The decision to start a family is a big one, it is a chance to take the next step in your life or relationship. Yet for some couples making that decision is only the first step in a long road to motherhood.
For women in a same sex relationship, it means making a lot of decisions about how to start the adventure of motherhood together, and how to go about finding a sperm donor and ultimately finding a clinic or fertility treatment centre who can make the entire process the wonderful and magical experience it should be.
A shared maternity allows both of you to be part of the process
The clinic Fertty International in Barcelona is leading the way in fertilization services to lesbian couples, offering a way for both partners to be part of the process. The option is known as reciprocal IVF, and what this means is that the in vitro fertilization cycle is carried out on one of the couple. This stimulates egg production in the ovaries, which can then be collected for fertilization with the semen of an anonymous donor.
The embryos are then transferred into the uterus of the other partner to begin gestation. The second partner will then carry the baby to full term. It is really quite wonderful what science makes possible. For LGBT couples dreaming of starting a family together this is one way to bring motherhood to both women.
What to expect from the first phase
This is the first step you the journey to motherhood and it is exciting. The specialist and experts at the clinic will be there for you every step of the way to make sure you have the best experience. For the woman who will be providing the eggs, several weeks before the procedure there will be some hormonal contraception given.
The purpose of this is to interrupt the normal cycle. This is so that when fertility drugs are then taken the body is ready to produce a few extra eggs in the ovary, rather than the normal one. This gives the best chance of fertilization in the next steps.
What happens during fertilization and implantation
Once the eggs are retrieved they are joined with the donor sperm in a state of the art laboratory for fertilization. If they are successfully fertilized then they are allowed to undergo a couple of days of cell division before the embryo is transplanted into the second partner, via the vagina, through the cervix and into the uterus.
It is usual to transplant more than one embryo, and in Spain that number is limited to three in order to reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies which can pose a risk to both the mother and the babies.
Some women describe the process as feeling similar to a PAP smear test. It does not feel comfortable but it does not require any sedation or drugs. After around 10 days or so a blood pregnancy test can be done in order to find out if the implantation was successful.
Any embryos that are not used in this stage can be cryopreserved for the future or even donated to other couples unable to do the first part of the treatment themselves for whatever reason.
It make take several cycles for a successful result
IVF has a success rate of anything between 40 and 70%, depending on a range of factors such as the age of the women, the quality of the eggs and the quality of the embryos produced. It will require a detailed review of each couple’s person circumstances to give an idea of potential success rate.
If multiple rounds are required the couple will need to talk in depth with the medical team to decide how many attempts are best for you.
Drag Your Kids Into Nature. It’s Good For Health and Wellbeing
Studies show that spending two hours a week in nature is good for the health and wellbeing of adults and children.
In contrast, spending too much time in front of a screen surrounded by the proverbial concrete jungle is detrimental to psychological and physical wellbeing.
Sitting for long periods with no exercise has been linked to debilitating diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Experts also conclude that too much screen time causes, near-sightedness, insufficient sleep, headaches and obesity – all of which can have a negative effect on the psychological maturity of children.
If your kids are devouring too much screen and not enough green, its high time you dragged them into nature. The short-term and long-term health depends on it.
Connecting with Nature Connects You With People
Several studies have shown that connecting with nature is therapeutic. The Japanese understand this so well that ‘forest bathing’ or shinrin-yoku is deeply ingrained in their culture.
Although scientists are not sure how or why, but it appears humans have an intrinsic connection with the natural environment. You probably know from experience that being in the great outdoors restores your energy and vitality.
If you can’t escape the concrete jungle by heading out into the countryside or mountains, take advantage of green spaces near your home. Even playing in the park gives you children an opportunity to connect and socialise with other kids in your neighbourhood – and any type of non-internet related connection is good for their development.
Nature Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Researchers have discovered that being around nature reduces stress, fear and anger. Living in these unprecedented times, children probably feel more emotional and afraid than they might ordinarily.
During the lockdown and school closures, there is also more of a tendency for your children to watch TV more often, playing computer games, or spending more time on social media and the internet. More screen time is potentially damaging to their wellbeing.
Heading out into nature will help to distract their minds from the concerns they have about Covid-19. Being outdoors feels more natural to children, and psychologists recommend that you should try to make life as normal as possible.
Encourages Children To Develop A Healthy Lifestyle
We often take the experiences and habits we develop as children into adulthood. By nature, we are habitual creatures and reenact similar behaviours throughout life.
Teaching the little ones positive and healthy behaviours from an early age stands them in good stead when they get older. Show your children the benefits of being in nature now and they are more likely to make an effort to head for the hills when they are older. They will also be a better influence on their children – your grandchildren.
I appreciate nature walks may not be all that appealing to kids. However, I have a cunning plan. Why not introduce a variety of games to play that are fun, help to educate your kids and give them plenty of exercise. If you need some ideas of fun games to play with children in nature, check out this awesome list.
Baby Shower Ideas: What’s a Sip and See?
