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LGBTQ+ females holding a pregnancy bump

23/06/2024 - 5 min read

Patient Stories: Anna & Aimee

Care Team

As a same-sex female couple, Anna and Aimee tackled big challenges on their journey to parenthood. Without NHS support, they financed their own fertility treatments. They chose a sperm donor from a London sperm bank and came to Care Fertility for their fertility treatments. Despite setbacks and emotional ups and downs, they kept going and eventually found success through IVF. Now, they're sharing their story to support others:

My wife Aimee, and I, Anna, always knew we’d have to do the whole ‘make a baby’ thing differently, but we were up for the challenge. We thought it’d be pretty easy – I mean, we had two wombs between us, but it proved to be one of the hardest, most challenging things we have ever done. 

Financial hurdles and LGBTQ+ inequality 
Fertility treatment is not funded by the NHS in our area, so we had to find quite a bit of money to fund it ourselves. We re-mortgaged our house to ensure we had enough in the pot to cover everything - it wasn’t ideal, but when you want something so badly you do everything you can to make it happen, right? 

Choosing a sperm donor 
We chose a donor from the London sperm bank which was quite a surreal process (almost like online shopping, but sperm instead of shoes!) then got a treatment plan together with our chosen clinic who were amazing throughout. 

Our first try: IUI and IVF 
We decided that I would try and get pregnant first, and I had my first IUI treatment in 2017, which unfortunately unfolded into two failed cycles. So, I decided I needed to take a different approach. I took some time to reflect as we couldn’t afford to just keep attempting and had to ask ourselves whether we were missing something and if there were something more that we could do to improve our chances. 

Everyone tells you once you start trying to fall pregnant it is easy; we all spend the first stages of our lives trying NOT to fall pregnant, but then when it doesn’t work for you, you always question why that is. 

Mental health and fertility: finding balance 
For me, particularly, before we embarked on our next course of treatment, I wanted to make sure I was in the best possible position. IVF is a big process and isn’t to be taken lightly, and there is still that chance that it might not work. We knew we would be set on the best path for us medically for our circumstances, but I just didn’t feel 100% ready to take it on. 

I started looking into ways we could best prepare and began finding resources on how mental health can have an influence on your ability to get pregnant. That really hit home for me. My mind felt like it was at breaking point, I was so incredibly stressed at work, I was so devastated about my failed treatments, and felt truly at rock bottom. 

So, I just decided to take a bit more control of things in my life. 

I started to introduce meditation, focussed on positive mindset, I really got clear on how I felt and learned to process those emotions. I was really determined to get myself into a place where I felt ready to take on IVF. 

It didn’t take too long before I started to feel the benefits of the changes I had made.  

IVF Success: A renewed perspective 
I was feeling so much better and going into my IVF treatment my initial test results had improved. My AMH had increased which was amazing. I responded well to the drugs prescribed to me and had seven eggs fertilised along with a fresh embryo transfer. All signs were much more positive this time round, and I was successful in falling pregnant! 

I felt like a completely different person compared to when I had the first rounds of IUI. I went into the treatment and actually really enjoyed it. Even though it isn’t easy by any means and is invasive, I just had a completely different perspective this time round. 

We welcomed our first son Olly into the world, and we couldn’t have been happier. 

Growing our family 
We decided that we wanted to grow our family, and Aimee would be the one to have treatment. Having been through the treatment before, we wanted to use what we had learnt and apply it to this round of treatment too. 

Again, as well as personal meds being given and clinically being on the right path. We wanted to feel ready to take this on together. I had a relatively easy pregnancy and birth, but Aimee has had a bit of a tougher experience. A cyst needed aspiration and a few more visits to the experts before being ready. We still got a great number of eggs – a total of eight! 

Unfortunately, we suffered a chemical pregnancy and miscarriage. Which caused a whole wave of new emotions to deal with, but we took time to process this together. Aimee was fantastic and found a positive in that she was able to get pregnant - which isn’t always the case for everyone. 

The eggs we had left over from the collection had been frozen, so we were moving into new territory of a frozen transfer. This brought new questions and with it, a daunting feeling. But Aimee’s body having some down time and us keeping a positive mindset, the frozen transfer was successful! 

As I am writing this Aimee is currently 26 weeks pregnant with our second child! 

Sharing our story: supporting others 
Now we have been through it, we want to help others and to bring reassurance. 

Whilst you are going through the journey, it can feel rubbish at times. You can start to question whether it will ever happen for you, do you still want this, can you afford to try multiple rounds – and this is completely normal!  

Now we have our family we can say wholeheartedly that it is completely worth it. 

Without Care Fertility, my wife and I would not have our son and she would not be pregnant with our second child, we cannot express how grateful we are.