Neither Leah or Tahleah ever thought they’d be able to create a family on their own terms; to choose the how, when or even the where of it all.
As a same-sex couple, even the possibility of conceiving in their own home, with any sense of intimacy, seemed “out of reach”. Tahleah presumed it would all happen in a doctor’s surgery, with a gown and a set of stirrups – clinical, sterile.
“[But] It didn’t sit right with us, when medically there was nothing wrong,” the 30-year-old Navy employee told Mamamia. “We didn’t need that service; it’s just that, biologically, we didn’t have all the things we need to make a baby.”
And so, like a growing number of Australian women, the Sydney couple turned to the internet and pharmacy shelves to create their family. And it worked. Their first child is due in April.
“It took three seconds for the positive sign to come up,” Tahleah said. “I just jumped on Leah in bed. It was pretty exciting.”
To create a biological child as a single woman or female same-sex couple is far from simple, and that’s not counting the challenges associated with finding and securing a donor.
Take IUI (intrauterine insemination), for example. This is essentially the clinical version of artificial insemination, which involves inserting semen (that been tested, washed and concentrated) through the cervix and into the uterus. For female couples with no fertility issues, there is no Medicare rebate available for this service, meaning the first cycle will cost around $4500, and $2500 for each one thereafter. The chance for first-cycle conception with a mother aged 30-34 is roughly 11 per cent.
IVF is another popular, though more medically invasive option. Recent Australian research indicated chances of a live birth resulting from the first round hover at 43.4 per cent for 30-34-year-old mother. But again, out-of-pocket costs will sit at around $4500 for that cycle.
Heterosexual intercourse with a donor, meanwhile, generally has a success rate of around 20 per cent for a 30-year-old. However, it presents significant legal hurdles. If sex has taken place, the man assumes legal parentage over the resulting child, in place of the birth mother’s de-facto partner.
This leaves at-home insemination.