Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Went to see counsellor last week

Wow I can't believe almost three weeks have gone by without my posting on here. I do have news to report. Last Thursday I went to see the counsellor recommended by my clinic, ACU. She was a temporary one as their regular one was on holiday. She was very emphatic that she was an independent counsellor rather than one pushing the clinic's point of view. I was nervous as I was expecting someone to be confrontational (in a way meant to challenge me and think about my answers) and play devils advocate - I imagined someone wagging their finger at me and saying "DON'T YOU THINK YOUR CHILD DESERVES A FATHER!?" but she could not have been anything less like that.

I have been thinking this through for a while now so I don't think there was anything major I had not thought of. However there was some food for thought:
  • In choosing my clinic, I just Googled the phrase I thought appropriate, and chose the clinic I thought sounded most reputable. I did not know there was a government-issued guidebook to fertility clinics. I have ordered my free one from the HFEA here. I should look up the live birth rates (not pregnancy rates as they are not indicative) and compare the clinics. Seems like there are more of them than I thought.
  • National Infertility Day looks like a useful day to go on (although hopefully - I am not infertile!)
  • I am really quite foggy about the tests the clinic are going to do on me after I have done the blood tests at my GP. I did expect to receive some literature on this when I visited the clinic for my initial consultation, but was not given anything that I had not already received in the post. I know its something like checking my tubes are not blocked, and maybe xraying my uterus, but that's about it. I should call up the clinic and ask for further explanations.
  • Going to a sperm bank in the US should not be an option as they don't have donor anonymity laws - my child would never be able to find out the identity of their father, if they chose to. I must admit I had not thought this option through this far.
I seemed to have passed the "test", if there was one. I do wonder if clinics check customers backgrounds at all. I mean - I'm sure I give the impression that I'm a normal and stable person, and I say that I'm a home-owner, with a supportive family. But how do they know that? How do they know that I'm not some fantasist living in some shared rented house with a family who has no idea what I'm up to? I think they should somehow check these things out before agreeing to giving me treatment.

Other news - Emily at the Donor Conception Network has been sending me a lot of useful-looking links and info. I have been a bit slack recently and haven't looked at them all properly.

My Dad said at the weekend about a childhood friend (and exact contemporary) of mine that her father (who he knows) is looking forward to becoming a grandfather for the first time - "after all this time". Not sure if he realised he said that - I did not react.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Donor Conception Network

Not much news to report here yet. Next step is for me to contact my GP and organise these tests, or call up the clinic's counsellor and arrange counselling. I don't feel as there is any great rush, especially as I need some time to get used to the idea of donor insemination, and read up about it.

I joined the Donor Conception Network last week, they have sent me some useful info in the post to chew over, and apparently their single parent co-ordinator will get in touch with me shortly. That will be very interesting to talk with women who have already done this.

A friend of mine has a gay friend who would like children; she is arranging for me to meet up with him to talk about it. As I've said, I'm not convinced about the idea at all anymore, but I am open to the idea of discussing it with someone else who is interested.

I am also thinking about returning to university and doing a MA at the moment. If, when I have more information about how fertile I am or not, it turns out that I have a plentiful supply of eggs/ good few years left in me yet, I might apply for 2009 entry. If I had better hurry up, I will put that on hold until an appropriate time later on.

Must be nice to be a man! Can have kids whenever you feel like it without all this planning! Lucky bastards.....

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Have been to fertility clinic for consultation about donor insemination

So yesterday I went to my consultation at a fertility clinic. I tried to choose the most well-known and reputable one I could - ACU.
As a result it was very geared up towards ordinary couples, apparently they don't get many single women, and certainly not many my age. There is another clinic in London which seems to aimed at more lesbian and single women, but I did not find out about this until after I had made my appointment - LWC.
Anyway, they were friendly and helpful, and as expected I was asked questions like:
"Does the child not need a father in its life?" My answer - "Yes, in ideal circumstances. Having a child by myself is not my ideal circumstance. But in my opinion no father is preferable to an abusive or chronically alcoholic one." (Which is what my child would have gotten had I had children in previous relationships).
And "What if a future relationship changes things?" My answer - "I don't see my situation as any different from someone who had had a child in a relationship which had broken down, and then started dating again. If anything, I am at an advantage compared with that - as there will be no ex-partner interfering (in this future possible relationship).

I must have passed the test as they have sent their bumph off to my GP to arrange for me to have various tests (the usual gamut of STD and blood tests - also hormone tests - not sure what they are yet). I also have to have counselling with their recommend counsellor - that will be interesting. Then I will have to go and have my uterus etc x-rayed and check all is in working order before going on a waiting list for the sperm. My procedure will be very straightforward, it won't be IVF or anything complex like that.

At the moment I am thinking about using UK sperm, there will be a six month waiting list for my requirements (brown eyed, brown hair, average height). But that is fine as I am not planning of having the kid in the next few months. They can import sperm from the US with a much shorter waiting list but of course that is expensive, and as I said I am in no terrible rush.