Baby showers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes these days. You have parties that are all about revealing the gender of a new baby, and traditional parties where men aren’t allowed to attend. One of the more interesting options to emerge in recent months is the Sip and See party.
Essentially, this is a chance to have family members and friends over for a lighthearted party, where they get to meet the new baby or child soon after they’ve been welcomed into the world. These parties are also excellent for welcoming newly adopted children to the family.
A sip and see can be an excellent way for exhausted parents to introduce their new child to everyone at once, rather than arranging multiple visits.
What Should a Sip and See Be Like?
It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between a baby shower and a sip and see. While the typical baby shower happens before the baby arrives, sip and see events happen afterwards. The sip and see needs to be a very casual and quiet event, as you won’t want to upset the new baby. The chances are that there won’t be as many decorations, but there should still be plenty of food and maybe some soft music to enjoy.
Rather than having a venue for this party, you invite everyone to your own house, which means that you don’t have to rush around getting things ready for a party when you have a new baby to look after.
One thing to keep in mind with a Sip and See, is that it’s less likely to have presents or gifts at this event. However, if your mom and dad to be didn’t have a baby shower for any reason, this is a great chance to give them the gifts that you haven’t had chance to get to them before.
What to Consider When Hosting a Sip and See
If you decide to host a sip and see, then there are a lot of things to consider. These parties are often hosted by new parents themselves. However, if you’re a close friend or family member, then your loved one might ask them to host the event on their behalf – particularly if they’re too tired to work out an invite list and catering on their own.
The invite list will usually be down to the parents, and who needs to see the baby most. However, if you’re inviting people on behalf of the parents, you can always ask them if someone enquires about an invitation. Other things to consider while you’re planning are:
- Refreshments: The word “sip” indicates that there’s going to be some kind of refreshments. Think afternoon tea, rather than elaborate meals and lots of alcohol.
- Time frame: Make sure that people know exactly when the party is going to start, and when they’ll need to leave. Don’t leave it to the new parents to usher people out of the door when the new baby needs to go to sleep.
- Decorations: It’s fun to have decorations at any party, but you’ll want to keep these to a minimum in this case. Guests will be coming to see the baby, and the parents won’t want to have to spend forever cleaning up once people have gone.
- Games and entertainment: If you don’t want everyone to be waiting in a line to hold the baby or see the new arrival, you can introduce some games. People who are waiting around for their chance to see the new child could simply chat over some finger foods, however
Enjoying your Sip and See Party
A sip and see party is a fantastic chance to take some pressure off new parents, who are often expected to parade their child around and show them off to countless people. With this kind of party, you can take the pressure off the parents, and invite people to come and visit on a specific day and time.
If you’re helping parents that you’re close to with this party, one of the best things that you can do is assist with the tidying up portion of the event before and after the party. The mom and dad are going to be looking after the baby, so they’ll definitely want some help making sure that everything looks spic and span.
It’s also helpful to have some hand sanitiser at the door, so that visitors can get their hands clean before touching the child.
How Parents Can Look After Themselves Too!
Parents are, understandably, focused most on the well-being of their children most of the time. That’s in the job description, after all. Yet, this doesn’t mean that moms and dads should neglect their own health, wellness, and/or happiness. On the contrary, no one can do their best parenting work if they feel tired, sore, or even depressed or anxious. With that in mind, today we’ll list a few excellent ways that parents can look after themselves to ensure they’re firing on all cylinders. Check them out here:
Speak to Your Doctor
Obvious? Yes. Effective? Absolutely. Visiting the doctor is far from a novel concept, but it’s very important for parents of all ages to speak with a medical professional on a regular basis –– particularly if they have a specific health concern. On a very basic level, doctors will be able to answer any questions you have about common issues. Can bunions go away on their own? When should I have a prostate exam? How much sleep should I get per night? A regular physician will be able to answer all of these questions and more –– so book an appointment ASAP.
People don’t suddenly stop having needs and wants just because they become parents. Indeed, though parents spend a lot of time thinking and acting on behalf of others, they also need to express themselves. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns, frustrations, desires, and goals. Doing so is healthy, and communication is key to strong familial relationships.
Prioritize Health & Fitness
It’s easy to fall into some bad personal health and fitness habits if you’re spending most of your time and energy looking after children. Fast food, skipping gym sessions, and other bad choices are hard to avoid, but detrimental all the same. That’s why parents need to prioritize their own health and well-being. Schedule time during the day for preparing healthy meals for yourself and your family and get creative about finding new ways to exercise. You don’t actually have to leave your living room to squeeze in a great workout session.
At the end of the day, it’s important for parents to allow themselves to relax and spend some time alone. Blocking out “me time” doesn’t make you a bad parent or a selfish person. Rather, getting out of the house for a while to engage in an activity you enjoy all on your own will help you recharge your batteries and come back refreshed. If you’ve been feeling cramped during lockdown, then do your best to find a day where you can kick back and unwind for a few hours outside of the house. It’ll do you a world of good!