Choosing a donor

For about a year now we have had a general idea of what we would be looking for in a potential donor.  Good shape, healthy lifestyle, clean history of genetic conditions, same blood type as myself or C, brown/blonde hair, green/blue eyes and if possible no dominant facial features. Now that the time has come for us to actually choose, we have tried not to be too fussy with the physical side of things. Just to open up the options a bit.

The QFG donor program have a limited number of donors available. This initially was a bit disappointing as I was worried we wouldn’t find one we both agreed on but as it turns out it was actually not such a bad thing. You know when you’re at a restaurant and the menu has about 7 different mains you want to try? You weigh up each dish, perhaps deciding on the vegetable and haloumi stack but not being completely sure it was the right choice. Days later you still wonder if the crispy skinned salmon would have been better. Or maybe that duck breast or the eye fillet was the way to go? Having a smaller selection of donors to choose from meant the the task of choosing was far less overwhelming. We narrowed the list down pretty quickly and in the end it was out of Donor A and Donor B. I was leaning towards A, while Candice was not particularly leaning either way. In the end we reserved 2 vials of sperm from Donor A. We had to call QFG to confirm selection and pay within 3 business days. Pulling up into the car park of Ikea, C did just that. Talk about taking lesbian to a whole new level. A maximum of 2 vials can be purchased at a time so that’s all we have for now and fingers crossed that is all we need. 
I next ovulate around the 8th October but our next appointment isn’t until the 15th so that means the first insemination will be sometime early November. The nerves and excitement are starting to set in… once again though, all we can do is wait.

Back to back appointments

Yesterday we had to visit QFG for three pretty important appointments. The nurse, the psychologist and the sperm donor coordinator.

First up was the fertility nurse; she was really friendly and welcoming. She talked us through the artificial insemination and IVF process, how each cycle will work and all the costs involved. It only went for about half an hour but was pretty informative.

Next up was the dreaded session with the psychologist. Over the last week or so I had really been preparing myself for whatever was to be thrown at us during this appointment. I was nervous but at the same time I was ready. We had been warned that questions such as “How will you explain your family situation to your child” or “Why are you choosing an unknown donor? Have you considered using a family member of your partner instead?”, “How will you tell your child about the donor?” etc. We had the answers all ready to fire off with confidence. Turns out we had been stressing for no reason. Though when he did first come out to call us in, I couldn’t help but think how this old man, with his high waisted slacks, patterned green socks and his pasty white skin, looked as if he may belong to an unfriendly church. I guess this is precisely why I should never judge someone on appearances. He was professional but still friendly and the whole hour felt like more of a general parenting session than anything else. It was great. We talked about the age at which children start asking questions about where they come from, whether they have a dad and the age appropriate responses. Although he had advice, throughout the session he maintained that as parents it was completely up to us as to how we handled these questions. One thing he was really passionate about was how important it was that we never refer to the donor as Dad. This has always seemed obvious to me but over the past few months when talking to people they have referred to the donor as exactly that – Dad. It was getting to a point where not only was it infuriating but I was beginning to question myself. He told us that it was also important to make sure our family and friends are onboard with the donor being called a donor. It was something we hadn’t thought of before. Even though both our families are supportive of us starting a family, they may not realise how important it is to us that we are our own family unit. Our family will have two mums instead of a mum and dad. Simple.

After that we had to meet with the donor coordinator so she could get us registered. It was pretty straight forward really. We get a login, password and a run down on the local and overseas sperm banks they’re affiliated with. This was a surprisingly short appointment of about 30 minutes. We hadn’t even reached the car park when I received our donor program login details. So I’m sure you can guess what we did as soon as we got home. Let’s find us some sperm!

So that’s us for now. Will update very soon with our donor searching adventure!

