2 Fri 30-Oct-09 09:25:34

Apologies, Goalie, it appears Fertility 1st have changed their services AGAIN since we used them earlier this year. They seem to have gone back to offering anonymous donors like you said! We were just really unlucky to hit the few months where they changed everything angryOh well it was obviously not meant to be for us to use them.

Hope others have a better experience than we did with them smile

Goalie Fri 30-Oct-09 11:07:52

ellabella2

No apology needed, companies change their working practices all the time.
It sounds like a real shame that the timing wasn't right for you - but best of luck with with the clinic (and what a load of pants that your PCT doesn't fund treatment angry)

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