The first step(s)

Four days ago we visited the Assisted Conception Unit at Guy’s Hospital. Friends of ours had a baby through the clinic earlier this year and couldn’t speak highly enough of it.

The doctor we spoke to could not have been lovelier and put us very much at ease. She talked through the options with us, which actually left us feeling more undecided than we had been previously. Our friends had tried IUI (inter-uterine insemination) for years with a number of other (private) medical establishments before referring themselves to Guy’s and trying IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and succeeding in having a gorgeous baby boy.

The doctor recommended that we try at least 3 cycles of IUI before going down the route of IVF as IUI is considerably cheaper and less invasive. We spent some time considering this before deciding that IVF’s much higher success rate overruled the reasons that made IUI seem a more sensible option. Whilst my age (under 30. Just) and the fact that I have no (known) fertility problems means that there is no reason IUI shouldn’t work, the success rate is still only between 15% and 18%, which doesn’t fill us with confidence. IVF, however, carries a 45% success rate. I’m not much of a gambler, but I like those odds.

As we’re getting married in August, we discussed our timeframe with the doctor. She said she would refer us to the counselling department straight away (a compulsory part of our treatment), but that if we were looking for me to begin an IVF cycle in September (post-honeymoon), then we would need to find a donor, have the blood tests and scans and start taking folic acid in July.

It all seemed quite far off, although I know the wedding will be here before we know it, as we’ve been engaged almost a year already and that time has flown by. We were chatting, after the appointment, to our friend who had the baby through Guy’s. She showed us the information about their donor and encouraged us to have a browse on the sperm bank’s website. It’s pretty weird scrolling through baby photos and ‘staff impressions’ and personal statements trying to imagine if our child was the genetic descendant of one of these men. The baby photos were the thing we went to first. I guess that if you think about picking a donor like picking a mate, every relationship is kindled by a physical attraction and, let’s face it, we want our baby to be cute!

We looked on the website again today and L (my partner) spotted a donor we hadn’t seen before. If you believe in love at first sight (and can apply that to a baby photo and profile relating to a phial of semen) then that’s what happened. It felt wrong to buy the sperm so soon – not to mention the fact that we’ve not quite reached the total needed for the wedding yet – but she felt strongly that she’d really regret it if we missed our chance to buy from this donor. So, better judgement aside, we put our money down and bought 6 units.

The donor has landed.

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