baby

What IVF is really like for a lesbian couple.

Debora Gallo, 38, and Nina Ponten, 32, started their journey to have a baby two years ago and they are still waiting for news – on the edge of their seat.

“About four weeks ago my partner, Nina, had an egg collection and then with the donor sperm we selected, they fertilised the egg.  We had quite a number of embryos – which was good news.

“They were frozen and today the three-day-old embryo was reintroduced. Now we have to wait 10 days and do the blood test to see if it worked,” said Ms Gallo.

“We have a one in three chance that it will work,” said Ms Ponten.

The couple admit it has been an emotional roller coaster, after three failed attempts at intrauterine insemination (IUI), the pair were encouraged to give IVF a try.

Deb and Nina have been on their baby journey for two years. Image supplied. 

"I've been up and down. The first time you get really excited then the second time I was a bit more - 'I will see what happens' -  and the third time you get excited again, so now I'm not sure whether to get too excited or just to see how it goes," said Ms Gallo.

The Sydneysiders chose their anonymous donor from a list of about 50 men - and the majority were from the US, with only three or four Australian men to choose from.

"It's a bit like on online dating. You go online and check out the photos, and you check out the bio, and make a list," said Debora.

Over the past two years they have had their heart's set on particular donors and when it hasn't worked, they have to start from scratch and choose a new one.

They initially spent six months going down the path of a known donor but after speaking with a lawyer, they found that option wouldn't suit them. If they'd been better informed about what options they had at the onset, they would have saved so much "time and effort".

The 38-year-old says there is little information geared towards same-sex couples trying for a baby and so much fertility information online that it becomes "daunting".

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This July, volunteer organisation, Rainbow Families, will host a seminar with "comprehensive and expert parenting information" for the LGBTIQ community.

The "Making Rainbow Families" seminar will include information on donor insemination, IVF, fostering, adoption and surrogacy - with expert legal advice.

The seminar will run on 23 July, 2016. Image supplied.

“With so many resources geared towards heterosexual couples, we saw a real need for information specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of our community,” said Vanessa Gonzales from Rainbow Families.

Debora and Nina say the seminar may have helped them discover the legal complications of a known donor earlier.

"We just didn't realise how difficult it is legally if you want to have a known donor and you want to have a relationship with them...it just gets so complicated," said Debora.

So the pair decided to pick an anonymous donor that allows contact when the child turns 18 - and then their child can decide if they want to establish a relationship with them.

After two years of trying, the couple have been told their current IVF treatment has a higher chance of a successful pregnancy than their attempts with IUI.

"What I've learned is that you have to be so incredibly patient - which is not something that comes very natural to me, " says Ms Ponten.

"You're waiting from scan to blood test and waiting again for another scan, so it's a very time consuming and intense road even if you not actively doing something you're still always thinking about it."

The Sydney couple are have another anxious and exciting ten day wait ahead of them.

The pregnancy questions you were too afraid to ask. 

The Making Rainbow Families seminar is on Saturday 23 July, 2016  - for information and bookings see here.

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