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Stephanie

We’re still fairly early in our baby-making journey but this week we’ve successfully had 13 embryos fertilised using our Xytex donor’s sperm in our first cycle so we’re happy to provide details up to this point!

Tell us a bit more about your background. What do you do for a living? Are you in the U.S.? Overseas? Married?

We are a British female couple in our late twenties based just outside London. We both work in education and are keen adventurers, meeting whilst teaching bushcraft survival skills in the outdoors 5 years ago. We married in the Canadian Rockies in September 2019!

What year did you begin your Xytex search/ pregnancy journey?

We began officially looking into starting a family following the wedding, so in late 2019.

Are you in a heterosexual couple, a same-sex couple, or are you a single mother by choice?

We are a same-sex female couple.

What challenges did you face when trying to become pregnant, if any? How did you handle those challenges?

As a female couple, we chose to use my egg and donor sperm, with me as the carrier or “Bio-Mum”. Although I’m young, fit and healthy with no fertility issues (thankfully), we still only had half the toolbox in order to conceive – we needed the “Bio-Dad” puzzle piece!

In finding out more about egg donation along the way, I also chose to be an egg donor as part of our fertility treatment. What better feeling to be able to give another couple the chance to create a family while we’re creating ours, and we’d also get to see the donor process from both sides!

Who supported you the most during your donor search?

Our family members were definitely key players in supporting us through this journey – I think some of them wanted this long before we even did! As an IVF-conceived baby myself, there’s also something kind of satisfying about coming full circle, and my parents have enjoyed sharing and comparing their experience 28 years ago – if only the cost was the same!

How did you hear about Xytex? How did you go about finding us?

We began our donor search through our fertility centre’s sperm bank in the UK, and after excitedly providing them with our desired characteristics and awaiting news, we were fairly disappointed with the response – just 3 possible candidates, a few short and vague bullet points on each, and some of these only loosely matching our search criteria.

Unfortunately but understandably, the UK works under very strict anonymity laws regarding donors, therefore we were only able to gain limited information on each, and of course no photos. However, this wasn’t just picking the perfect paint colour for our bedroom wall, it was choosing our future children’s DNA, so we didn’t feel we could make such a big decision based on so little.

We then turned to the London sperm bank, which had a few more candidates and a few extra bullet points, but still not enough to fully reassure us that we could make the most informed decision.

We turned to Xytex, which our fertility clinic directed us to, as our final option – reluctantly at first as we knew it would involve more time, more expense, and more unknowns as a provider in the States. But we didn’t look back!

Why did you choose Xytex? What did you like most? 

The amount of choice and level of detail was incredible. This wasn’t just a few bullet points in an email, we had information on EVERYTHING – not just detailed physical characteristics and features, but comprehensive medical histories and testing for multiple genetic conditions, all in a simple, easy to use online system that we could browse independently. And there were even photos of donors at various stages of life, which was amazing!

We also liked that in using a Xytex donor, we were guaranteed a ‘family slot’ with them, meaning that any future children we decided to have could all have the same biological father, an important factor for us.

What was most important to you when choosing a donor? What were you looking for?

As we were using my egg, and my wife wasn’t biologically involved, it was important to us that our donor’s physical characteristics matched hers as closely as possible. This meant that physically, we were ideally looking for Caucasian, blonde, blue eyed, tall and athletic, while also wanting a simple medical history and little or no genetic conditions that could potentially affect our children.

We were also keen that our donor had chosen ‘identity disclosure’, as we want to make sure that the option for our children to find out who their ‘Bio-Dad’ is in the future is always open.

What would you tell others looking for a donor? Any advice?

Take your time and don’t rush it – this is an important decision, so don’t feel like you should just stick with the first one you land on! Also get your family and close friends’ opinion on some of your choices if you want – they’d love to feel included in the process and they can also help to approach aspects that you may not have thought of.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. As a British couple looking at an overseas provider independently of our fertility clinic, it did feel overwhelming at first. There was a lot to understand and take in, so we did end up firing a lot of questions Xytex’s way. The team seemed friendly and responses were quick though, which helped.

Why would you recommend Xytex?

We’d recommend it ultimately for the amount of choices available. It’s so reassuring to have such a high level of detail and so many options to base this important decision on.

Was our website/resources helpful?

The website was very accessible, up to date and easy to use.

After completing your purchase with Xytex, what happened from there?

Unfortunately, when initially purchasing our units, our fertility clinic was then closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Helpfully, Xytex offered 6 months of free storage to allow for our delay, and upon reopening, our clinic then liaised with Xytex to have these units shipped over in time for our new treatment cycle dates beginning in August 2020.

And 3 weeks later, we’re now the proud potential-parents-to-be of 13 successfully fertilised embryos, using our donor through IVF! This means that in just 1 cycle, we potentially have our first child, plus plenty of sibling cycle options secured. We couldn’t be happier at this stage.