Author: Emma King
In September 2016 my wife Stacey and I welcomed beautiful boy/girl twins into our family and it was the most wonderful day of our lives but was also a long time coming as we know so many other families have experienced. We knew it would be a long and expensive journey being a same sex couple, using donor sperm, and wanted to share our story to provide hope and encouragement to anyone in the same situation.
2 years and 4 days earlier we started our journey.
We decided Stacey would try first to conceive given we had 2 uteruses on offer. The cheapest and easiest option was to try Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI). We went through all the tests and procedures to get started and then had to make the biggest decision of our lives – choosing a donor, well 3 to be precise – first preference, second preference & third preference. We decided to narrow our decision down by traits that resembled Stacey and I – eye colour, hair colour, skin colour. But what helped us the most were the donor letters – the letters the donors wrote to their donor children or the families that used their donation – we found they really reflected their personalities and that meant a lot to us. And with that we made our first attempt, and second attempt, and third. Each time having to review what donors were available, who would we be happy for our child to share DNA with. None of our attempts were successful.
After 3 unsuccessful rounds of IUI we were moved onto IVF.
Our lives revolved around doctors’ appointments, medications, injections, blood tests and internal examinations! With a really low egg count after more unsuccessful attempts we had to make the decision if we were going to continue trying to conceive with Stacey or if we would try with me. After a long and disappointing journey so far it was a really hard decision to make, especially for Stacey. But our brains (and bank!) told us to move on. And so it started again with tests and procedures to get the ball rolling. We were prepared again that if IUI was unsuccessful we would have to face the perils of IVF again.
But this time they said it would be easier, I had a much higher egg count and to be prepared for multiples and a high-risk pregnancy (something they don’t encourage). 2 more rounds, still nothing on the horizon. We had 1 more try before we were back on the IVF cycle. On 22nd January 2016 we had our last attempt at IUI.
We chose a blue eyed, orange haired donor who wrote a beautiful letter to his donor parents and child.
2 weeks later was the scheduled phone call we had taken so many times before – was it successful or not? We got the phone call we had been waiting so long for – it was a success. A success so much that they wanted us in for a scan in 2 weeks to check if there was 1 or 2. The scan confirmed there were 2 beautiful babies there but were told to come back again in 2 weeks to see if they were both still there because of the high likelihood that whilst we conceived twins we may not deliver twins. 2 weeks later they were both growing beautifully, and they proceeded to check for number 3…. We didn’t know how to take that but 2 it was.
Our pregnancy was mostly uneventful for the most part we had an easy ride for the first half or so. Then we had the pleasures of all the lovely side effects of pregnancy towards the end – anaemia, heartburn, restless legs, cramping and passing out during fortnightly scans! With one breech twin we were scheduled for a c-section at 37 weeks. 36 weeks on the dot and they decided to make their arrival on 21st September 2016. 3 nights in special care, 3 nights in hospital with us and then we were on our own.
It was a long, stressful, emotional couple of years but worth every moment.
We are blessed with 2 beautiful, healthy twins who are everything to us. We have the deepest respect for other families going through IUI and IVF, especially those who spend years upon years cycling through the process without any luck. We are truly blessed and truly lucky to have the beautiful babies we have and probably in all reality got off lightly. Thank you for allowing us to share our journey and our thoughts and best wishes go out to anyone on the same or similar path. We are happy to share more insight into our journey and its ups and downs to anyone that feels they could benefit!