For some LGBT parents, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is immediately successful. For others, the journey to parenthood can be more drawn out, with many ups and downs. Share with us the experiences of one IVF LGBT parent, and the challenges facing all IVF LGBT parents around Toronto.
Trisha Strong, 29, a dental assistant and single IVF LGBT parent and her daughter Channelize, who is now twelve weeks old, live in a modern two bedroom condo in the Bloor West Village just across the hall from her parents. Having a baby was something Strong had always wanted. While she did not expect it would happen straight away, she was a healthy Jamaican women and she never imagined she would have trouble conceiving.
Strong explains – ‘It was seven months before I suspected something was up. After numerous trips back and forth to the GP and a fertility specialist, tests showed that Tony, 37, my gay Caucasian best friend’s sperm count was extremely poor because of his HIV condition’.
It was suggested that Trisha and Tony try IVF. A couple more months went by and they had more tests done. They were told that while it was still possible to conceive naturally by washing Tony’s sperm, chances were still pretty low. After talking about it, they decided to go straight onto IVF.
Tony tell us – ‘We were lucky to conceive on the first attempt. That’s not to say it was stress-free – anyone who’s been through the experience of infertility then IVF will tell you it’s an emotional roller-coaster for everyone involved with anxiety, waiting and unpleasant medical treatments for both of us. It really makes you appreciate what a miracle conception is’.
Trisha shares with us – ‘Pregnancy was both an exciting and an anxious time, particularly the first 12 weeks. In fact, I found it hard to believe that I was really having a baby. It was only after the 19-week scan that I started the practical things like buying furniture – even buying clothes for the baby seemed such a personal, intimate step. But feeling her move and finding out the sex made it seem more real.
Since Channelize, of Jamaican/Irish decent, was born HIV negative, the biggest challenge Trisha has faced has been feeding, but this is an issue all mothers face and isn’t related to IVF. For Trisha and Tony most of the anxiety related to infertility and IVF has passed.
Trisha leaves us with this parting thought – ‘I just feel so relieved that the stresses of treatment and pregnancy are gone, and now I can enjoy the baby I hoped for. I sometimes think Channelize might be the only baby I will ever have because I don’t know how hard it will be to get pregnant again in the future. So I’m enjoying every moment right now, and feel very lucky I have got her.’