As Helen Smith watches her partner cradle their son Archie, she can still hardly believe that her dreams of motherhood have come true.
Being in a same gender partnership Helen and Nicky had always known that they would need a sperm donor if they wanted to have a family.
“We had been together 12 years and although we both wanted to have a baby, we decided that I would be the one to attempt pregnancy,” says Helen. “So we started to look at what the options were for us.”
However, they were to face a further obstacle after Helen was told that she had a blocked fallopian tube and scar tissue dating back to when she had suffered burst ovarian cysts, so would need to have IVF treatment if she was to conceive.
Helen and Nicky, who live in Luton, were friends with a couple who had had a baby after treatment at Bourn Hall Clinic and spoke very highly of their experience – so they approached the clinic after being told that, because of Helen’s fallopian tissue damage, they were eligible for NHS funding for treatment of infertility.
The couple travelled to Bourn Hall Clinic for their initial meeting and were really impressed. “The staff at Bourn Hall were fabulous,” says Helen. “They were so inclusive and we didn’t feel at all ‘singled out’ because we were a same gender couple.”
Helen was treated using donor sperm and a process called ICSI – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection – where an individual sperm is injected directly into one of her eggs. Two fertilised embryos were transferred to Helen’s womb and the couple were delighted when they discovered a few weeks later that she was pregnant on the first attempt.
“Apart from feeling tired, my pregnancy went perfectly to plan,” says Helen. Archie was born at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital in November 2011 and Helen describes motherhood as ‘absolutely fantastic’.
“Being a mum is the icing on the cake,” says Helen, aged 40, who has been with Nicky (40), for over a decade. “When we first got together there were so many things in life we thought would elude us. But times are changing. Six years ago we were able to get married and now we have become parents. Things are so much easier for couples like us now, it is fantastic. Thank you Bourn Hall!”
Archie is one of more than 1000 NHS-funded babies to be born following treatment at Bourn Hall in the last three years – since the East of England became the first region in the country to provide a consistent fertility treatment pathway for everyone with a GP in the area.
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