In celebration of Pride, we’ve pulled together some stories from LGBTQ+ couples to learn about their different paths to parenthood.
In celebration of Pride, we’ve pulled together some stories from LGBTQ+ couples to learn about their different paths to parenthood, to share their advice, provide useful resources for those looking to follow in their footsteps, and to show that there’s more than one way to start a family.
Bee & Leigh’s Adoption Story
August 2019 saw Bee and Leigh begin their parenting journey. They were married, had a house together, and were the proud owners of an adorable pug. After initially looking into their options as a same-sex couple they decided that the best route to starting a family was through adoption. Neither Leigh or Bee wished to carry a child and surrogacy wasn’t an option for this couple. This route was the best fit for this couple and they had lots of amazing support as other family members had also adopted in the past.
During the first stage of the process, the couple handed over control to the approval panel, who left no stone unturned when deciding if they were ready to adopt. A rollercoaster of emotions, highs and lows then followed. They found support from a like-minded community on Instagram – which became even more important during a global pandemic.
The matching panel was the next stage. This panel was all about taking both the child’s and the adoptive parents needs and personalities into account to make sure it was the best match for everyone involved. One day, the couple’s social worker shared a particular profile with them, and they knew immediately that it was a perfect fit. Over the next few weeks, they were sent photos and videos, and learned about the child’s background and needs. This allowed them to form a bond, despite the physical restrictions that were in place.
Many questions and nervous nights later, they joined the matching panel meeting over Skype, and after a few nerve-racking minutes, they were told that the panel had approved their match. They were going to be parents!
Overall, they found the whole process to be enjoyable, enlightening and fulfilling. They may not quite be living the Pinterest-perfect parenting life that they imagined, but they’ve come away from it all with a wonderful daughter, and a lifetime of discovery and adventure to look forward to. Their advice for prospective parents? Go with your gut and be prepared to learn through trial and error.
Sarah & Laura’s IVF & Shared Motherhood Story
When same-sex marriage became legalised in the UK, Sarah and Laura were made more aware of the possibility of parenthood for same-sex couples. They both loved having siblings growing up and knew they wanted “the chaos and craziness of children” in their lives.
Their fertility journey started back in 2017, when Sarah decided she’d like to carry their baby. They fell pregnant after the first round of IVF treatment, which left them overjoyed, grateful and in total shock. They announced their news to close family members at Christmas time, using presents addressed to Nanny and Grandad – cute!
They were both able to be a part of the process, from egg collection, embryo transfers, scans and finally, the arrival of their daughter Annabelle, who was born via a planned cesarean section on a gloriously sunny day.
After learning so much about parenthood through bringing up Annabelle, the pair decided to try for a second child, and this time Laura wanted to be the one to carry the baby. However, pre-testing showed that her egg count was low, so they decided to use one of the three embryos that Sarah had remaining from their first round of IVF. This process is known as shared motherhood.
Their first attempt at embryo transfer took, but unfortunately ended in miscarriage – a true shock for the couple as their pregnancy with Annabelle had been such plain sailing! Luckily, they had money saved and could afford additional embryo transfers to try again with the remaining two embryos. Sadly, the second embryo didn’t take, but the third did which was such a relief after a painful period of loss.
Now, their second baby is due in October 2021 and Laura has been advised to put her feet up and take it easy throughout the pregnancy. They cannot wait for the newest addition to join their family, and advise any other parents-to-be to savour every moment, take plenty of photos and videos, and remember there are far more good days than bad!
Jack & Wes’ Adoption Story
Married for five years and together for 10, Jack and Wes met at work, and the rest they say, is history! From the beginning, they knew they wanted to start a family together and that went on to be a strong cornerstone in their relationship.
Jack has autism and Wes was born three months premature with mild cerebral palsy. Throughout their relationship, they’ve had to navigate their conditions together and prove people’s misconceptions wrong.
They knew that as a same-sex couple, there was no better time to adopt as so much progress has been made in terms of changes to the law and increased awareness. They knew that it was a realistic dream that they would one day be parents.
Their adoption journey began in July 2018. They had to do voluntary work with children at a nursery before they were accepted into stage one of the process, which was very admin heavy. Their initial social worker meeting was three hours long, and they soon realised that they were in for the long haul!
Nothing prepared them for becoming first-time parents during the pandemic. They adopted at the beginning of lockdown, which meant they were cut off from the support of their friends and family. The day their baby son came to live with them was the first time they had met him in person. Due to the pandemic, their only previous contact with him was over video call.
The restrictions that the COVID-19 pandemic presented bought many lows, but the only other dark moments, they say, were the doubts and fears created in their own heads around their abilities and medical conditions, and those were soon pushed aside as the process moved along.
They say the highest point of their journey was the feeling of being accepted and approved unanimously by the various panels, nothing will ever beat that feeling for them. Another high was how invested and excited their family members were throughout. They describe their adoption journey as life-changing and amazing. Their son has enriched their lives in ways they never imagined!
We’d like to thank all the families who’ve shared their stories with us. To give you more information about how to start a family as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, we’ve listed some resources below that will hopefully make the process a little less daunting.
- New Family Social exists to help you decide if adoption or fostering is right for you and then support you on your journey to becoming parents and carers.
- Stonewall provides lots of information about parental responsibility, adopting, fostering, co-parenting, fertility treatment and surrogacy.
- The NHS provides an overview of the various routes to parenthood available to LGBTQ+ people.
- Proud 2 b Parents is an inclusive organisation for all routes to parenthood.