“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!


After calculating the pregnancy chances over time of at home insemination, I reluctantly agreed that maybe a clinic was better after all. But I refuse to have to deal with the Belgian law and accept a semi-anonymous donor that is chosen for us. I just can’t with that.

So if we are going somewhere else, then there are choices. So many choices!

Where do we go?

If we’re not staying in Belgium, then the Netherlands seems like the logical next option. It’s not very far and there’s a decent train connection to the major cities. Most importantly, their donor laws are the complete opposite of Belgium’s – in the Netherlands you HAVE to use an open donor and anonymous ones aren’t allowed.

But the clinics in the Netherlands have pretty terrible reputations (sorry!). The more I research, the more I find people from there who actually come to Belgium to receive better medical care. Never mind that the actual clinics prove harder to reach than I thought and we’re looking at 4+ hours of various trains and busses one way. Plus, just like Belgium they have a ‘forced IUI tries’ policy. I also dislike a lot of the websites who use extremely heterocentric language – no, we do not need this treatment because my dear husband is infertile, thanks.

Next I think, well, the sperm would come from Denmark, wouldn’t it?

It turns out that Denmark is a popular fertility destination and has been for a long time. I even find a clinic founded by a midwife specifically to treat lesbians and single women! The websites are lovely and same-sex couples appropriate. They talk about letting your partner lie and cuddle with you after an insemination. They tell you an orgasm would be a good idea. And they don’t impose nearly as many rules on what you have to try first.

The only downside is, of course, cost. These clinics are very costly, much more so than I had ever imagined they would be.

I search for cheaper destinations, and there are plenty. Prague and Barcelona are among them, but all of those have anonymous donor laws like in Belgium, so we could never use an open donor there.

I look into the UK very briefly, see the cost, and close my web browser. That’s it.

So we are here, at the table, I am ranting about places to go to for fertility treatments and Jo is letting me, in-between the bread and lunch spreads.

And that’s when she says, “In the UK, if you have a child through a fertility clinic, lesbian co-parents can both be on the birth certificate.”

I might have heard that before and dismissed it, but in that moment it all clicks for me. When I looked up Belgian law for us back when we wanted to co-parent with a gay man, the main problem with Jo being the official second parent in Belgium was that the laws of her country would apply.

So… CAN we get the laws of her country to apply?

It would be expensive to have treatment in the UK, but I go back to those websites anyway and look on. The UK, like the Netherlands, has a strict open donor policy, so we’re good there. There are plenty of clinics to choose from, most with inclusive and modern websites. If we are spending a small fortune anyway, we might as well get around the adoption and have Jo be on the birth certificate from the beginning!

It all seems good. And slowly, we fall in love with the idea of going to London.

London, where we first met by Eros fountain over six years ago.

London, where we spent so many weekends together. The city is filled with memories for us. There are past versions of us walking on every street, sitting in every theatre, laughing and cherishing each moment we had together.

Of course. OF COURSE this is where we should go to make our baby.



5 replies
  1. Kate
    Kate says:

    UK law would definitely apply. I’m not a Belgian citizen (yet) but had no problem being recognised as the 2nd parent. Simple procedure at the city hall. I’m on the kids birth certificates, kids ID card, they have my name etc. The only thing is they hadn’t change forms so I’m listed as “Father” on the birth certificates ?

    • Nele
      Nele says:

      OMG, really? I had thought we would have to look so hard to find someone in a similar situation! So you also were not married to your Belgian partner? Did you bring the forms from the fertility clinic to the city hall, or how did it work? Thank you so much for commenting :)

      • Kate
        Kate says:

        No, not married but legal cohabitation. They never asked for the forms (I don’t think it would be legal). I did a prenatal recognition of the baby when my partner was about 6 months pregnant. The carrying partner has to give her consent. Then when baby arrived we both went to do the declaration together, just with our IDs and the paper from hospital. They ask you what names you’ve chosen and it’s done. It was very simple.

        • Nele
          Nele says:

          That’s so wonderful to hear! We had been quite worried about this, especially about possibly being denied and having to go through the whole adoption procedure. I hope it will be as easy for us, but knowing it worked so well for you makes me feel a whole lot better about it! Seriously, thank you <3

          • Kate
            Kate says:

            No worries ?. I totally get it, I was also worried at first cos there’s not much info online in the case of non Belgian parents.

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