A nurse who experienced first-hand the joy of a baby born through IVF has been taking the opportunity during this year’s Pride celebrations to raise awareness among the LGBT+ community of the fertility opportunities open to them through egg donation
New mum,Jess Abel, now works on the team that recruits egg donors at Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM), having taken on her new role as assistant nurse practitioner for egg donation in May, just over a year after she and partner Kirsty welcomed their daughter Nora into the world.
“We only have Nora thanks to the team I now work with,” said Jess Abel.
“And our experience as a couple at BCRM was one of inclusivity from the word ‘go.’
“To start with we found out what was involved by attending one of BCRM’s lesbian open evenings.
“We thought this was a much better option than sitting through the same talks as heterosexual couples because as a same sex couple we knew 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 being self-conscious.
“Everyone was really welcoming, and we were so excited afterwards and knew that having an IVF baby with BCRM was what we wanted to do.”
For many lesbian couples the journey to parenthood is through intra-couple donation, where the eggs of one lesbian partner are fertilised in vitro and then implanted in the other who carries the baby to term.
Jess said: “This procedure is becoming increasingly common, mainly because of the heightened level of involvement it gives both partners in a lesbian relationship.
“We are currently getting a lot of same sex couples at the clinic and I would really encourage anyone in the LGBT+ community who is considering assisted parenthood to get in touch and find out more.”
Another service offered at BCRM is transgender sperm freezing, which is now available on the NHS.
This gives a person who is transitioning the opportunity to preserve their fertility so that when they are ready to parent a child that sperm can be used to create a baby.
“It’s a question of helping these patients keep their options open,” said embryologist Jen Nisbett.
“We are very mindful at BCRM of the range of parenting possibilities which exist. There is no pigeon-holing here, and no boxing-in of patients to fit a particular category. Their needs are what drives our service.
“We encourage all who might need our help to get in touch and find out what avenues are available to them.
“Part of the agenda of the regional Pride celebrations is to help increase society’s awareness of the issues faced by members of the LGBT+ community – of which assisted parenthood is one.”
“At the end of the day, what our work is about is supporting anyone who needs our help to achieve their dream of parenthood.”
Further information about BCRM’s donor sperm services is available from their dedicated programme coordinator – email donorsperm@BCRM.clinic Or register for a virtual open evening webinar or book an initial consultation appointment by email at contact@BCRM.clinic, call 0117 4146888 or visit www.fertilitybristol.com