Baby joy for lesbian couple from Derry
A same-sex couple from Northern Ireland have become doting mums.
Sarah Murphy and Jenny Doherty have welcomed their “perfect wee girl” Callie Jennifer into the world.
The Greysteel couple, who have been together for four years, tried to get treatment from the NHS, but were told they were ineligible so paid for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) treatment at Belfast’s Origin Fertility.
“We’re completely over the moon,” Sarah, who carried baby Callie for nine months, told Sunday Life.
“We keep staring at her and wondering if she’s actually ours.
“She’s so gorgeous, she’s the perfect wee girl. I can’t believe she was inside me.”
Born on June 30, at seven pounds and three ounces, Sarah says that the couple have never been happier since Callie’s arrival.
She said: “Before we started going to Origin, it felt like it was never going to happen, that we’d never be mums.
“But the second we walked through the door at Origin there was an atmosphere that I can’t even really explain. It was just lovely. It was even better because doing it that way meant that we are both on the birth certificate which was important.
“We did a natural IUI cycle but then we found out that I had polycystic ovary syndrome so it wasn’t going to work, so we went for a medicated cycle and that failed.
“The second time it worked thankfully and I couldn’t stop crying, it was amazing.
“To see our little girl and hear her heartbeat for the first time was so emotional. We were just so happy.
“We’ll never be able to thank Origin enough for what they’ve done for us. They’ve given us the best present ever.”
IUI involves the introduction of sperm from a donor high in the uterus of the woman and is becoming an increasingly popular fertility method for infertile heterosexual couples as well as single-sex couples and single women.
“We couldn’t have done it unless both of us were 100 per cent behind the idea but we both wanted this more than anything,” said the 25-year-old nursery assistant.
“It’s a really stressful thing to go through and it does test your relationship but we’re through the other side and are a million times stronger than we were before.”
The Co. Londonderry couple were so delighted with their fertility experience that they named their daughter Callie Jennifer after her other mummy and Jennifer McLaughlin, operations manager at Origin.
“We bonded so well with Jennifer, who did our IUI procedure. She’s one in a million — she’s been our angel, she really has,” said Sarah.
“I don’t think it matters whether or not you’re in a same-sex relationship, trying to have a baby is really stressful and Origin made it as relaxed as it could be.
“I’ve always wanted kids but in previous relationships it was never going to happen but Jenny and I both wanted it, we just never thought it would happen.
“After the first time that it didn’t work we thought about not trying again because it was so emotionally draining and financially it’s difficult too. To be honest, we didn’t think it would happen for us and we’d kind of accepted that but we decided to give it one more try and thank God we did.
“It would have destroyed me if it hadn’t worked again, but Callie was definitely worth the wait.”
Callie’s arrival into the world proved to be a little too much for 31-year-old Jenny though.
“I had a water birth but I had a third degree tear so I was being checked over and Jenny, who had just cut the umbilical cord, was holding the baby,” said Sarah.
“Next thing I hear Jenny shouting for someone to take the baby so the midwife grabbed Callie and Jenny fainted. We can laugh about it now but it was terrifying at the time!”
Sarah and Jenny documented their pregnancy on their Facebook page Flump Has Two Mummies, which now has almost 2,000 followers.
“When we were going through it all, we were going into it completely blind so that’s why we started writing about it,” said proud mum Sarah.
“If there was even one couple that we could have related to then I think it would have made things easier for us.
“If you Google anything about same-sex fertility in Northern Ireland there is very little about it but we won’t be the last couple to try so hopefully people can see that we’ve been a success story and they can be too.
“There might be another couple in Northern Ireland (who have blogged about their experiences) but we haven’t heard or read anything.
“It’s kind of cool to think that we could be the first here though.”
Origin Fertility’s Jennifer McLaughlin guided the couple throughout their treatment.
Jennifer said: “It was my first IUI experience so I think we made a good team.
“We get a lot of single girls who come in with their mums who maybe haven’t found Mr Right, but we get a lot of couples too.
“A lot of our patients get pregnant on their first cycle and they can’t believe it, it’s great.
“We’ve loads of new technologies too, such as time lapse technology, which will hopefully improve our success rate.
“We do lots of different types of fertility treatments for a range of people and we’ve had loads of success stories which is fantastic.
“We get to know our patients and it’s hard because it’s such an emotional time so it’s nice when the babies actually come in to see you for a cuddle once their born.
“It makes it all worthwhile.”