The west London pavement is strewn with dirty leaves, and Jo and I huddle under our hastily bought umbrella and hop-skip our way over flooded gutters and large puddles.
By the time we make it to the Lister clinic it’s with sodden shoes. It isn’t exactly the most graceful way to arrive but we hurry inside, and shake out our umbrella before wrapping it in a plastic bag so we won’t drip all over the waiting room.
The first thing I notice is that this looks like an actual hospital. It’s much larger than I had imagined, with a proper reception desk, and several floors to the building. It’s closer to what I would associate with a clinic in Belgium. We settle in to wait, but then… someone comes to inform us that actually the open evening is cancelled, and that we should have been informed (we weren’t.)
Oh, great. We ran through the rain for this!
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!
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.
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.
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.