This list from Jess is some kind of wonderful. Her and her partner have faced many a challenge as parents: some because of the sexuality, some because life can be unimaginably cruel. Yet Jess’s optimism still shines through and though any account of baby loss is heartbreaking, this one leaves you feeling uplifted, not least by this Mum’s capacity to ‘keep on keeping on’ and use her experience to help empower other LGBT parents and would-be parents.

  • Becoming a same-sex parent was no easy task.

  • We started off by attending a show – an actual exhibition on the how tos, and the VAST options available, and listening to talks from people in the know.

  • If school is light on the biology of making babies the ‘normal’ way, they sure are light on the alternative options out there.

  • We opted for unmedicated IUI – Intrauterine Insemination, or Artificial Insemination. All we had to do is buy some sperm online then go to the clinic when the smug smiley face on the ovulation tests started being all… well, smiley.

  • They would then inseminate some ‘super sperm’ (only the best of the best, you see) and that was that.

  • I was told over and over that I was ‘young and healthy’, so figured it would be a doddle.Shove it in, job done.

  • We saved for three cycles, but they didn’t think we would need it – young and healthy after all. Except three cycles happened, and no smug smiley face on any pregnancy test appeared. £6,000 done.

  • Sperm is expensive by the way. £800ish a pop.

  • A little while ago they changed the law to make sperm donation non-anonymous in the UK. Children are able to trace biological siblings from the age of 16, and the donor from the age of 18. Cue stocks falling, price tags rising.

  • We started off wanting to get some ginger sperm. My wife wanted our baby to look like me. Turns out, ginger sperm is pretty rare. Go figure. So we just settled on any old sperm. As long as it swam, we were happy.

  • We got alot of offers to play ‘sperm roulette’ from friends. We, er, politely passed on that option.

  • Most people (mainly men, funnily enough) are just fascinated about the sperm. ‘Tell me about the sperm’, ‘how did you buy the sperm’, ‘you can have some of my sperm’ ‘sperm, sperm, sperm, sperm’. Tell them you essentially Amazon it online, and it blows their tiny minds.

  • One tip though, a sperm donor is just that, a donor. Terminology matters here. They aren’t a father or the dad. They are a sperm donor. There is a difference. That show we first went to got very heated when someone suggested otherwise.

  • Calling a donor a ‘dad’ can elicit connotations of abandonment and absent fathers – but this isn’t the case, a donor is a selflessly helping families (they don’t get paid any more than expenses), not abandoning them.

  • After IUI failed, we moved onto IVF at a new clinic. New donor too (at that point, you couldn’t transfer sperm from one clinic to another – but you can now). Another £6,000.

  • IVF can be brutal. You jump from appointment to appointment, drug to drug. It gave me my first taste of anxiety when I came off the progesterone after our first failed cycle. Physical panic attacks, out of nowhere, completely unexpected. Once you feel panic, its a hard thing for your body to forget.

  • On our second IVF cycle (yet another £6,000), we became pregnant. We had a straightforward pregnancy, until we didn’t. Leo died at 37 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Life, in an instant, changed forever.

  • Leo was born three days later, weighing 6lb 4oz with a head full of dark hair, and giant feet. We spent three wonderful (but grief stained) days with him, and he will forever be the little boy who made us both mothers and who drives everything we do. We fundraise, campaign, talk, volunteer, go on live TV, speak at hospitals, appear in adverts, walk, run, cycle, swim – everything and anything, all for him.

  • The online baby loss community is incredible. The most compassionate place I have ever found myself, full of fierce, loving and dedicated parents. They saved us, and have provided us with an outlet and unwavering support.

  • Instagram gets a bad rep some days, but for me, its given me the absolute best of friends. And some dark-humoured whats app chats.

  • There is a lot of chat in the baby loss world about the lack of support given to partners, from friends and family and from wider support avenues.

  • Dads are left to ‘be strong’ and ‘look after their wives’ and ‘return to work’ but little is thought about their own wellbeing in the face of devastating loss.This is the same when your partner isn’t a dad, but a mother also.

  • Except there isn’t actually much (or any) chat about supporting these mothers. They tend to just be lumped into the ‘dad’ box, or dad/partners when people are thinking a little deeper.

  • One of the biggest things to make you feel normal is seeing that there are others like you. This is where I often struggle – because we are niche. And niche doesn’t make you feel normal, and it doesn’t give you much to fully relate to. Its just another thing to distance you.

  • So whilst chatting about baby loss on the internet, I also like to chat about being gay parents who have experienced baby loss so that others feel less niche, and find something that they can relate to.

  • But baby loss is varied, as is parenting.

  • We need diversity in all forms of parenting ‘out there’ – which is why I set up the ongoing #LGBTBabyLoss blog series ( to create a small corner of the internet that focuses on this area of loss.

  • After Leo died, and was born, we did a cycle of medicated frozen embryo replacement with an embryo we froze during Leo’s IVF cycle. Sadly, we miscarried that baby. A kind dose of shit, layered on top of shit here.

  • People often ask, “why doesn’t she give it a go?” which is only mildly insulting, and rather much like insinuating blame on me. Charming. But two uteruses (uteri?) really only just gives us synced cycles and the hormonal joys that creates. I started, I needed to finish this.

  • We went on to do an unmedicated frozen embryo replacement cycle, and thankfully, Eli is now 18 months old. He is such a delight, and is a wonderful little brother to Leo.

  • We often get asked if we were treated differently through my pregnancies because of being gay.

  • I’m glad to say we really, really weren’t. The only occasion was when my wife was offered ‘the dad chair’ by a midwife who clearly hadn’t opened her eyes (or her mind) that day.

  • In all, getting pregnant three times and doing seven cycles of fertility treatment has used all of our savings. Over £20,000 of them. People are often shocked when I say how much we have spent, but it can be reality for couples (any couple) choosing to use fertility treatment to become parents.

  • Diving into fertility treatments is a unknown – you don’t how long it will take, or how much money you will end up spending. I expected to have change from £6,000.

  • We don’t get anything funded on the NHS where we live. The local CCG (Clinical Commission Group, i.e. the people who decided where to spend money in the NHS) equate a year of a straight couple trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, with six cycles of IUI. Following six cycles of IUI, a lesbian couple would be eligible for one cycle of IVF. Six cycles = approx. £10-12,000 depending on varying options/postcode etc.

  • Because we moved onto IVF after three cycles of IUI, despite doing six cycles overall, we weren’t eligible because a more invasive form of fertility treatment (IVF and Frozen) doesn’t actually count. Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either.

  • People keep asking us if we are going to have another baby. I guess they haven’t really been listening to all of the above. To dive back into the unknown would be a scary concept. Its taken us five years, and a house deposit so far. I’m not sure I have another five years in me of this, and I absolutely don’t have another house deposit!

  • There are many ways that lesbians become parents, and they aren’t all as costly or as physically invasive as our chosen methods (they aren’t necessarily as grief stained either). But this is us and our journey.

  • Being gay shapes a lot of our ethos in what values we want to teach Eli – he needs the language and respect to deal with any comments he may have growing up about having two mums (and a dead brother, and potentially ginger hair).

  • We’d want him to understand difference and have the compassion to not be afraid of it. He needs to reflect the values that we hope he would be treated with by others.

  • Our motherhood may look different. It is bittersweet, but vibrant, full of colour, laughter and most importantly, unconditional love. And I couldn’t ask for a better mother to mother alongside.

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