Pu­blished: 24. Oc­tober 2022 | Up­dated: 21. May 2023 Author: An­drea Helten | Re­viewed by An­drea Helten

“We had 18 ar­ti­fi­cial in­se­mi­na­tions in total”

Chris­tiane and I have been tog­e­ther for 16 years now and have been li­ving as a re­gis­tered civil part­ner­ship since 2008, and as a mar­ried couple since 2018. From the be­gin­ning it was clear that we wanted children. Pre­fer­ably three. We saw our nieces grow up, with whom we have a close contact. The two of us have al­ways seen our­selves as a fa­mily. Other cou­ples fight, but for us it was clear: “Not­hing comes bet­ween us”. This strong bond has also been felt by our fri­ends and fa­mily since the be­gin­ning. It helped us to be per­ceived as a “normal couple”. Our mo­thers had no pro­blem with our part­ne­ring, and yet on the “wed­ding day” the phrase we heard was: “It’s just too bad that we pro­bably won’t have any grand­children then.”

“With how much man do we want to pa­rent with?”

We gave a lot of thought to our op­tions as a same-sex couple when it came to ha­ving children — in­clu­ding, for ex­ample, the ques­tion, “How much man do we want to pa­rent with?” We didn’t want to ask a ho­mo­se­xual friend to be the bio­lo­gical fa­ther of our child. That seemed too com­pli­cated. And so we de­cided that we wanted to pa­rent our­selves, wi­t­hout a fa­ther re­gis­tering rights. I was 33 at the time and Chris­tiane 46 — too old for ad­op­tion. So the only op­tion was sperm do­na­tion. Be­cause I am the younger one of us, I was to carry the child.

Tips on ha­ving a child as a same-sex couple

No­wa­days, tre­at­ment with donor sperm can also be per­formed for same-sex cou­ples but in 2009 it was dif­fe­rent and a legal gray area. The he­alth insu­rance did not pay any­thing, be­cause in order to re­ceive sub­si­dies for ar­ti­fi­cial in­se­mi­na­tion, we would have had to prove why pregnancy was not pos­sible na­tu­rally. So in our case it was a bad joke!

Then, at a work­shop with the topic “de­sire to have children” in the Wo­men’s Center we met a single mo­ther who was pregnant at the time. She gave us va­luable tips and in­for­ma­tion.

I had to do the in­ser­tion of the sperm myself

We found a German clinic and a local sperm bank. That was in the spring of 2009. Ever­y­thing seemed easy. We don’t know any­thing about the donor ex­cept that he lives in Eu­rope. Even the blood group was not known.

The pro­ce­dure was no­ta­rized. I had to do the last step of the in­se­mi­na­tion — the in­ser­tion of the sperm — myself. After about two weeks I was told that it did not work. That was di­s­ap­poin­ting, but we didn’t give up.

I started hor­mone tre­at­ment. It seemed to work — and after the se­cond in­se­mi­na­tion we found out that I was pregnant! But shortly after that I had a mis­car­riage. After won­derful news, we sud­denly had to cope with so much di­s­ap­point­ment. It wasn’t easy, espe­ci­ally since the doctor ad­vised us to take a three-month break after the mis­car­riage.

The worst mo­ment

The wait was ter­rible. But we made it — and the next in­se­mi­na­tion fol­lowed. And the next. And the next. Al­ways wi­t­hout suc­cess. A lot of our me­mory is a blur, but I still re­member the worst mo­ment. I don’t re­member today how many at­tempts it was. I only know: I was alone at home — Chris­tiane was on a busi­ness trip — when the phone rang. I knew that this call was from the clinic and that they would tell me whe­ther it had worked this time or not. I ans­wered the phone and learned that this at­tempt had also been un­suc­cessful. That’s when I did so­me­thing I never did be­fore and never did again after that: I sear­ched and found some old pack of ci­ga­rettes in a drawer. And I found al­cohol. Then I got drunk and smoked one after an­o­ther. It was ter­rible.

Lesbisches Paar

Our faith has given us a lot of strength

I had exactly 16 un­suc­cessful in­se­mi­na­tions in total. It was an end­less ride. Loo­king back, we are amazed that we got th­rough this ex­haus­ting time. I think our faith gave us a lot of strength. But also the rock solid re­la­ti­onship bet­ween Chris­tiane and me. It gave me such sup­port to know that I had the ab­so­lutely right partner at my side. But our fa­mi­lies gave us strength as well.

And yet Chris­tiane and I so­me­times had dif­fe­rent views. Be­cause, of course, there was also the fi­nan­cial burden. I would have bor­rowed money from fri­ends to make fur­ther at­tempts, but Chris­tiane slowed me down. We had to set our­selves an end point: We de­cided that by the time Chris­tiane is tur­ning 50, we would stop trying.

