Home' LOTL : NovDec Contents 32 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
FAMILY | HOW WE CONCEIVED
Trying to cover everything
about conceiving a child for us
in the LGBT community over
a couple of pages is, I ’ve real-
ised, pretty impossible. From
the emotional commitment to
the financial one. From assisted
insemination to full IVF. From
married couples to best friends.
From the so-called “turkey
baster” to the clinic! There are
just too many things to consid-
er. So I decided to write about
why my wife Ellie and I did it the
way we did: IVF through a clinic.
When we embarked on
our journey to parenthood we
looked at many options. I don’t
know that I’d have considered
everything so closely had it not been for my
meticulous wife. I ’m a bit gung-ho. I like to go
with the flow and see where that takes me.
My usual approach was not advisable in this
particular area of my life as the consequences
of making the wrong decision are huge and
That’s why we chose to go to the clinic. We
used the Agora, near where I live in Brighton
& Hove. We initially approached them, as a
local service, because friends had told me to
expect a huge number of appointments, tests
and scans. I ’m also of the opinion, though it
may not be scientifically proven, that being re-
laxed can be hugely helpful when trying to get
pregnant. Travelling to London on Southern
Rail with its infamous delays was never going
to reduce the stress levels.
The IVF route was almost inevitable for us
because of my age. My egg reserves were
getting low. A woman’s egg reserves decline
massively year on year past the age of 35 and
I had left it until 38 to start the process. Flatter-
ingly, I ’m what’s known as a “geriatric mother”.
I know. They need to change some of their ter-
With us, having the expense of IVF anyway,
we thought we might as well go the whole way
and use my eggs with Ellie as the birth mother.
It’s not the most common way to do it at all; in
fact, it’s a little more complicated. But, for us,
it felt right. It was quite a long journey for us. It
took a couple of years. I ended up having five
rounds of the drugs that make you produce
more eggs than a normal cycle. It was pretty
tough going. I have a needle phobia, so two or
three self-administered injections a night left
me feeling clammy and panicked. It’s funny,
though, how you can get over such things
when a child is what you so desperately want.
There was one particularly funny moment
whilst recording my album, The Thin Line. I ’d
had the drugs delivered to the studio where
we were recording as I was staying away from
home. My producer, James, had nipped out to
get us some lunch but had failed to tell me his
pals were dropping in to check out whether
the studio’s back room would be suitable as
Cut to me, needle in hand, ready to ad-
minister the injection into my stomach as
two blokes I’d never met popped their heads
around the studio door. “ This isn’t what it looks
like...” was my response.
Each round of these drugs – trying dif-
ferent amounts and combinations – was be-
tween one and three weeks long. The drugs
made me feel different. I felt small and really
vulnerable. I was teary and fed up. It was very
odd. I wasn’t myself at all. But after two aban-
doned drug cycles – nothing was cooking in
the ovaries – and three full drug cycles and
transfers of embryos into Ellie, we were preg-
nant. That third full IVF cycle, I nearly didn’t do.
I’d had enough of feeling crap. And moody.
But with the support and advice of the clinic
we went for the third go. It’s quite common
for it to take three goes. Especially at my age.
There are fears about going to a clinic. The
cost, yikes, the examinations, ugh, the con-
stant monitoring, boring. You know, you can
buy sperm on the internet now. So, yeah, you
could just do it yourself. Many people do. But
that sperm’s not necessarily screened. Not
chromosome checked. There’s no assurance
of what you’re getting. We gave ourselves
peace of mind by choosing a donor whilst
having knowledge of their medical history.
The medical history was pretty much the
main way we picked our donor for Annie. Su-
per healthy. It was the single most important
factor for us.
I popped back to the Agora recently, to
speak to the founder of the clinic, Carole Gil-
ling-Smith, and asked her why it was so im-
portant to have access to a donor’s medical
She told me: “A lot of couples are going
abroad because they’re scared that [a UK] do-
nor will have rights. They want anonymity. But
there’s information that these kids might need
THERE ARE AS
AS THERE ARE
OF LGBT FAMILY.
(AND HOW) SHE
DID IT HER WAY
The family way
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