I have given up on the idea of coparenting with a gay guy. I think I could only accept black or white, not a grey area; i.e. I would like a child within a marriage with full legal recourse should things go wrong OR a child by myself.
I was also thinking of asking a friend who I have known for twelve years if he would be a known donor for me as he fulfils all the criteria I would like (physical attributes, intelligent, a nice person), but have decided against that as I think, knowing him as I do, that he would probably want to get involved in the child's life after it was born, even if we had previously agreed that he would not. And before you ask - why aren't I dating this guy - we have very different lives, and it would not work (or short answer - he is skint).

Going to start reading up on donor conception and its consequences now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A big step

I have just taken a really big step - for me. I was thinking about all this yesterday evening, and realised I have come to a bit of a standstill. I've started researching properly, and came to the conclusion that finding a gay guy to coparent with may be the way forward. I found someone, who although is very nice and interesting, is not at all reliable, so I can dismiss him. Now it's time to try something else.

I actually have no idea how much it may cost receiving donor insemination at a fertility clinic, so I don't know whether it is an option or not. I was thinking that it would be great if I could go to California for a couple of months (I have somewhere in LA to stay for free) and have it done there, as their laws seem to be more relaxed. But;
1) It is going to be a massive headfcuk for me going to CA for fertility treatment, knowing that K is in the same state, potentially going to places where we used to go together - also would be stupendously ironic
2) I should at least thoroughly research doing this in the UK before trying this

So I have just called up the "Assisted Conception Unit" at one of the university hospitals in London and got an appointment. I told a teensy fib and said I was a single lesbian. The way I figure it, they cannot refuse to treat lesbians, because surely that would be discrimination. I am so paranoid that if I say I am single and hetero (and also, still only 30), they are just going to laugh in my face and tell me to bugger off and find a husband like any other normal person. Anyway the receptionist I spoke to treated me like it was a matter of course, and I have an appointment next week.

I guess I had better tell my parents about this now at the weekend. They do know I am thinking about it, but don't know that I am actually close-ish to doing this. It will also affect them as I am going to need their assistance with childcare. (Another reason for doing this soon - both parents are kind of fit and able-bodied and not too ancient as yet).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Why not just have a one-night stand?

A couple of female friends who I have discussed all this recently have asked me why I don't just have a one-night stand - by far the easiest option. I can then even choose someone with the right physical attributes. (I would prefer, if the father is going to be absent from the child's life, that he is at least brown haired and brown eyed, so I don't have a baby which doesn't even look like me).

Yes it would be a very easy option! I could even go out and do this tonight, and have a baby in nine months time.
1. I don't want a nice dose of HIV.
2. In my opinion anyone who ejaculates without a condom on, into a complete stranger is Stoopid. I don't want Stoopid genes in my kid, if I have any choice in the matter (don't want to sound like a fascist, sorry).

I may go to my "getting to know" guy's birthday party tonight. We still have not met up again and I think he's a dead duck (if he is going to be completely flaky, I may as well just take my chances with a completely flaky straight guy I am having a relationship with. The whole point of this exercise is to find someone reliable and dependable to have a child with), BUT his party sounds like a whole heap of fun, and I guess I still hope he may turn out to be reliable after all, as he is pretty cool.

I found another American website with loads of useful info here - Choice Moms.
I am still working my way through all the info and links on here, also love the blog written by the woman who runs the website.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Getting to know" process

Well, just after Christmas, I started exchanging emails with a gay guy who is also interested in having a child. I found him on a website where you can place/ read ads for people interested in finding sperm donors, or known donors, or possible co-parents.

We both have quite a few things in common - we are less than a year apart in age, live about 15 miles apart, have both lived overseas for several years, are both doing well financially. He is also quite hot and I'm sure if he was straight some canny female would have snapped him up years ago. He also feels strongly that he would like to be a parent, and has actively been seeking a woman/ female couple to have a child with for a few years now.

All seems promising so far! We have met just once so far - it would be preferable to meet up more regularly and get to know eachother more quickly. We both agree that it would be ideal to spend around a year "getting to know" eachother before making any plans. But this process is not going well so far as he always seems to be having some kind of minor crisis so we don't end up meeting.

If he was a straight guy I was dating I would immediately apply the rules contained within "He's just not that into you" (my dating bible) and stop contacting him; but as that is not the case, I guess I should give him the benefit of the doubt. Having said that, someone who is always having minor crises in their life (however genuine those crises may be) may not be a good potential father candidate for my child.

A friend who reads this blog suggested to me that I should at least investigate having my eggs harvested so I can have fertility treatment later on, when I do find Mr Right. That sounds pretty expensive to me (not to mention that I would like the child in the next year or two, not in ten years or more time), but I think I will at least try to find out a ball-park figure so I can decide whether that is a possible option or not too.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Finding loads of new info

I am finding that if I look on lesbian websites, there are a lot of resources available for having children without a guy. I did not realise quite how much there is out there - as they are not websites I'd normally look at. This looks like an excellent forum for UK people, and it seems they even hold regular get-togethers, which would be very interesting. Only thing is - I would be a little paranoid about encroaching on their space. On the other hand I may be welcome - after all we are all in the same boat. There is only one way to find out!