Last at­tempt: ICSI

At the end of 2012, Chris­tiane was 49 years old. We fi­nally de­cided, after these 16 at­tempts, to have ICSI. Why didn’t we make this de­cision be­fore? We do not know. Of course there were fi­nan­cial re­asons, be­cause this tre­at­ment is much more ex­pen­sive. Du­ring ICSI we learned that of the nine eggs I had re­trieved, only two were of good qua­lity. In re­tro­s­pect, this ex­plained why the in­se­mi­na­tions were not suc­cessful.

Two days after the re­trieval, the fer­ti­lized eggs were rein­se­mi­nated. On Oc­tober 22, 2012 we fi­nally re­ceived the call we had been wai­ting for for three years, “You’re pregnant!”


The pregnancy as pure hap­pi­ness

I re­member the ter­rific fee­ling du­ring pregnancy: Kno­wing our first qua­dru­plet was in­side me! I en­joyed every mo­ment. The birth, on the other hand, was very ex­haus­ting and took 30 hours. Then, on July 3, 2013, Paul came into the world. The child we had waited so long for! We could not get en­ough of him.

Two years after Paul’s birth, we de­cided to have a se­cond child. And this time it worked out right away. We used the same donor sperm for the ICSI as we did for Paul — which seemed prac­tical to us, be­cause this way both children can meet their fa­ther tog­e­ther later on, if they want to.

An­o­ther mo­ving mo­ment comes to mind at this point: On the day I was in­jected with the fer­ti­lized egg, we had no ba­by­sitter for Paulus, who was one and a half years old at the time. So I simply took him with me. The fact that Paul could watch how his younger sister was in­side me in the form of an egg cell was in­de­scri­bably beau­tiful!

Bi­blical names

So our girl was born in 2015. And she too, just like her brother, bears a bi­blical name: Ra­chel. Chris­tia­ne’s wish was to choose bi­blical names. I didn’t think it was a good idea at first, but when I saw how many of my sug­gested names were bi­blical, I thought, “I guess He guided me there!”

“Dad lives in Eu­rope”

Today we are a very happy, to­tally normal fa­mily. Paul, who is eight years old, often asks about his dad. Then we answer him: “You have a dad, he doesn’t live with us, but he lives in Eu­rope. He is sa­tis­fied with that. When he is asked at school who the other woman next to me is, he says quite na­tu­rally, “Well, that’s my other mommy.”

Loo­king back, of course we wish our child­bea­ring journey had been shorter and less stressful. We cer­tainly could have used fi­nan­cial sup­port. It is a pity that it is so dif­fi­cult for ho­mo­se­xual cou­ples to be­come par­ents and that we had to go to such im­mense ex­pense — just be­cause of the fer­vent de­sire to be a fa­mily.

Chris­tiane ad­opted both children in case so­me­thing hap­pens to me. The mo­ment when we left the court­house and com­pleted the ad­op­tions was ma­gical. There are so many ma­gical mo­ments, you just have to take them.

About Fer­tilly

At Fer­tilly, we have made it our mis­sion to ac­com­pany cou­ples (ho­mo­se­xual and he­te­ro­se­xual) and sin­gles on the way to ful­fil­ling their child wish. In doing so, it is im­portant to us to create trans­pa­rency in the area of fer­ti­lity ser­vices, to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and know­ledge on the to­pics of pregnancy and fer­ti­lity and to help you to find the most sui­table Fer­ti­lity Center. Th­rough co­ope­ra­tion with first-class Fer­ti­lity Cen­tres and cli­nics in Eu­rope, en­qui­ries about Fer­tilly are given pre­fe­ren­tial tre­at­ment. This means that our pa­ti­ents avoid the usually long wai­ting times and get ap­point­ments more quickly.

If you would like more in­for­ma­tion about Fer­ti­lity Cen­ters, suc­cess rates and prices, please contact us using this ques­ti­on­n­aire. We will ad­vise you free of charge and wi­t­hout any ob­li­ga­tion.

  • Answer the first ques­tions in the on­line form in order to book an ap­point­ment. This way we can better ad­dress your needs du­ring the con­ver­sa­tion.

  • We will find the best contact person for your in­di­vi­dual needs. Sche­dule 20 mi­nutes for the con­sul­ta­tion.

  • We will in­tro­duce you to the right fer­ti­lity clinic from our net­work, make an ap­point­ment and ac­com­pany you until your wish for a child is ful­filled.

Talk to us