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"We instantly felt welcomed and included as an LGBTQ+ couple"

We’ve always wanted a family and knew there were a few different options available to us, as a same sex couple. After a lot of research, we came to the conclusion that we wanted to do it through a fertility clinic, mainly due to legal, health and safety reasons. Initially we opted for IUI and had a couple of rounds at a fertility clinic in Brighton but sadly we weren’t successful so began looking at IVF.

We were recommended abc ivf by another same sex couple who have had two children with abc’s help. We were especially attracted to the low dose IVF protocols abc ivf use, as we were fortunate to not have any fertility issues but needed treatment to start a family as a same sex couple. abc ivf’s simplified approach really appealed to us and after attending one of their online webinars, we decided to go ahead with treatment there.

We had our initial consultation and scan in December 2020.

What we found really wonderful about abc was the team’s inclusive approach. We instantly felt welcomed and included as an LGBTQ+ couple. I remember at my first scan, the consultant nurse had a look at my notes and immediately asked about my wife, Nerys, and how she was feeling about things. Due to the pandemic, Nerys was only allowed as far as the car park so it was nice that she was still included as much as possible during the appointments. The whole service felt very inclusive and that was really reassuring.

Very early on in the process we were assigned a patient coordinator and we were particularly impressed with this aspect of the service. Having a single point of contact as we worked through the admin and preparation for our first treatment cycle made such a difference to our experience. At the previous clinic, we were only able to liaise with the admin team, which proved difficult as they were often busy with other tasks and were not up to date with individual cases. At abc, having a designated person to help with any issues really helped us feel heard and supported as patients. We did have a little hiccup, with the delivery of our donor sperm being delayed and our patient coordinator at abc was absolutely amazing at keeping us updated and doing what they could to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

abc ivf baby collage June 2022

Once treatment started, visits to the clinic were every few days so it was great that there were regular, familiar faces every time I walked in the clinic. As Nerys was not able to accompany me due to the pandemic, the familiar faces helped me relax. There was a real consistency of care throughout our journey and it was a very supportive environment It definitely felt everyone in the clinic was rooting for us The staff were genuinely invested in our journey and hoping that we were successful.

The 2-week wait felt like a lifetime. On advice from friends, we found ways to keep ourselves as distracted as possible. Our treatment was during the Winter 21 national lockdown so we were unable to go out and about much. Our days were kept busy with a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle whilst we waited until it was time for our pregnancy blood test. This time we decided not to do any home pregnancy tests and wait until the blood test instead.

I went into the clinic in the morning for the blood test and were told we’d received the results via telephone in the afternoon. I was too nervous to take the call so Nerys answered. Whilst I could sense that it was good news, it felt too good to be true and I wondered if they’d got it wrong. When Nerys got off the phone, she explained that my HCG levels were very high so they had no doubt that I was pregnant. We both burst into tears!

I identify as non-binary and we were fortunate that Brighton Hospital, where we live, had just launched a gender inclusive service as part of their Maternity Services. I was straight away referred to the gender inclusive team which really helped me across the journey of being pregnant. I was a little worried that as a non-binary person,I would find elements of pregnancy and maternity services difficult but the support I received helped me feel validated and there is something magical about growing a mini human inside you, no matter your gender identity.

Now our little one is here, life as parents is amazing. He is amazing. Our son has filled a hole we never even knew existed and we are loving every minute of family life, building our relationship with him and watching him grow.

We had such reservations when we started looking at how to start a family as an LGBTQ+ couple and worried the process would be very stressful but we were pleasantly surprised. We would 100% recommend abc and we already have. The options available really helps couples and individuals navigate the pricey market that is private IVF treatment and as same-sex couples only have the option of private treatment, the price could make the difference between having one round or being able to have a few tries; it really is important.

Hopefully we will return to abc in the future to explore extending our family. We have 3 embryos in storage so in a couple of years time we might be back! We can’t thank abc ivf enough for helping us build our family.

Em & Nerys x