Our journey started in October 2019 when we had an initial consultation at the Cardiff clinic with Dr Thackare. We knew going into the appointment that shared motherhood was something that we were interested in as it would allow us both to feel like we were biologically our baby’s parents, so we were really pleased to find that she was extremely knowledgeable about the programme and confirmed that this was the right choice for us. I was going to be carrying our baby, which was going to be made up of both Lisa’s egg as well as sperm from London Sperm Bank.
Our first consultation with Dr Thackare revealed that Lisa had polycystic ovarian syndrome, something that we didn’t know prior to starting our shared motherhood journey. As well as this, my hormone levels were also much lower than normal. However, Dr Thackare assured us that this shouldn’t be a challenge and that we should be able to undergo the IVF process with no worries.
Beginning the shared motherhood journey, we both felt equally as invested in creating our family right from the start. Our individual treatments were happening at the same time, so whilst Lisa was preparing herself for egg collection, I was preparing myself for the embryo transfer. These few weeks of preparation and treatment immediately brought us closer together as we could each understand what the other was going through, something that not a lot of other couples get to experience.
Shared motherhood was something that we were interested in as it would allow us both to feel like we were biologically our baby’s parents.
At the first scan, we were told that Lisa had 28 eggs and was at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation. The clinic was extremely helpful with this though and told us that she would need to eat lots of protein and drink as many isotonic drinks as possible. They also gave her some more medication to take a few days later as they were concerned that her follicles weren’t growing as much as they should. This was a little concerning for us, but the clinic did their very best to ease our worries which we appreciated.
A few weeks later when it came to the actual egg collection, they were able to collect 21 eggs! This was great news, and we went into the embryo transfer with a really positive attitude.
However, it wasn’t a smooth journey moving forward. Following the embryo transfer, I experienced some cramping that meant I wasn’t able to sleep very well. We were a little worried, and even when we took our home pregnancy test and saw that it was positive, we still had our doubts. A few nights after this I woke up to find that I was bleeding slightly, which made us both feel much more nervous and uneasy. This went on for a few days and really upset us both as we were concerned that we were going to lose our baby.
At our 5-week point, we went to the clinic for a scan because the bleeding hadn’t stopped and they wanted to double-check that all was okay. The scan revealed an internal sac and a gestational sac, but no embryo. This was really upsetting to us, but the clinic told us not to give up hope. We had to come back for our 7-week scan and they would be able to tell us more.
The next two weeks were extremely nerve-wracking, and despite hoping for the best, we were also preparing ourselves for the worst. Thankfully, when we reached our 7-week scan, they were able to see a heartbeat! We were overjoyed to hear this and we were discharged from the clinic. The following months were a rollercoaster – I struggled with really bad nausea throughout my pregnancy, and even caught Covid-19 at one point, so it definitely wasn’t the easiest 9 months.
However, it was all worth it when a few months later, our son Rory was born!
Despite all the stress and concerns, and the difficulties we experienced, we would do it all again in a heartbeat because it gave us our beautiful son. Being able to start our family thanks to the shared motherhood process meant that myself and Lisa felt like equals in the journey, and London Women’s Clinic made sure to support us every step of the way. Neither one of us feels more attached or more entitled to our son – we know that Lisa gave him the DNA, and I gave him the blood to create him – and it truly brought us closer together as a family.
In the future, we’ll be looking to see if we can give Rory a sibling and we will definitely be going through the same shared motherhood process again. It really is amazing and we couldn’t be more grateful to London Women’s Clinic for everything they did for us.
If you are a same-sex couple looking to start your family, please contact a friendly member of our enquiries team on 02075634309 to find out more.
London Women's Clinic and our medical team have been carrying out research into Shared Motherhood programmes and the success they bring. For more information about intra-partner egg donation and our research, click here.