In February 2023, Elissa Hillier and her wife Kaylee booked an appointment at the Orient Road Medical Practice in Salford to explore their options for getting pregnant. However, the advice they received from their GP left them feeling “scared, disappointed and upset.”
According to The Independent, during the appointment, the doctor looked at the lesbian couple and asked them: “You do know that you need a man to have a baby?” Then he went on to make a suggestion that filled them with both confusion and anger: “Why don’t you just go out and find a man to sleep with?” The doctor also stressed that they needed “human sperm.”
The Manchester-based couple reported that they went back to their car and sat in it in silence, trying to comprehend what had just transpired.
The GP offered to put them on a three-year waiting list for a fertility appointment with the NHS. Nevertheless: “He gave no explanation about what that would entail and basically said ‘I don’t really know how to help you or why you are here’,” Kaylee recalled. “All he said was, ‘I’m going to put your name on this list and you’ll get a call’.”
The couple added that the doctor was not outwardly being rude or mean to them. Still, his inability to understand a same-sex couple’s desire to have a child on their own understandably upset them.
Consequently, the pair began researching private options online and found three possible procedures, intrauterine insemination (when sperm is injected directly into a woman’s uterus), in vitro fertilisation (when an egg is combined with sperm and placed inside a uterus) and Reciprocal IVF (a fertility method specifically for lesbian couples that uses the egg of one partner, fertilises it with sperm and places it inside of the other one).
However, when they attended a fertility webinar with the Care Fertility clinic in Manchester, the session was focused primarily on IVF and male fertility issues. Towards the end, there was a slide that focused on same-sex relationships, but the image on it featured two gay men, further highlighting the lack of focus and resources for two women seeking to have a child together.
Just when the couple was about to give up, Hillier spotted a news article about a same-sex couple who went to Denmark for their fertility treatment and contacted the Diers Klinik in Aarhus.
“After our experience, we were almost worried about being a same-sex couple on this call, but she didn’t even blink,” Hillier said of their experience with talking to one of the nurses.
The couple decided they would try intrauterine insemination because it was the cheapest option. Then two travelled to Denmark in July 2023 to have the IUI procedure done and were delighted when 14 days later they had a positive pregnancy test. “You get that positive test and you think, ‘We’ve been blessed’,” Kaylee noted. Unfortunately, the couple suffered a very early miscarriage though.
They went for another round of IUI in August 2023, but that time it simply did not work.The whole process has cost Elissa and Kaylee around £15,000 and they have now launched a fundraiser on GoFundMe to help start their family.
The couple is also launching a podcast about their fertility journey called NoMoreMen.