Thursday, 23 April 2015

Love not blood

We have seen reports in the media recently that advances in medical science mean we are within spitting distance of two people, regardless of gender, being able to create an embryo together. The very difficult technique involves pushing together two cells from anywhere in the body, and then helping those cells to reject half of the genetic material, and joining up with half from the other person (you know, because sperm and egg cells only have half the genetic material to begin with, so hence why they are able to join with another cell to create a complete set of chromosomes…) OK I'll stop talking science! Anyway, this means that in theory any two men, two women, or indeed straight couples of whom one is infertile and has no 'sex' cells of their own, could have a biological baby together. Now I'm sure there are many people for whom this news has left them jumping up and down in joy and holding their breath in anticipation that they might be one of those couples who gets to share the biology of their child equally. We are not one of those couples. Why? Because to us, biology matters about as much as whether our future child will like cheese, i.e. not at all.

If biology mattered to us, we probably wouldn't be happy to use donated sperm to create our baby, from someone who all we know of them is what is written in his 'profile'. If biology mattered to us, we probably wouldn't be willing to donate half of Lauren's eggs to an anonymous couple who need a few eggs to create their family. We feel we have as much 'tie' to them as to those people who receive the blood that we happily go and donate every couple of months.

My wife will hopefully be pregnant with our child in the not too distant future, and, like is the case with many other lesbian couples, I won't have a biological link to that baby. We originally looked in to the option of partner to partner egg sharing, but for us the focus wasn't on us both having a biological 'link' to that child, as even then Lauren, as the carrier, would have just been a host womb to my growing embryo. For us partner to partner egg share seemed like an option we wanted to explore as it is well known that IVF is a long and often difficult process, mentally and physically, and it would have meant that we could have shared it equally. This isn't an option for us, due to my fertility problems, but it's interesting that of the other lesbian couples we know, none of them have chosen to egg share from one partner to another, because biology just didn't matter to them, either.
Of the lesbian couples with children we know 'in real life', we never remember that the child/ren have a bio link to only one of them, often subconsciously noticing a mannerism or characteristic the child shares with the non-bio parent.

Actually what matters in creating a family is love, not blood. Love make you get up at to a child who is having a nightmare at half 3 in the morning, and cuddle them until they fall back to sleep. Love makes you smile through gritted teeth when your gorgeous 20 month old has just thrown up all over the car (we can thank Lauren's cousin for that wonderful story, it happened yesterday!). Love makes your child's face light up when you enter the room, and makes them proud to declare to their friends at school "this is my Dad / Mum / Mama / Papa".

As a shining example of how biology can play no part at all in the creation of a family, we were invited last week to the adoption ceremony of E, our baby niece. E came in to our lives in September, after Lauren's cousin and her boyfriend had been through the very rigorous and difficult process known as adoption. After meeting after meeting with social workers, classes, home work, proof they could afford a child, their house was big enough and even that their cat was friendly enough, a 13 month old E was placed with them on the 24th September. And last Friday marked the day she 'officially' became theirs. We had to attend a court, and the judge spoke of how E will grow up knowing just how much she was always wanted, and what a very special little girl she is to have such a wonderful family to call her own. Her words had all of us in tears, and after she was handed a certificate of adoption and a great big teddy bear to mark the occasion, we all went out for a lovely breakfast to celebrate the official day that she became their daughter. It feels like E has always been part of our family, and is so very loved by all of us, not least of course by her incredibly proud Mummy and Daddy. Seeing the love and happiness that E has brought to them has even made us consider the possibility of adoption for our second child (Lauren loves the idea of pregnancy but you never know, the first one might put her off :p).

Furthermore, one of my best friends got married last week, to a man she has been with since her boy was small, but who isn't his biological 'Dad'. Their marriage was a very special day for them all, as not only did it signify that the two of them became husband and wife, with all the happiness and permanence that that brings, but it also meant that officially, her new husband becomes her little boy's Step-Dad. Although H already calls him Dad, and they are every bit father and son in everything from looks, to mannerisms, to phrases they use, their marriage now means that the law sees them in the same capacity as everyone else does, as a family; Mum, Dad and Son.

I think it is the little things that we are both looking forward to; the first time a stranger remarks to me "wow, doesn't he look like you" or "gosh she gets that from you doesn't she"- and we will smile inwardly at ourselves at the proof that biology really does not matter. And if love makes a family then we already have tons of that, our baby is already so loved, so wanted and dreamt of. 
We got the call yesterday that we have been waiting for for a while; the clinic rang to say we have been matched to an egg recipient, and we are ready to start treatment on the first day of my next cycle. The protocol and drug schedule has been sent out to us in the post, and on the first day of my next period we ring up, and start the drugs. Argh! So exciting!

5 comments:

  1. Congratulations on being matched :) So close now, right!? We're also waiting for day one (about another 3 weeks) to start the jabbing.

    Everyone has different thoughts and feelings on the process of becoming a parent and what's important. We've chosen to do it the way we have (p2p egg sharing) because to us it seems like the most perfect way for the two of us to have as equal input and part in the making of the baby as we can. I can't wait to feel Becs baby stretching my belly!! It's not because it will make either one of us feel more like a parent when the baby comes (the late nights, the puking, the love and smiles make all that happen) but because we want to both play an active role in making the baby. Not to say that any other way means either parent will be less involved, it's a personalised choice - the hand holding and support, even the decision to start a family together means you're both in it together and equally - I guess we just pick and choose the roles/jobs in the whole process to suit ourselves!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We didn't get to pick and choose, like a lot of other couples, we didn't have a choice in the matter due to Sarah's fertility problems.
      It would have been 'nice' to share the fertility treatment but as far as we see it, that's all we would be gaining from p2p - shared discomfort from treatment lol. It'll still be Sarah's baby in Lauren's tummy just as much as its Lauren's, it's just lovely that we've noticed from other couples lately (gay and straight) how little biology matters, which is reassuring from the sperm donor angle too :)

      Delete
  2. So excited for you both! I can definitely attest that love makes a family. I know with every fiber of my being that my daughter was meant for me and that she is mine (and yet we share no DNA). Good luck! Can't wait to hear more! - Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  3. Really interesting blog post and I do agree with you. I think love makes a parent not biology. It's something I've given a lot of thought about over the years. Great blog post and Good luck! x

    ReplyDelete
  4. My wife has been reading me your blog. We have been very immersed in your story.

    "Actually what maters in creating a family is love, not blood." I am very touched. (:

    We have just recently started our own blog and are learning to navigate BlogSpot. Check us out if you'd like.
    lezgomakebabies.blogspot.com

    We are sending you all the good vibes we can muster and lots and lots of baby dust.
    The best to both of you.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for commenting, we love hearing others experiences, or just if you liked the post!