“We always knew that we wanted children and the clock was ticking – loud and clear”
BY CRYOS INTERNATIONAL
Lisa and Lynsey are married and they live in London together with their son Teddy. On their YouTube channel, Teddy Has Two Mams, the couple share their experiences on fertility treatment, pregnancy and family life.
Cryos had the opportunity to ask Lisa some of the many burning questions that other LBGTQI parents-to-be have when it comes to starting a family.
Who should carry the baby?
For many lesbian couples, pregnancy is an experience that both mother’s-to-be want to have and therefore it is not always easy to decide who should carry the baby. For Lisa and Lynsey, the clock was ticking and they made a pragmatic decision based on biology. “We were not in an age where we had a lot of time on our hands” Lisa explained, “Lynsey is a little bit older than I am. (..) She was 41 when she conceived Teddy and I am not quite 40 yet (..) Lynsey knew that she wanted to biologically have her own child. She wasn’t entirely convinced that she wanted to carry, and I think she would have absolutely loved to have done reciprocal IVF but, in the time, where we were first looking at IVF the circumstances were not quit right so she went through with the fertility treatment (IUI)”.
A two yearlong journey
When Lisa and Lynsey began fertility treatment, they were both under the impression that everything would progress relatively fast. They would never have imagined that it would take two years before they could hold their son in their arms.
“It has definitely been more difficult than we expected. We were so naive. We thought; we don’t really need fertility treatment, we just don’t have any sperm, so we just need help in that area”. They were both brought back to reality after four failed IUI treatments, which made them come to the realization that their age was actually an important issue.
After the failed IUI treatments Lynsey took back the control. They took a break from trying to conceive and Lynsey did a lot of research. Lynsey completely changed her diet and her nutrition, “she tackled her IVF head on. She was in the best condition of her life. I was so impressed. She was so determined.” Lisa proudly explains.
Mild IVF treatment was the answer
After the break Lynsey was physically and mentally in the right place to resume the journey towards parenthood and they then began IVF treatment. Lisa often gets asked about where they got their treatment, but instead of recommending a clinic, she recommends the specific type of IVF treatment that they used. “We are really really big advocates for mild IVF treatment. Mild IVF is essentially less drugs and it is all mapped out through your natural cycle. There is not an awful lot of down regulation. In fact, there is no down regulation. You start your medication on the second day of your cycle. The real focus is on quality versus quantity, so we never went into our mild IVF knowing that we would get 20 or 50 eggs. That was never the aim. The aim was to come out with a few really brilliant ones. And then one of those became Teddy”.
Lynsey’s first IVF was a success and they fell pregnant.
“We were lucky that we were successful in our first round of IVF, in our first embryo transfer. We know that this is not always the case. So, whilst at the time it felt like a long process, we know that compared to others families it was relatively short.”
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The musical donor
The process of picking the donor was a journey within a journey and Lisa and Lynsey took their time in order to find the right one.
In the beginning it was all about the aesthetics and the donor had to have a specific physical appearance. They used the same donor for all the IUI treatments but they completely changed their entire plan when the IUI treatments did not work. “We literally changed everything. We changed treatment, we changed donor, we changed clinic”.
When they started looking for the new donor for the IVF treatment they realized their priorities had shifted. “ We wanted someone who’s, interest and life was more aligned with ours, so we started looking for someone who was creative, someone musical, someone who was athletic (…). The personality traits and the way of life became more interesting to us so in the end that was the way we chose our donor.” Says Lisa “We call him Music Man.”
As far as anonymity goes, Lisa and Lynsey chose a non-anonymous (also called ID release donor). This is regulated by law in the UK as you can only choose non-anonymous donors for clinic treatment, but suffice to say even if this was not regulated by UK legislation then they would still have chosen a donor who was contactable in the future. “We choose the donor very carefully and we are proud of this person” Lisa says “I hope that we can all go and meet this man and say thank you. To show him this is the family that we have created and thank him for his part in that”.
Be honest with your child
At some point children grow up and when they do, they will have a lot of questions. Lisa and Lynsey have not “had the talk” with Teddy just yet because he is only 14 months and right now having two mums is just his reality. “He knows that he has a Mammy and a Mommy. That is how we differentiate between the two.” Lisa says and explains that the conversation that they are going to have at one point is going to focus on the fact that not everyone has two mums.
Lisa and Lynsey have already read children’s books to him that explain all of the different kinds of family forms and they try to introduce the subject into daily conversations. It is an ongoing learning curve, but it is important for Lynsey and Lisa, that Teddy knows his story before he is confronted with it later in life, and furthermore they want their son to understand that others might perceive his family as being different to others. “We want him to understand how his family is different. You have to give that information to your children. (..) We want him to be confident and self-assured and have all the facts. We are not going to hide anything from him.”
Siblings for Teddy
Lisa and Lynsey want to have siblings for Teddy with the same donor. Lisa has already done the first part of the IVF and has two embryos fertilized with the same donor ready for when it is her turn. “Hopefully I will be lucky enough to get pregnant with one of those embryos. If not, then Lynsey has three more, so I will try to get pregnant with one of her embryos. Ideally, I would like to biologically have a child but again what I have realised in raising Teddy, is that it is less important for me now than it was before. So, I would like to be pregnant as an experience but whether or not I am pregnant with one of my embryos or one of Lynsey’s embryos is neither here nor there. The idea of being pregnant with one of Lynsey’s embryos is so cool. It is amazing”.
Watch the full Q&A interview with Lisa here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnBeJ9nP5fo