By KRISTINE TAYLOR
It is the story of an improbable modern family – a back-to-front love affair where a woman seeks out and falls in love with an anonymous sperm donor who fathered her baby daughter.
Aminah Hart, Scott Andersen and daughter Leila. (Image from Australian Story)
In 2011, Aminah Hart was 42 and single and had lost two young sons to a rare genetic disorder that she eventually learned was passed on via a defective gene she carried.
Legislative changes passed in Victoria the previous year had opened up access to IVF for single women, giving Ms Hart one last chance of becoming a mother to a healthy baby.
“It takes the romance out of it a bit, doesn’t it, when you decide to take on donor sperm to try and have a baby,” Ms Hart said.
“It wasn’t going to be picture postcard, being single, but I was raised by an amazing single mother and she taught me that I could do it.”
Ms Hart was provided the details of three anonymous donors – just “three bits of paper” on each – detailing vital statistics, physical qualities, medical history and hobbies.
“And that’s kind of it,” Ms Hart said. “You’re making a choice on who the father might be.”
As she says in tonight’s episode of Australian Story, one of them stood out.
His name was Scott. He was a cattle breeder who coached AFL football. He was a father of four. And he described himself as “happy and healthy”.
“I thought happy and healthy – they’re two things that just have eluded me, and so I locked it in [and] booked a date for the clinic,” Ms Hart said.
‘Why wouldn’t you help someone?’
Scott Andersen first donated sperm in 2006, following an anonymous request that he initially dismissed as a joke.
“And then I thought [that] people give blood and all that. Why wouldn’t you help someone?” he said.
With demand far outweighing supply, Mr Andersen then agreed to the IVF clinic using his donation to assist other conceptions.
Ms Hart had given birth to two children before she attempted IVF using donated sperm.
Her first son, Marlon, was born “floppy” in 2005 and, despite a series of tests, there was never a diagnosis. He died at 14 weeks.
When Louis was born in 2008 “blue and floppy”, Ms Hart knew it had happened again and that it was something she had passed on to her sons, as they had different fathers.