Ep 170: How to avoid the High Court
My guest Jo and her partner Jane decided they were going to start trying for a baby. Jo was 38 and the pair went to an open evening at a clinic to find out more. Jo was invited to have an AMH blood test and to her ‘horror’ was told she had low fertility. They decided to go to Manchester Fertility for their treatment. They started off choosing a sperm donor and Jo explained how they wanted someone to reflect both of their characteristics and it was important that the child didn’t look too far from what she looked like – Jo is dark and Jane is blond – yet they both tan well! So they started having for IUI (Intrauterine insemination) this didn’t work and they ended up having six attemtps at IUI.
Jo talked about the constant cycle of despair and how she didn’t realise what an impact it had. “I was so distracted during the two week wait and then ‘it’ comes.”
I asked about whether Jo sought out any support and she explained how she went on forums and how ‘It wasn’t good for my mental health’ and she found them even more isolating. It’s always difficult when you tell your family you are trying and they want you to have success. Jo talked about feeling a bit of pressure from her parents as she was giving them their first and only grandchild.
The pair decided to go and visit their GP and when she explored the options for same sex couples, it showed that if you have self funded six attempts at IUI you were eligible for two rounds of IVF on the NHS.
This six attempts is based on the number of times a couple would have tried naturally over the course of 12 months. Jo and Jane changed clinics from Manchester Fertility to Manchester Care, feeling more comfortable with the care offered and Jo went straight into the IVF treatment
“Not many eggs and only one survived” Jo explained “The clinic called me and said we’ve only got one egg but it’s a good one I was in the car and I stopped and cried and the nurse said to me, it only takes one”
Post-transfer, the couple went to Cornwall for a week – something that I also did, went to the Suffolk coast and I highly commend being near water post transfer. Something instantly calming and of course a good distraction.
Jo talked about the agony of week two, the worst part of the dreaded two week wait and when they did a test it was a very faint line and they didn’t think it has worked but it had.
Jo and I spoke about her pregnancy which I appreciate could be a trigger for you which is why I had mentioned it in the podcast, however I wanted to hear her experience of her midwife appointments, which she said was pretty disappointing as it was assumed Jane, her partner was her ‘friend’ or Mum – Jo talked about having to spell it out and come out constantly. She said she ended up bursting in and say ‘This is my partner Jane’ to make it less awkward.
What went wrong:
Jo and Jane had a serious paperwork issue as she explained.
‘We’re not in a civil partnership so you have to fill out forms that I as the one carrying the child consent to Jane being recognised as the legal parent and Jane filled in the same saying she recognised herself as a parent which we did it at both clinics’
They were on holiday when they were called by their consultant to be told there was an issue with paperwork. Little did they know this would result in the pair having to go to the High Court where Sir James Munby resided over their case. Jo and Jane were told that based on the paperwork it’s not clear Jane is the legal parent and it was suggested they went to the High Court a parental order. Their court proceedings took over 12 months and there was talk of Freddie ( who was 1 at the time ) being given a ‘Guardian’ to support him through this process, so it was a really awful time with the couple being given the wrong advice and only getting the right advice when they got the help of a specialist lawyer.
To understand more about the HFEA audit here is an article about what happened
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Who is up for joining our team?? RT: Exciting #FridayFeeling news! @FlourishCIC are looking for new directors to help expand our impact could this be the role for you? #investinwomenchangemakers https://t.co/wtjr2sgDH5
— Jo McGrath FRSA (@enterpriseltd) February 8, 2019
Source: The Fertility Podcast