I decided to use a sperm donor

Our newest blogger, Henriette Cranil, is a psychologist and mother of two 7 year-old twins conceived with help from a sperm donor. As a psychologist, Henriette has made it one of her specialities to advise singles and couples in having children with a sperm donor. She helps find solutions to the many questions and dilemmas that rise when they consider conceiving with the help from a donor. 

This is Henriette’s story.

WHEN I was in my early 30’s I began to imagine how it would be to become a mother. The pictures in my head became more and more defined and I started to see images of myself as a mother. I also began to stop and look at children’s clothes and teddy bears. I knew a lesbian couple who were pregnant at the time with help from a sperm donor. They were flying on cloud nine, completely consumed with bliss and happiness. To me it was amazing to witness, and I was wildly inspired.

During that time, I was single, happy and in a really good place in my career as a psychologist. Summer came, I was 34 years old and I asked myself what I was really waiting for in regards to becoming a mother? The answer was, of course, a boyfriend in a “the love of my life”-way but that kind of love doesn’t necessarily appear exactly when you want it. Therefore, I decided to change the order and instead become a mother on my own and subsequently bet on – hopefully sometime – meeting a lovely boyfriend.

Becoming pregnant, becoming a mother

From here on things moved quickly and a few months later I was pregnant. When I reached 5-6 weeks of pregnancy, I went to have the first scan at the Hospital. This was the moment I got one of my life’s greatest and best surprises: there were two beating hearts. I was expecting twins! Today I am the mother of a boy and a girl of 7½ years. 7½ intense, wild, enriching, changing, different, fun, loving and sometimes exhausting, years.

The decision to become a mother on my own was easy for me, but I also went through a lot of considerations during the process. Should I choose an anonymous or open donor? What if it turns out I cannot get pregnant? What is it like growing up without a father? How will the outside world react? How do you talk to the children about it? How do we get by every day? How would it be for a future boyfriend to be involved in this little family?

Let’s share knowledge

I will regularly be discussing questions like these and many others on the blog. Today, I have made it one of my specialties as a psychologist to advise singles and couples in becoming parents through a donor – throughout the journey from the reflection phase to the many phases of questions and dilemmas you meet as parents.

I look forward to sharing thoughts, questions and suggestions for answers and hopefully inspire you to lots of courage, ideas and good decisions!

Single moms: ‘Sod it, I’m going to have a baby on my own.’

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We’ve heard stories from Mika and Catherine. Now Vanessa Gray shares her story about being a single mom with a donor baby.

Vanessa Gray had an artificial insemination and gave birth to her son Theo at age 42.

She had been single for a long time. She wanted a husband and children, but after turning 40, she realized that meeting someone in order to have a child wasn’t necessary: “I’d been single for five years. I had kind of given up on meeting anyone. I just decided, ‘Sod it, I’m going to have a baby on my own.’”


How did you choose the donor?
In Vanessa’s case, she was only provided with very little information about the donors by the fertility clinic and found it very difficult to choose the right sperm donor. She only had physical features and personality descriptions to go on. Luckily, now there are a lot more options to choose from at the sperm bank.
Vanessa eventually picked a donor and got started. The insemination process was an amazing and very fast experience for her. She contacted the clinic in April, took hormone injections in June and was inseminated in July. And she conceived on the first try. 
 
Being a single mom
When the baby finally came, she realized that she had been in a bit of denial. Having a baby was much scarier, much harder and much more tiring than she’d expected. She had worked almost all the way up to the birth, and for the first five months, she moved in with her mother. “My mother’s help made all the difference: she made sure I was eating and resting and that Theo’s clothes were laundered. 
In general, Vanessa doesn’t rely on others for help or do things outside her limit. Now, she finds herself challenged with balancing her everyday life and being a mother, but when she’s forced to prioritize between doing the dishes and playing with her son, as she says “Theo wins hands down”.
Vanessa hasn’t dated for a long time, but she would like to meet someone and have a relationship. She doesn’t really consider Theo not having a father as an issue: “At some point, I know Theo will ask me about why he doesn’t have a Daddy, but as there has never been a predominant male in his life I think he will be OK with it”, she says.
Her family, friends and co-workers have all been very supportive. Some have had some considerations about her starting a “non-conventional family”, which wasn’t really something she’d planned to have. But she is happy with her choice, and even though she doesn’t go out as much with her friends as before, she is very content: “I prefer to go out with Theo”, she replies.
Vanessa stresses that if you’re thinking about conceiving via a donor, you should just do it: “I did it at the right time for me and I have absolutely no regrets. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do and you don’t find that out until you’re doing it!”
Source: Stylist.co.uk

Facts about insemination with the help of a sperm donor:
What does the process involve?
What is IUI and ICI?
How much does it cost?
How does sperm donation work?

Want more? Read more stories from other women

//posted by Michael, Communications Specialist at European Sperm Bank

Single Moms: “The donor will be spoken about”

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In the last part of the Single Moms article, single mom Mika shared her story of having children on her own.
Today, single mom Catherine explains how she deals with having to wonderful donor children. 

