*This is a post by CoParents.co.uk
Starting a family when you are in a same-sex relationship can be a path full of obstacles. Depending on the road you take, finding a sperm donor can take months or even years, before finally undergoing fertility treatments, crossing your fingers and hoping you’ll quickly become pregnant.
At least, the silver lining is that in the UK, donor insemination and IVF are available to lesbian couples who wish to have a baby (which isn’t the case in many other European countries). And finally, all the joy that your child will bring you is worth all the obstacles in the world.
Where to find a sperm donor…
Basically, you have three options.
Perhaps you prefer to choose a known donor because you like the idea of involving someone you know personally and want to give your child the chance to discover their genetic origins? If you’re confident, you can ask around to see if anyone would be willing to donate their sperm to you, or if they know someone who would be.
Those who don’t feel comfortable with this option or who don’t know somebody ready to donate can go, instead, to a fertility clinic. They have their own stock of donated sperm and all their donors have been thoroughly screened. In a nutshell, you’re guaranteed excellent quality sperm which is free of genetic disorders and sexually transmitted diseases.
Another alternative that is growing in popularity is to look for a sperm donor online, on a dedicated website. These work like dating sites, where sperm donors and people looking to start a family can contact each other and meet. It’s a great solution for couples who want to be able to select the person who is going to be their donor, based on their own criteria. This can also interest people seeking fresh semen as opposed to frozen, as well as those who prefer an at-home insemination.
How to become pregnant using donated sperm
There are two options available to those who wish to have a baby via sperm donation. You can either go with artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination or IUI), regardless of whether you are looking to use sperm from a known or an anonymous donor. This essentially involves injecting sperm into the uterus via a catheter.
The advantage of this option is that you can perform the injection yourself at home with an insemination kit, if you prefer. Women more comfortable with the idea of being surrounded by trained medical staff can opt, instead, to go to a licensed fertility clinic.
The other solution is IVF (in vitro fertilisation). This assisted reproduction technique involves retrieving the eggs of the aspiring mother, to fertilise them in a lab with the donated sperm. The resultant embryo is then transferred into the woman’s uterus.
In most cases, IVF is the second choice for those who have experienced several failed artificial insemination cycles. It’s recommended to women who have fertility troubles and, therefore, have less of a chance of becoming pregnant via insemination.
Can both mothers be biologically related to their baby?
Well, the short answer is no (not at the moment, anyway). However, there is a way for you to both participate actively in this experience. The idea is to extract and fertilise the egg of one partner with donor sperm and then to transfer it into the other partner’s womb. Only the partner providing the egg will be genetically related, though. However, the second partner will be the one “blessed” with the opportunity to carry the baby for 9 months.
Deciding who is going to play which role is another story!
Whatever choice you make and whichever fertility treatments you undergo, having a baby via sperm donation requires patience and courage, and it is always recommended to carry out your own health checks and seek legal advice. Waiting for months or years before finally giving birth to your little one can be hard to handle. That’s why being surrounded and finding support, whether from a partner, family or friends, is vital to help you traverse this complicated period.
*This is a post by Noémi from CoParents.co.uk