It’s kind of strange to post extremely personal stories online for strangers to read.

While Nele’s done most of the writing for this blog, it’s been me (Jo) that’s been posting on social media. I have to admit that I completely failed at Twitter – it felt a bit too much like shouting into the void. But I have gotten completely addicted to Instagram.

The difference is the amount of positivity and love that people seem to freely share on Instagram. Posting that first picture and seeing the support from total strangers was amazing. By using tags I was able to find people going through similar situations to us. We’ve seen heartbreak and success stories and been amazed at the warmth and compassion of the Instagram community.

It’s been two and a half months since we started our Instagram account and I feel pretty damned lucky that so many people have chosen to follow along on our adventure. I’m an introvert by nature but one thing that Instagram has taught me is that reaching out to people can be a good thing. We’ve been able to share our experiences with others, get answers to burning questions and now collaborate with an amazing small business that is really deserving of support.

To celebrate crossing 1K followers we teamed up with the awesome ladies of The Happiness Troupe. Karen and Nienke are based in the Netherlands, and they make LGBTQ art with a twist. We loved their designs as soon as we saw them, and we’re so excited that we’re getting the chance to work with them!

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Jo and I sit side by side on a small twin bed in a London university dorm and listen to the familiar Skype tune starting up.

We’re in uni halls because they’re cheap accommodation in London in summer, and considering our Bourn Hall clinic visit has already cost us so much, we’re travelling low-budget here.

It’s early in the morning, and neither of us is particularly in the mood for this. But there’s not a lot of choice, if we want to use a sperm donor in a UK clinic, then we need therapy. Or well, an hour through Skype will do the trick apparently.

Jo clicks the little icon, we connect to the Skype chat, and there is the face of the therapist.

“Hi!” We both smile and pretend to be enthusiastic for yet another round of proving ourselves.

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We’re on the train, slowly moving out of London.

The more green I see speeding past the train window, the more nervous I get. Historically I do not do well with hospitals. Or with small towns. Or with quaint little railway stations like this one.

All of this is pushing a multitude of buttons for me, and I try not to judge even before we walk into the clinic, but it’s difficult not to. I’m still wary after our previous hospital visit in Belgium, and while I am eager to note any differences being in a private clinic the UK will make, I don’t feel overly confident.

But we make it there.

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In my research of London clinics and their treatments, I run into ‘egg sharing IVF’. It’s a lot cheaper than the regular kind of IVF, which is what catches my eye at first. But then when I read more… well, it sounds intriguing.

How it works is that in return for a discount, you donate half of your eggs collected in an IVF cycle to someone who cannot get pregnant with their own eggs. Often these are older women, or someone who has had cancer, or someone with other genetic or fertility issues. Egg sharing is giving someone out there a chance at a deeply wanted baby.

I‘m interested. Especially when I read on and see that the waiting lists in the UK can be years for donor eggs. Someone who has been waiting that long for this could be helped by me. And it would give us access to something that otherwise we would struggle to afford, so it seems like a win-win. Plus I already know I have a lot of eggs in reserve, and I have the right age and BMI for it, so I’m an excellent candidate.

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Even though it’s been twenty years by now, I can still distinctly remember my very first period. I HATED the feeling of those plasticy, sweaty pads stuck to my underwear. I was desperate to try something else even then. My mother tried to scare me with stories of TSS and irremovable tampons, but I didn’t care, I just wanted to be comfortable.

Later, I switched to cups, and then… reusable pads. I had no idea that they would feel that much better than the disposable kind, but they absolutely do. Seriously – believe the myth. I tried one, and then ordered a dozen. I have been using the same brand for around eight years now, so I’m definitely a convert. And after one too many dashes through the rain to find Jo some pads, I was determined to make her into one as well this summer.

Cue my welcome-to-Ghent-here-are-some-menstrual-products-darling gift, cute prints, and some mild persuasion…

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