Catherine found out that she had limited eggs and because her relationships were not working out, she decided to go it alone. 

After running some blood tests, Catherine Gaywood (37) found out that she only had a limited amount of eggs left. Time was short and after realizing that the expected “happy ever after” was not going to happen anytime soon, she decided to give IVF treatment a single try…


She didn’t what to look back and regret not trying, but if she wouldn’t get pregnant, she would get on with her life.
Through a private fertility clinic, she came in touch with the sperm bank. They were very supportive and helpful and made all the arrangement with the clinic.

How to choose a sperm donor?
“To choose a sperm donor is like internet dating…”, Catherine says. “You can filter results by employment status, education attainment, height, hair colour, eye colour, body type and so on.” Eventually, she did find a suitable sperm donor and after just one treatment, Catherine was pregnant with twin girls.

Being a single mom
As many single mothers, being alone with the full parental responsibility, especially with two babies, was hard work. ”I am jealous of other mums,  as they seem to have more time to spend just enjoying their child, whereas I always seem to be fulfilling some task and I never have time to myself”, Catherine explains. Luckily, her parents were and are a great help and daily support to her, so things work out beautifully.

Before having the twins, Catherine would tend to rush her romantic relationships because she wanted to get to the family-part as soon as possible. This resulted in pushing way the guy and starting over. But now that she has her family of three, she has a bright look on her future love life: “Going forward, my hope is that when I meet someone new, I will be able to appreciate that person in their own right rather than assessing them on what they can offer”, Catherine concludes.

When she first revealed her plans to her parents, they were shocked and worried if she were capable of taking care of a child on her own. It did not take long, however, before her mum and dad were painting the nursery and looking forward to be grandparents.

“The donor will be spoken about”
Catherine was never concerned that the girls would not have a father. “I actually feel that my choice is healthy, and one I can hold my head up and be proud of”, she says. “As a role model for them, I have not settled or compromised and the environment that I will bring them up will hopefully remain stable. I have been very open about the fact I used donor sperm. I will make sure the girls are aware of this right from the start –  “the donor” will be spoken about.”

Even though some friends have fallen out of touch, because they did not comprehend Catherine’s decision, she has a strong, supportive network of friends, which to her is vital for a single parent: “Accept all offers of help and support and make sure you have a support network for every step of the way”, Catherine ends.

Source: Stylist.co.uk

Facts about insemination with the help of a sperm donor:
What does the process involve?
What is IUI and ICI?
How much does it cost?
How does sperm donation work?

Want more? Read more stories from other women

//posted by Michael, Communications Specialist at European Sperm Bank

Single moms: “The more I found out about it, the righter it felt.”

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Many women decide to have children on their own. When Mika Bishop’s relationship ended, she decided to have a baby with the help from a sperm donor.

​Mika Bishop (41) contacted a fertility clinic and participated in seminars about donor conception. “Throughout the process, I was realistic and prepared for it not working, but I knew I had to at least try, otherwise I would regret it”, she says.


How to choose the sperm donor?
For her, it was important to choose an open donor, so her children would someday have the option to meet their biological father. Browsing through the sperm bank’s catalogue of sperm donors, she found a donor, who had said in his handwritten note that he would love to meet the person, he would help create.

Mika was inseminated with donor sperm from the sperm bank at a fertility clinic in the UK. It took three tries and 18 months from the time, she started out until she became pregnant with twin boys.

​Being a single parent is hard work
Having twins was tough in the beginning, and Mika sometimes whished that she’d had a partner to share the work with. But she took things day by day and focused on the wonderful babies she was blessed with, and soon she got on top of the situation.
And as for the fact that the boys are conceived with the help of a sperm donor, Mika explains: “I will normalise my boys’ beginnings and our family set-up from as early as possible. I will explain my decision to have a donor conception when they are ready”.

‘She has been open to her family and friends, and everyone is supportive of her decision to be a single mom. Surprisingly, many of her friends and peers know someone who has done the same.
Source: Stylist.co.uk

Facts about insemination with the help of a sperm donor:
What does the process involve?
What is IUI and ICI?
How much does it cost?
How does sperm donation work?

Want more? Read more stories from other women

//posted by Michael, Communications Specialist at European Sperm Bank

Home Insemination – is it for you?

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It is widely accepted that the best way to become pregnant through artificial insemination with donor sperm, is at a fertility clinic. If you don’t know which clinic to contact, send us an email and we will provide you with a list of fertility clinics in your country.

However, many women prefer to become pregnant in the comfort of their own home through Home Insemination.

But how does Home Insemination work? 


How it works 
Home Insemination gives you the flexibility to have the insemination where you would like it.

On the European Sperm Bank website, you choose an available donor in our donor search and book a delivery to your address. We ship worldwide.

Before you buy the donor sperm, we recommend that you consult with a health care professional; a doctor, a nurse or an obstetrician, because we need an approval before we ship the donor sperm to you. We can help you to come in contact with a health care professional in your country, so feel free to contact us.  

