Real-life story: Same sex couple open up about their journey in becoming parents.
Kirsten and Kat are 2 mamas from Brisbane who have been together for 8 years (married for 3) and decided to start the journey to extend their family in 2018. We caught up with Kat and found out a little more about their journey so far. They share their details with us below and hope that their journey to become parents through IUI and IVF can help other same sex couples or individuals looking for support and advice.
Tell us a little bit about your journey so far?
Kirsten and I (Kat) have been together for 8 years (married for 3) and decided to start the journey to creating our family in 2018. We agreed that I would be the first to carry (as I’m a few years older) as we both wanted the opportunity to experience pregnancy.
Did you have any preconceived notions on IVF?If so, what were they? Were they correct or incorrect?
We always thought that there would be a plethora of sperm donors to choose from, this wasn’t the case. In the hopes of finding a donor that had a mixture of both of our physical attributes as well as a healthy medical history -it was near impossible. We wanted the same donor for both of our pregnancies but decided just to look for donor similar to Kirsten. That search took around 7 months just to find someone suitable and healthy enough (no cancer markers) to move forward. A process we thought would be the fun and easy part was quite heartbreaking and stressful as it set the timeline for how long it would be before we officially began trying.
How many times did it take you to conceive?
We started with IUI (inter-uterine insemination) and failed that process twice. The chances of IUI being successful was a 10 percent chance and we rolled the dice. We then decided to move right into IVF as it was. 15-20 percent chance of success. After one round of egg collection we were left with only 2 embryos out of a potential 18 mature eggs. The first transfer failed and our last precious embryo worked!
Did you have a pre-determined stop point i.e. when you would stop trying?
Yes we did. If I didn’t fall pregnant after our second transfer I would try one more round of IVF with a new donor (that we had already purchased in preparation). If that second round resulted in no embryos then Kirsten would begin her IVF a journey and I would carry one of her embryos. We would both keep transferring until we were able to have a baby.
What have you found the hardest part of having IVF?
Definitely the emotional distress and adverse effects of synthetic hormones. It puts a massive toll on your body, nervous system and on your mental health. There were many nights that we cried and prayed to have our baby. These were the hardest parts.
What have you learned?
Kirsten and I learnt so many different lessons throughout our journey to motherhood it’s hard to share just one. We learnt how to be brave, how to be strong and how to communicate. Though these lessons seem simple, we never knew the depth of what it meant as a newly married couple going through the hardest emotional, mental and financial struggle of our lives. Through all the heartbreak and failures, we learnt that nothing else matters more than family, in whatever capacity it may mean to you. We also learnt to always trust your gut!
What made you share your journey with your followers?
We also learnt that there isn’t that much support out there for same sex couples or any detailed support for those going through fertility treatments. It’s definitely can be a lonely road and a private one (in many cases). Some people don’t feel comfortable to share their issues or struggles so in this niche part of the journey to parent hood we noticed a gap. Our aim is be honest and supportive in any form, to those needing it. To share our experiences, whether the good or bad and provide a place where the unspoken conversations take the stage. We encourage our followers to share their own journeys, lessons, heartaches or success with others so that we can all experience the joy of parenthood without shame or judgement.
Did anything change in your relationship with your partner, friends or family during this process?
Our marriage wasn’t tested but it in-turn showed us a side to ourselves that we hadn’t yet met. It made us fall in love with each other all over again for different reasons and our communication became paramount. Friends were so supportive throughout our journey (even if they didn’t understand the gravity of some situations) and our families were behind us through it all, though we kept most of our pain private. We don’t communicate with some of our immediate family members though this did not affect our process.
What gets you both excited about being new mums?
Thankyou so very much! Everything is exciting! Watching Gigi grow everyday day and showering her with so much love for the rest of her life. We feel so lucky to have her in our lives and be a family. It’s truly a dream come true.
What are you most nervous about?
Gigi getting hurt or sick. We get nervous in situations that she may be vulnerable to others sicknesses or becoming unwell. We sometimes second guess ourselves and of course get nervous with if we are making the right choices, but we are letting our instincts lead us.
Do either of you have a mantra that’s helped you through this journey?
‘What is meant for us will be for us’ and ‘small sacrifice for a lifetime of success’
What would you say to other mums in a similar position?
Don’t wait. If being a mum is a non-negotiable for you, don’t stop until you get there. We have found so many lesbian women feel held back from having children for so many reasons. We are only dealt with what we can handle and although the road is so hard some days, if it’s what you want..your beautiful baby will be waiting for you. Being in a same-sex couple doesn’t mean you have to miss out on being a parent or having a family of your own. Don’t let the minority of people who may not agree with your life, make an impact on your future. There are millions of two mama families out there, living your dream so go out there and live it! Don’t be afraid to reach out for support, we are tired of being quiet!
Follow Kirsten and Kat's journey on instagram...@two.brisbane.mamas