Lesbian couple Ranae Von Meding and Audrey Rooney have spoken of their joy of becoming parents to beautiful baby girl Ava via reciprocal IVF this Summer
But the couple, who live in Ireland, had a rollercoaster journey to becoming parents with health scares, failed IVF and a miscarriage, and at one point they didn’t believe their wish would ever become a reality.
Actress Ranae and theatre manager Audrey always knew they wanted children together soon after they began dating eight years ago.
Ranae said in an interview with Ireland’s Mums and Tots Magazine: “Audrey and I always knew we wanted kids.
“We both come from big families and it was something which we were both very clear on from the start of our relationship.
“After we had been dating for a couple of years, we began talking about how we would start our family.”
The pair began looking at realising their dream in 2013, deciding that Ranae would carry the baby, using Audrey’s eggs, and requesting a sperm donor they requested who had similar characteristics to Ranae.
She said: “Quite simply, we asked for a male version of me. So eye, hair, skin, weight, etc.
“But to be honest it didn’t really matter to me what our child would look like. Our baby would be a part of both of us. Her flesh and my blood.”
She told how using Audrey’s eggs meant both women were physically involved in the baby’s conception, saying: “In our mind, that meant that the baby would truly be a part of both of us.
“We had built our relationship on sharing everything and this would be no different. A 100 per cent team effort.”
Reciprocal IVF began to become a popular choice with lesbian couples in 2007 and is also known as ‘shared motherhood’
But during a trip to Australia, Ranae became very ill and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and the pair were told they had to delay their dream for a year while Ranae gave her body time to adjust.
The couple got engaged in Portugal in 2014 and once again started looking into reciprocal IVF.
It soon became clear that they would have to travel abroad as Ireland had no legislation for clinics to offer the treatment.
After lots of research, the couple decided to travel to Barcelona, in Spain, to the first clinic to offer the procedure, The Cefer Institute
Ranae said: “The process was the exact same as a traditional IVF cycle except that the treatment was shared between the two of us. Audrey began her treatment first, as egg collection is a slightly more complicated process and takes more time. My treatment was a lot less invasive. It couldn’t have gone better. They phoned us later that day to tell us how many eggs we had and that they had been fertilised. And then as planned, exactly 72 hours from the time of fertilisation we went back to the clinic for our final visit, where two of our three-day-old embryos were transferred into my womb.”
But it wasn’t to be, the couple suffered an early miscarriage. Although devastating, the pair decided to start treatment again straightaway.
The following month they started treatment again and Ranae said she just knew it had worked.
She said: “I just knew that it had worked. Sure enough, when I used a home pregnancy test a week and a half later, the word PREGNANT popped up on that little blue stick. I went in to her and held the test behind my back and said ‘guess what?’ She just looked at me and said you’re pregnant?’ It was such a special moment.”
Following a tough pregnancy, the couple welcomed baby Ava Rylee von Meding on August 3.
Ranae said: “There are many ways of making a family. There isn’t a right or wrong way. Find the one that works for you. We may not have been able to have a baby the conventional way, but through this life changing experience we have a deeper love for one another. Miracles do happen and families come in all sexes, shapes and sizes. Love your family.”