The donor sperm is then sent to you along with a home insemination kit and through instructions on how to handle the sperm and how to inseminate yourself. The tank, which holds the straws containing the sperm, can keep the sperm fresh for up two weeks from the day, you recieve it. This gives you to flexibility to perform the insemination at the best possible time considering your day of ovulation. You can download the guide here in English or German.

When and how?
Your Home Insemination must be performed on the day of ovulation.
Your ovulation comes every month approximately in the middle of your menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle is the period from the first day of your menstrual cycle to the first day of the next menstrual cycle – which means that ovulation normally takes place about 14 days before the first day of your next menstrual cycle. It is easy to find your day of ovulation with an ovulation test, which you can purchase online or at the pharmacy.
Take a test morning and evening, and perform the home insemination the day after your first positive test.

Keep this in mind
It may take several attempts before you succeed in becoming pregnant. A gynecologist or your own doctor can help you with information and insights on fertility, risks, studies and methods.
The success rate for achieving a pregnancy can vary regardless of which method you choose. Many factors may affect your fertility and pregnancy

We do our best to advise and support those of you who wish to do a Home Insemination. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us or read more about Home Insemination

//posted by Lilian, Nurse and Donor Coordinator at European Sperm Bank

A visit from Ladies Circle

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In September, European Sperm Bank had a visit from Ladies Circle at our department in Aarhus. We asked Martha Rasch, one of these ladies, to write a few words on how it was to visit a sperm bank (with absolutely no background knowledge). 

Ladies Circle is an international, independent social networking organisation for young women aged between 18 and 45, founded in 1932. They aim to promote friendship through social contact at local, national and international level and to be of service to the community.


​A main activity of Ladies Circle is to visit and explore companies and when they contacted us for a company presentation, we gladly opened our doors. ​This is how Martha Rasch of Ladies Circle describes her visit:

”On a Wednesday after opening hours, we at Ladies Circle visited European Sperm Bank in Aarhus. Three employees from the bank gave us a company presentation with main focus on how to choose a sperm donor. They also provided us with a little guided tour in the lab, so we could have a look at what it is all about: The sperm cells! 

After the presentation, we talked about all the issues concerning fertility treatment, and what impressed us the most, was that this company sincerely consider and reflect on both morally and ethically issues concerning donor sperm. I got the impression that this certainly is no normal day-to-day job. This is a company with employees, who are indescribable driven and passionate about what they do, and their moral and ethical values go above all. 

For outsiders as we are, it can be very difficult to understand the procedures and the legislation when it comes to handling and distributing donor sperm. Even though European Sperm Bank easily could use more donors because of the high demand, the company will never compromise on quality of the sperm or the fysical and mental health of their donors. Beside the physical requirements, each potential donor has to go through numerous examinations and screenings before he is  approved by the doctors. 

We got the impression that European Sperm Bank have chosen no easy or cheap way to handle all this.
They spend a lot of time and resources to make sure everything is handled in the most proper way and to make sure the quality standards are the highest. I would actually go as far as to say that European Sperm Bank know more about their donors than most women know about their men!” 

//by Martha Rasch, assistant attorney, on behalf of Ladies Circle.  

From Chemotherapy to Baby Joy

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Lise is a client at European Sperm Bank. Her decision to use a sperm donor was caused by tragic incidents in her personal life. These are her words.

As husband and wife, it was natural for us to have children. Our first daughter was born in 2010 and soon after, we started trying for our second baby.

This was immediately put on a hold when my husband was diagnosed with both testicular cancer and pelvic cancer. It felt like the sky had fallen down on us.


My husband started treatment – they removed one of his testicles, and he received chemotherapy. Our doctors were very optimistic and had no doubt my husband would survive, and that we would have no problems making a baby with just the one testicle.
 
We tried for a long time but nothing happened. We went back the doctors, who referred us to a fertility clinic, where they began a number of tests on my husband.
 
The results were clear and devastating: There were no surviving sperm cells. Not even a single sperm to make an ICSI. I cannot explain how devastating this was to hear. We were marked infertile and sterile, and the pain of knowing that we could not have any more children was close to unbearable. Months passed and the pain just got worse.
 
In the end, I decided to contact European Sperm Bank – just to have a chat. I must admit that even thinking about using another man’s sperm seemed wrong. – The chat changed that.
 
I began to feel that we actually did have some options, and I introduced the idea of using a sperm donor to my husband. Let’s just say he didn’t jump through the roof with excitement.

Again, time passed and one day I said to my husband “I’m going to do this. I’m going to use a donor.” I chose a sperm donor that came close to looking like my husband, but after several inseminations, nothing happened.
In the meantime, European Sperm Bank had found a new sperm donor, who looked even more like my husband – I decided to change sperm donor and the clinic recommend IVF.

​FINALLY, I was pregnant!
 
It was a tough pregnancy. My husband was sceptical, maybe even distant to the pregnancy. I had to be incredible strong and convinced that when the baby would eventually come, he would fall in love with her.
And he did! Our second child, our baby girl was born in November 2015. We absolutely adore her! There is no doubt we would repeat the process again!

/​/posted by Stinne, Client Service Manager at European Sperm Bank (on behalf of Lise)