Monday, 17 August 2009

Facing problems from the past

My mother had been married for seven years with no sign of getting pregnant. This was in the 1940s and infertility treatments were in their infancy.

I do understand how she felt, longing for a child of her own as I had two miscarriages before having my children. I really loved having children and although they are adult now we are a close family and I could not be without them. My mother is a brave, resourceful and determined lady and I was well loved by both parents.

She was nursing in the East End of London during and just after the Second World War and as she had already found that she was fertile she consulted a doctor for help and was told to visit Dr Reynold Boyd in the West End, an acknowledged fertility expert. He talked to both my parents about what could be done if they wanted a child.

Although I knew from my childhood that my parents had waited seven years before I was born and later that my father had had treatment for low sperm count, I knew nothing about how they finally solved their problem until 2009.

I was really worried about not being able to find a bone marrow donor because of the difficulty matching my DNA. My mother told me that I had been conceived by donor insemination – something of an irony in the circumstances. This completely shattered my world and seemed to be an insurmountable problem to finding a donor as records from the 1940s were usually destroyed, few donor-conceived children from that era knew about their conception and the law did not cover treatments prior to the 1990s. I was devastated – not a good state to be in when you are trying to defeat lymphoma.

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