Myself, and my partner have been struggling with fertility issues for over 7 years now. We are a same sex couple and have been together nearly 9 yrs. Unfortunately, I went through menopause very young so can’t have biological children of my own, so it’s been my partner who’s eggs we have used, to try to give us the baby we have always wanted so much.
Our journey is very long and complicated and hard to put into a short version without sounding clinical but that’s kind of how it goes. We started with AI (artificial insemination) with a male couple for a year which was an important part of our journey as they became very close friends. Sadly, we also did three rounds of IUI and one round of IVF with them without any positive results which were all self-funded between us all (before we met them, we had gone on the clinic donor wait list which was going to take about two years to reach the top of the list). While we were deciding what do next, we had an amazing offer from a friend who wanted to donate to us he was a lot younger than our current donor and already had children. It was an extremely hard and heart-breaking decision to make but for many reasons we decided to change to this donor.
We also changed clinics and did another privately funded round with this donor. This gave us much better results than the first round, however this resulted in a chemical pregnancy, still no baby. Our specialist at this second clinic was super helpful and got us on the public funding waitlist swiftly and we waited 10 months to reach the top of the public funded waitlist. We had already self-funded two rounds and 3 IUI’s. Otherwise, to qualify for public funding we would have had to do 12 IUI which is about the equivalent to the cost of two rounds of IVF to qualify with enough points for funding. While we waited for the third public round to come up my partner took a lot of supplements and we ate healthy, and followed the book, It Starts with the Egg. We got allocated to another different clinic, (something that was a bit unsettling, and we were sad about as we couldn’t complete our funded round with our previous clinic).
This time we knew a lot more and felt prepared and being really took the pressure off a lot. I’m not sure if this was what helped but we had the best round out of the three. This resulted in 4 embryos, the most we have ever gotten. The fresh transfer resulted in a Chemical pregnancy, which are super tough, however the next frozen transfer we did resulted in a “live birth” our wee baby! I think we were a little in shock by it all to be honest as we just laughed a lot when we got the positive result! It had worked after all we had done privately and the publicly funded round had ironically got us pregnant. We called our child the buy two get one free baby!
Sadly, this is not where our journey ends. When our child was 1.5yrs we transferred the last two embryos which didn’t take, leaving us at the end of our public round and no sibling for our child. A very much wanted a sibling for our child so decided to try again and ended up doing two more rounds with no success. We then made the very painful decision to stop trying. However, one day we were approached by an amazing family member who had embryos they wished to donate to us! We had a quick process from start to finish including counselling and ECART approval and I am now doing transfers with these donor embryos gifted from this amazing family member to which we will always be forever grateful to.
If it ends up that it doesn’t produce a sibling for our child we will be extremely disappointed and sad that we can’t extend our family, however we are very grateful for what we have and do not regret trying everything we did to get our child and are happy that we have done all we can to try for a sibling.
*Not her real name.
Embryo Donation (ED)
ED is the donation by a couple who have “surplus” embryos following IVF to someone else struggling with infertility. ED has only been available in New Zealand since late 2005. The regulations are quite different from those of many other countries, following guidelines that have been set out by ACART (the Advisory Committee for Assisted Reproductive Technologies) under the HART (Human Assisted Reproductive Technologies) Act of 2004. For more information about embryo donation, click here.