Having a baby: Julie and Camilla's fertility journey
Julie and Camilla never wanted children on their own – until they met each other. In this blog post, you can read about their journey towards parenthood, how they found the right fertility clinic, chose a sperm donor, and whether they plan to tell their child about being donor-conceived.
The blog post you are about to read is written by Julie and Camilla.
Starting the fertility journey
I have never wanted children. Do not get me wrong, I adore the little ones and love the scent of a baby more than I dare to admit – I have just never wanted one of my own. Not until I met Julie, that is and realised that true love had been the glaring omission from my life and that my desire for a family had been wilting in the dark like an undernourished seed awaiting the warming rays of the sun.
I mentioned this to her a few months into our relationship and discovered to my surprise and delight that she also wanted to have a child. That I was not alone in wanting to introduce a product of our love into the world. But the path to fulfilling our desire was hard to make out, because what’s the procedure when two women who love one another want to create life?
Having read absolutely everything we could find on Google, we decided to contact a fertility clinic, as we realised that there were many choices to make and that the process of getting pregnant could quickly become a long, drawn-out affair. We wanted to have a reliable partner with us every step of the way, so we chose a private, Norwegian clinic we had heard good things about, and arrived for our first consultation both excited and nervous. Blood samples were taken, ovaries and uterus examined, and we cleared the first hurdle: “It looks like everything is fine for you to get pregnant.” At the same time, we found out that a new method had recently been approved in Norway, namely “partner donation”. Briefly put, this allows lesbian couples to fertilise eggs from one partner and then implant the embryo in the uterus of the other.
Could we really make a baby together, like “properly”?
We were delighted, nervous and excited, and on the recommendation of the clinic, we quickly started to look for potential sperm donors at Cryos International. It was also around this time that we got married and headed off on our honeymoon.
The first thing we encountered when we logged onto the site was an extremely straightforward and easily accessible page presenting information about the different donors. We were also positively surprised when we discovered that via Cryos, we had the opportunity to access extended sperm donor profiles, and we instantly felt that the clinic we had chosen was the right one for us: they were linked to a sperm bank that took our safety, comfort, and security seriously, without leaving anything to chance. Because if there was one thing we wanted, it was to know everything.
The evenings of the following weeks were devoted pretty much exclusively to watching the sunsets on Bali and scrolling through the selection of sperm donor profiles available from Cryos. We read our way through family histories, health certificates, psychological profiles, and personal letters. We discussed eye colour, hair colour, height, and character, and finally whittled the list down to three donors who we felt ticked all our boxes:
- All three were a little like us in one way or another, or like someone in our immediate family.
- They came across as stable, ambitious, and emotionally accessible.
- And they were all over 180 cm tall.
Of course, height shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but with two mums who are both considered quite tall (170 and 176 cm), they seemed to suit us pretty well!
In Norway, the rule is that you must choose three donors you would like to use and send the list to the clinic because, at the end of the day, it is the clinic which decides who the donor will be. This information remains confidential until the child is entitled to ask for it when he/she turns 15. Nervous and excited, we filled in the form, sent it to the clinic and then waited.
Autumn has been taken up with hormone treatments, egg harvesting, and unsuccessful implantation, but we have no doubt that we will fall pregnant sooner rather than later. We simply need to dare to hope, dare to be excited, and remind ourselves that it is always worth working for something you truly desire.
Do you want to have more children? If so, how many?
We want to have two children if we are lucky enough for this to be possible. But we will take one at a time.
Are you planning to tell your child about the donor? And if so, when, and how?
Absolutely! We believe it is essential to be open and honest about how our child was created, and we will probably have the conversation as soon as he/she is old enough to understand – or straight away if they ask us. We believe it is incredibly important for our child to be confident in who he/she is and where they come from!
Do you have any advice for other couples in your situation, about to embark on the journey you are following?
Do not be too hard on yourselves and recognise that stress and nervousness are a natural part of the process. We cannot count how many pieces of “good advice” we have received from everyone and their dog that we should simply “relax and let it take care of itself”; but that is not how it works when you are going through an IVF treatment process. It is quite a load to carry, it is stressful – and that is ABSOLUTELY OK! Our fertility coach summed it up quite neatly, telling us: “If the thing that was keeping people from getting pregnant was stress, not a single IVF baby would ever have been born”; so we make sure to remind ourselves of this time and time again.