Case Eames and her wife Shelley were married for two years before they decided to start a family through IVF. It was a long and emotional journey for the couple and after six attempts, they finally became parents to their baby girl, Iris. Case shares her experience of becoming a first-time mum and hopes for change in how LGBT+ couples access IVF.
“It took six years (interrupted by Covid) and six attempts at IVF for Shelley and I to finally get that positive pregnancy test.
“IVF is an extremely emotional and, at times, difficult journey to go through. The staff at our clinic were excellent though and never once made us feel uncomfortable about our relationship. IVF isn’t cheap however and we wish there was more financial support out there for LGBT+ couples. Like heterosexual couples, we want to see free treatment for the first round of IVF on the NHS or some kind of help to pay for it.
“People who aren’t aware of how IVF works are often amazed and think it’s brilliant that we were able to try for a family as an LGBT+ couple. We are sometimes asked personal questions, but always give clear and honest answers because it’s about educating people and I suppose ‘normalising’ it.
“In hospitals or at the doctors we always try to explain our family dynamic immediately to people so that they don’t slip up and to save embarrassment. Sometimes we don’t get the chance though and assumptions are made.
“The world has moved on a lot in recent years, but people are still learning, and we shouldn’t blame them for their mistakes. We just help to educate them. My advice to other LGBT+ couples would be to get ahead of the game by introducing yourselves straight away to get rid of any confusion. The more visible we are, the more acceptance and understanding we’ll see.
“You always worry about being the ones who are different in a group, but our NCT course was outstanding. Appropriate language was always used, we felt completely included and were treated just like any other couple in the room. We honestly wouldn’t change a thing about it. It really helped us to prepare for what was to come.
“We felt completely elated when we became parents! We finally had the baby we’d tried so hard and so long for. We cried with joy. We can’t wait for each day to watch our baby grow and change. We can’t wait for all the adventures we are going to have together.”