“We’re So Grateful to be Able to Make Our Family Complete” – How IVF with Donor Sperm Changed Charlotte and Katie’s Life
Author: London Sperm Bank
We started our fertility journey with an event held at London Women’s Clinic for same-sex couples who are looking to become parents, where we were learnt about the laws for using a UK sperm donor and what treatment options were available to us.
It was here that our first introduction to London Sperm Bank was made, and we discovered the amazing donors available on the LSB database and how we could grow our family with help from a sperm donor.
It was important for us, in the decision-making process, to choose a UK sperm donor in comparison to a donor from abroad. Knowing that all UK donors were compliant with HFEA regulations, and ticked all the right boxes when it came to anonymity, we naturally felt more comfortable choosing a donor from the UK – and when we found out that London Sperm Bank was based in the same building we were having our treatment in, it seemed even more closer to home!
We searched for a donor based on the characteristics of my partner, Katie, as we would be using my eggs and I would be carrying our baby. We wanted to maximise the chances of our baby looking like her, so we searched for a donor that was White, had blue eyes, and blonde hair.
Initially, you think the hardest part of using a sperm donor for fertility treatment would be actually finding your donor – but this was the easiest part of our journey by far! We spent a long time going through all the donors who matched our characteristics and really enjoyed finding out more about them; their extended profiles were lovely to read, and really gave you a chance to get to know your donor in more detail.
"It's important to remain optimistic when having IVF with donor sperm, and always look on the positive side. You need to allow yourself to get excited by your journey and find the fun in it."
Eventually, we chose our donor.
He was described by the staff as being very active and friendly, and in his Pen Sketch he had written about himself, he explained his reasons for donating. Reading about the donor and their motivations was really powerful for us, and we came to understand them as a really genuine person and they instantly stood out against the rest. It may sound a bit cliché, but when you’ve found the right donor it really is a gut feeling that tells you they’re the one.
When our treatment began we faced some obstacles. We started with two rounds of IUI – one medicated and one natural – but both failed. When you’re a same-sex couple using a sperm donor you automatically assume that treatment will work the first time, especially when you don’t have any fertility issues. So when our two rounds of IUI failed, it was quite challenging for us to overcome.
Rather than trying another round of IUI, we decided to pursue an alternative option – IVF with donor sperm.
This also had its challenges as soon into my treatment we discovered that I had a large cyst that needed to be checked, and then during treatment, I was told that I was at high risk of Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. Our clinic was so supportive with us, though, and helped us every step of the way. We were given all the best information to help us through this, and a decision was made to have a frozen embryo transfer to counteract the risk of OHSS.
Two weeks after our embryo transfer, we had our positive pregnancy test! And nine months later, our wonderful baby was born.
It’s important to remain optimistic when having IVF with donor sperm, and always look on the positive side. You need to allow yourself to get excited by your journey and find the fun in it. But we would definitely say that it’s also important to be realistic and manage your expectations. You always expect treatment to work the first time, so when it doesn’t, it can be such a surprise.
Thankfully, we had an amazing support network around us. When you first approach the idea of using a sperm donor, it can be a little scary. But we received such great encouragement from the clinic, our friends and family, and even some online support groups we found, and wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.
We’re so grateful to London Sperm Bank for helping make our family complete. We’ve always dreamt of being parents, and with our extra embryos in storage, hopefully we can expand our family soon!
If you are looking to grow your family with help of donor sperm and don't know where to start, get in contact with a member of our Patient Care team by calling 0203 826 3217. With our Personalised Matching Service and dedicated Patient Care Coordinators, we can help find the perfect donor for you.