Just One Thing - Preparing to become two mums
My last contributor, Sunita Harley, spoke about her IVF journey and infertility anxiety. Today's contributors are a couple who have also been through an IVF journey due to their, as Sam so perfectly put it 'lack of a penis'.
Deciding to become parents as a single-sex couple opens up a new world of information to navigate and decisions to make - personal, emotional, legal. And a process which isn't discussed very much in the wider world and rarely represented in the media. Sam and Keren Warren-Close, eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first little Eggo in about four months, described their IVF journey to me. The Just One Thing they would say to parents-to-be who might be navigating their own journeys? "Just be open, honest and proud - parenting is more than just blood".
"We found that as a same sex couple going through IVF, people will either ask you overly personal questions, or be super awkward about one of you not being the 'biological' parent. Be honest and proud - parenting is more than just blood.
One of the first things we had to undergo during the run up to IVF was counselling sessions. This was to help deal with the overwhelming legal paperwork that has given me (Sam), as a non-tummy mummy, complete parental rights from the point of conception. I'm not adopting our child, I am and always will be the legal birth parent, but this is a really difficult thing to explain to someone during a casual conversation.
Many people can't seem to get their heads around the donor, and how he has no legal parental rights. There have even been occasions where Keren has been congratulated, almost as if doing it alone, which can be hurtful.
We made the choice to be open from the start and educate people on same sex IVF, warts and all. This includes our hormone injections, overstimulated ovaries (ouch!) and the tremendous amount of money we had to spend. The NHS would not refer us for treatment, as lesbians are not technically classed as infertile.
We are now 20 weeks pregnant after being successful on our first round of IVF, and feel blessed for every second of it. It's tough, but we are tougher"