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It was a Friday, the day the pregnancy test was positive. Day 29 of my cycle, fifteen days after insemination. A drab August day. The rain drizzling down the window panes seemed incongruent with my mood, but I was struggling to identify my mood at all. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t wished for a positive test. It was exactly what we’d been hoping for, of course. And it had happened much sooner than expected. A huge success.
A sperm donor and lesbian couple from Ontario Canada who have been fighting over custody of their two year old son, have suddenly settled their case, after months of litigation and shortly before a scheduled trial.
For some couples the decision is easy, and the choice of a donor obvious, for others knowing your own standpoint on this or agreeing with your partner is harder. For some couples basic characteristics such as height, hair and eye colour are essential. For some couples meeting the donor in person is a very important step in being able to decide for the right donor or even co-parent. For some couples the wish for involvement from the donor is critical and the level of wanted involvement also varies greatly among couples.
Ask Janis Hetherington what kind of mother she is and she replies, without hesitation, ‘unconventional’. 'I’m not a “mummy” person at all,’ she says. ‘But I’m a brilliant father. I had to be both, so parenthood was quite schizophrenic in lots of ways.’ In 1972, Janis, now 66, made history as the first British lesbian to have a child by artificial insemination using sperm from a donor.
Janis Hetherington sits with her back erect on a pink chaise, in a pink room. We are in the understated grandeur of her 17th-century longhouse in a sleepy town in Oxfordshire, which she shares with her long-term partner, Barbara. Her grey hair is wound in a tight plait and pinned to her head. With wide trousers, waistcoat, jaunty cravat and a hanky in her pocket she resembles a country gent about to go hunting.
So, having neither of us ever written a blog, we are writing one about the difficulties we, as a lesbian couple, are having trying to find a sperm donor in a rural, stuck in the dark ages, area, in the middle of nowhere .
Things aren’t quite as straight forward for us two; I suffer from one of the rarer forms of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome or MRKH for short. Most sufferers of the condition have all the female workings minus a uterus, or minus the vagina. My version was a bit more complicated.
The Welsh secretary has said gay couples "clearly" cannot provide a "warm and safe environment" in which to raise children. On ITV Wales' Face to Face programme, David Jones said this was why he had voted against the government's legislation for same-sex marriage.
The Conservative MP said he was not homophobic and had "people in my life who are important to me who are gay". But Labour said the comments showed "the nasty party is alive and well".