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White, same sex female couple holding ultrasound picture and smiling

18/06/2024 - 8 min read

Jenna and Lydia's Shared Motherhood Journey

Care Team

Shared motherhood helped Lydia and Jenna have a family of their own through the unique experience of intra-partner egg donation. Read their inspiring story, and learn more about their campaign work below:

Choosing Care Fertility: our starting point 
We were unsure where to start the process but figured our local GP may be able to help. Unfortunately, this wasn’t particularly fruitful - we found out no treatment support was applicable to same sex couples - especially when requiring a donor in our area. A bit stumped we sought the advice of friends who had been in a similar situation and had fertility treatment at a clinic. After researching local clinics, we came across Care Fertility Tunbridge Wells

The complexities of IVF: A detailed insight 
We started with an initial consultation and the doctor answered all of our questions. We were told due to our age, infertility shouldn’t be an issue and so we ran through the costs of IVF which included the treatment, scans, and medication as well as donor sperm and any tests we may need to have. 

"We decided to have our initial blood tests done there and then - why wait let’s get the process started!"

After our consultation we went home for a chat and to look at our finances and whether the timings for starting would work for us. We also discussed egg donation, it seemed only fair to look into this as we were relying on the kindness of a male donor to help us.  

First attempts: Jenna's journey with IVF 
My wife and I decided to try my eggs first. FSH test results came back quite low meaning I wasn’t growing as many eggs as we would have liked. We felt that with our age this would only get lower. We had agreed that each of us would have two rounds of treatment (should one not be successful) and set ourselves a financial limit.  

Due to a previous tumour in my wife's spine, we knew I would carry the baby. With trying my eggs first - our donor search focussed on finding someone with characteristics similar to my wife. We quickly made our choice and felt 100% happy. The donor sperm was sent to our clinic and I began the process of baseline scans, injection, and pessaries. The nursing team at Care Fertility were amazing and we felt instantly at ease. 

We made it to egg collection day – with just a handful of eggs. We prayed for them to fertilise. The next day Care Fertility rang to say not all had fertilised but reassured us they would be closely monitored hoping to get to a blastocyst at day five. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it to five days. By day three we were back at the clinic for the embryo transfer and to start our two week wait. Sadly, none were viable for freezing.  

A couple of days before we were meant to test, I started to bleed. We were not feeling positive and so decided to test. It was negative. Having been so swept away with the excitement, we were gutted at this result. We knew it was a possibility it wouldn’t work, but we agreed that we would try again. 

Care Fertility adjusted my medication to try and increase the number of eggs and their quality. During the scans we were told it wasn’t looking great for collection and we could cancel this round of treatment because the egg collection may not be very successful. We decided to go with our gut and continue. We’d got this far and already spent the money, so thought ‘why not’. This time the doctors tried ‘Embryo Glue’ in the hope this would make a difference. 

On egg collection day we had even less eggs than the first time. Only a couple of eggs made it to day three, and once again it was embryo transfer time and the start of the two week wait. 

Sadly, it was the same again and I was bleeding before my period was due. Negative. I thought I was ok and dealing with the disappointment (a few tears in the morning) but went to work. However, I realised once there - how upset I was and swiftly went home for a cry and cuddles with my wife! 

Second time around: Lydia's turn with IVF
It took us a couple of months to recover before we decided to try again but this time with my wife’s eggs and I would carry. 

My wife has Polycystic Ovaries (PCOS) meaning she could over stimulate and produce a lot of eggs. Whilst this was a worry, it was also wonderful to hear potentially how many eggs we would have after the disappointing results of our previous treatments.  

My wife did her share of injections and medication whilst I was getting into sync with her cycle, and egg collection day quickly came around! We had so many eggs we were over the moon, and even more amazing was that nearly all of them made it to blastocysts and day five – and with eggs to freeze! We felt so positive and excited, it was wonderful. We were ever optimistic that we’d made it this far so successfully. On day five - our embryo transfer was booked in. We just felt so different and positive, and ready for the two week wait! 

The miracle of pregnancy: testing positive 
Three days later I had a funny feeling, and I just knew I was pregnant. I can’t describe it, but I knew. So, we tested early and it was positive! In complete disbelief, I would test every day until the clinic test just to make sure! We were so excited to tell them it had finally worked! We were so excited we just wanted to tell everyone that it had worked, but we waited. 

By the time we got to 7 weeks, nausea had kicked in. It was constant but I hadn’t yet been sick - we were so hopeful this was a good sign. The nurse turned the screen on our seven-week scan to check herself before showing us. I was so nervous. Then all of a sudden, we heard “all looks great” before hearing a very fast heart beat and seeing a tiny blob on the screen! My wife and I burst into tears – we were over the moon!  

Our pregnancy went well and to our surprise was a little girl born in December 2016, two weeks and two days overdue. She was a dream baby and we settled so quickly into family life.  

Expanding our family: frozen embryo success 
In 2017 we decided to try again with our frozen embryos. Thankfully this time there were no injections or lots of medication but simply controlling our cycle and ensuring my lining was ready.  

Our first embryo didn’t thaw as the embryology team would have liked, but we decided to try again. However, that didn’t thaw properly either. We were assured how unusual this was, and told we could try again with our third and final embryo – third time lucky! Our little embryo thawed and was transferred, and for the fourth time we began our two week wait. 

Unlike my previous pregnancy I wasn’t feeling as hopeful and definitely didn’t have the feeling of being pregnant. So, we tested on the same day as we did in our last pregnancy (albeit earlier than advised!). It was negative. My wife reassured me I was just testing too early and to be patient. We waited another couple of days, and then there was our pink line we had been waiting for! We were thrilled, and relieved, to let the clinic know and book us in for our 7-week scan. 

We decided we’d find out what we were having this time at a private scan - another girl! We were so happy. The sickness then swiftly returned.  

Joy and relief: our second daughter's arrival
Our pregnancy went well up until the final couple of weeks where the baby decided to lay transverse and I had a lot of fluid! Finally, after a two week hospital stay, our second daughter was born via C-section in June 2018!  

Both girls are thriving and ganging up on their mummies! Thankfully we both work from home and we get to spend a lot of time together as a family.  

Looking ahead: sharing our journey through writing
Our eldest is starting to ask some questions about her “two mummy” family. I have since written a book which will help her understand how we used donor treatment to get pregnant which we will be launching soon!