Initial specialist consultation

Written by S

Today we had our initial appointment with Queensland Fertility Group. If I’m going to be honest I have to admit it was quite overwhelming. There was a lot of information thrown at us which was great in one way, as up to this point we really only had a general idea of the steps involved.
Our fertility specialist explained the options we had as a same sex couple wanting to achieve pregnancy;
– AI (artificial insemination), or
– IVF (in vitro fertilisation)
These two methods are significantly different.
Firstly, the success rates differ quite a lot. Statistically there is a 12-15% chance of achieving pregnancy using the AI method. This is basically the same success rate that hetero couples have when trying to conceive. 
IVF on the other hand has a success rate (for my age of 29) of close to 50%. So yeah, pretty big difference there.
The other major difference between the two is cost. 
With AI, you have the sperm donor expense of approx $1000 per vial (1 vial is used per cycle) and the the procedure itself will cost $250. 
IVF will cost a LOT more. All up (including donor sperm) it’s approximately $14,000 per cycle. Being in a lesbian relationship I am considered ‘socially infertile’ rather than ‘infertile’ meaning that we are not eligible for medicare funding under Australian law. If we were eligible, it would decrease the cost to somewhere around $4000 per cycle. As you can imagine we were both pretty gutted at that. Turns out however that if I have two unsuccessful attempts at AI then I am considered infertile and therefore eligible for medicare funding. So that’s our plan right now. After two attempts we are going straight to IVF. 
Our specialist was quite lovely and I think we both felt relatively comfortable with her. I use the term ‘relatively’ as I’m never completely comfortable with anyone in the medical profession. Not sure why but I am starting to realise I really need to get over that. 
Immediately after our appointment we had to go down to the QFG blood collection centre for more bloods to test for AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) which checks my ovarian reserve. Turns out we are born with a lifetime supply of eggs and they decrease in both quality and quantity as we age. The level of hormone is apparently a good indicator of my ovarian reserve.
Our next appointment with our specialist is in 4 weeks, however in the meantime there are a few things we have to do. The first one is meeting with the QFG Donation Programme Coordinators so we can register and choose a sperm donor. Secondly we have to attend the compulsory counselling session (anyone wanting to use a sperm donor must do this) with the psychologist. Thirdly, I need to have a Hysterosalpingogram done at an Xray clinic to ‘assess tubal patency’. This is just to check that my fallopian tubes aren’t blocked. It sounds pretty horrible to me and I am actually really scared. It involves a vaginal ultrasound followed by a catheter inserted up into the uterine cavity. A saline solution is introduced into the catheter followed by dye. I’m told it’s painful but the dye part only lasts for about a minute or so. There is another way but it involves key hole surgery and a general anaesthetic. Our specialist says it’s unnecessary to choose surgery over the Xray method, given my age.

So I guess that’s what I have to do. 

Until next time…

Back for blood results

Written by S

This morning I had an appointment with Dr Lesbian to get the results of the pre-pregnacy blood tests. As expected everything was fine. I don’t need the Rubella booster shot which is great as it would have meant waiting an extra 3 months before attempting to conceive. The only vitamin I was lacking in was vitamin D so I just need to get out in the sun a bit more. I’ve always been so damn sun smart, making sure I covered up properly when out in the sunshine as I’m rather pale and at risk of skin cancers. It appears all that effort has backfired. If my levels don’t increase then I’ll just have to take an extra vitamin D supplement on top of the Elivit tablets I’m already taking. So it’s no biggie.

I went to the doctor on my own today as I needed to get a PAP smear as well. It’s something that I have avoided for 11 years now. I knew it was going to be unpleasant and I was right. My doctor was great though and made it super quick and explained what she was doing as she did it. Now I feel a bit silly for being so nervous. I know this whole baby making process is going to involve a lot of uncomfortable, invasive and sometimes painful procedures. So as simple and quick as a PAP smear was I now feel like I’ve broken past a barrier. I have now allowed someone to put their head between my legs and poke around when it wasn’t even sexy time. Barrier smashed. Hooray!

Results for that will take about 2 weeks not that I’m at all worried. Dr L says that being both young and a lesbian puts me at very low risk. Good to know.

We have made our appointment with QFG for the 17th Sep. We called on the 16th Aug so there was about a 4 week wait which isn’t too bad really. I just hope that doesn’t mean a 4 week wait between every appointment.

Slow process.