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I am five years old. My favourite toy is a baby doll that cries if its dummy falls out. I call her Katy and take her everywhere with me.

One fateful night, her dummy falls out and five year old me wakes up grumpy and confused. I rummage around in my bed for the dummy but I can’t find it.  She is crying and crying so I do the only thing I can think of at the time – I pick up the doll and smash it against the wall until the crying stops.

Yeah.

I never wanted to be a mother.

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“Maybe we should go to Copenhagen.” I lean over the table and look at Jo, my eyes burning after a night of heavy research on the internet. “…Or Norway. But then they have that Barnrett law, so that’ll cost us.”

“Hm.” Jo nods calmly while she eats her lunch. She has known me for years and as a result is rarely fazed anymore by my crazier moods.

“Cyprus or Greece are out, of course. Maybe the Czech Republic? I’ll check the donor law there.”

We drink some coffee – made to be ready right when Jo arrives from Dutch class – while my brain spins on at strange speeds. “That leaves… well, not France, obviously. Or Italy. Not Turkey either. Spain would have been nice. Of course then there’s…” I count on my fingers. “…the travel costs, the treatment costs, the stay itself, which it all depends on how long they would require us to stay there so…”

The internet plus desperation is a heady combination, and I refuse to stop until I’ve thought about it all.

Cue the summer of clinic searches!

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After looking it up online, the internet tells me that if we were to go ahead and get sperm delivered to our doorstep, we have about a 15% chance of success per try with at home insemination.

That doesn’t seem like that much. Jo and I only have a limited amount of money we can spend on all of this, so logically our next question is: how many times are we going to have to try this before we have a baby then?

There’s always a chance it happens on the first go, but what about average – how many times would we need to budget for?

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Sperm banks can mail their wares in the post to almost anywhere in the world.

After our stressful hospital audition we’re ready to think outside the box here, so an option we had dismissed before is suddenly looking appealing again.

Why not just do it at home?

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It’s June 15th 2018, and we have an appointment with the UZ Gent reproductive team.

We make it on time and sign in. It’s a warm day, and Jo eats her lunch while sitting on a wall just outside the hospital while I twitchily play with my phone. I hate hospitals. Every fibre in my body is screaming that I don’t want to be here.

This is an audition, I tell myself. The hospital has to convince us that we want to do this, not the other way around.

It’s not true, of course. They can deny us treatment for any number of reasons. If they don’t like us. If we don’t look right. If we’re not healthy, or thin, or rich enough.

Anything.

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