A journey that ended happily with the birth of their daughter Nora in April this year, tested one Tewksbury couple to their limits
Doctors at the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine along with a sprinkling of Disney magic made dreams come true for one Cotswolds couple.
Newly-wed Jess feared her partner Kirsty would never say yes to having a family, that is until the pair visited Disney World in Florida
The honeymoon vacation in September 2016 proved a turning point for the two women who live in Tewksbury, Gloucestershire.
The couple met in 2013 when Kirsty joined Jess as part of an NHS team that supports people living with dementia, and it was love at first sight.
“Kirsty had initially told me that she wasn’t sure she wanted children,” said Jess, 33. “This was a quite a big deal to me as I really wanted a family.
“But one night while we were sat at Disney World, she told me she’d like to look into having kids of our own. I was over the moon. There must have been some Disney magic in the air that night!”
As soon as they returned from the trip the pair booked themselves on to an open evening at the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM) located on the Southmead Hospital site in Bristol.
“We chose one of BCRM’s lesbian open evenings as we didn’t want to sit through the same talks as heterosexual couples because as a same sex couple, we’d have different questions.
“It also meant we didn’t have to worry about feeling judged and that we could ask everything we wanted to without feeling self-conscious.
“Everyone was really welcoming, and we were so excited afterwards and knew this is what we really wanted to do. We couldn’t wait to get started.”
For Jess and Kirsty, 35, it was the start of a journey that ended happily with the birth of baby Nora in April this year, but that was to test the couple to their very limits
After deciding to go ahead, the pair decided Jess would donate her eggs for fertilisation by an anonymous donor and then transferred into Kirsty so could both feel as involved as possible.
Kirsty underwent the first of what were to be four rounds of IVF. Sadly, three of the four were unsuccessful, meanwhile a single positive pregnancy proved to non-viable.
It was at this point – with Kirsty emotionally and physically drained from the experience – the pair decided it would be Jess who would receive any future embryo transfers
Unfortunately, Jess’s first round of IVF ended in an early miscarriage and this meant the pair were down to their last remaining fertilised embryo
“We were told it had been graded poorly compared to the others and therefore the chances of pregnancy were lower than they had been previously, so I had real no expectation of success.
“I remember doing the two-week test and leaving it on the side and didn’t even both checking it as in my head it believed it was going to be negative.
“But out of the corner of my eye while washing my hands I saw the line appear and grow very dark. We were pregnant again and this time it was here to stay!”
Jess says the high point of the pregnancy was when she and Kirsty invited their respective mothers to share a 16-week gender scan with them
“Both our mums have been incredibly supportive and were always there for us. So, we thought this was a great way to say thank you to them.
“Deep down Kirsty and I both wanted a girl, as did both our mums, so when we were told she was a girl we all shouted out with joy, and my mum even shed a tear. It was a lovely moment.”
Nora Faith Abel was born at 38 weeks on April 5 at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital weighing 5lb and 12oz and the pair say the couple are looking forward to taking her to Disney World to experience the magic herself.
The Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine has world class facilities and technology that treats both private and NHS patients
BCRM is involved in innovative research and have one of the best success rates with IVF and other fertility treatments in the UK. Find out more about BCRM’s Donor Sperm services from their dedicated programme coordinator by emailing donorsperm@BCRM.org.uk
To register for a virtual open evening webinar or to book an initial consultation appointment email BCRM at: info@BCRM.org.uk, call 0117 3018605 or visit: www.fertilitybristol.com.