Saturday 24 March 2018

'It's important that our child can trace its dad'

Dil Wickremasinghe and her partner Anne Marie Toole who are expecting a baby. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Dil Wickremasinghe and her partner Anne Marie Toole who are expecting a baby. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

Dil Wickremasinghe (41) and Anne Marie Toole (34) have been together for four years and are thrilled to be expecting their first baby together. Dil is 27 weeks' pregnant and the baby was conceived through IVF using donor sperm.

WHEN radio presenter Dil Wickremasinghe and her partner, psychotherapist Anne Marie Toole, decided they wanted a family, they had to sit down and discuss how to go about it.

Dil is seven years older, so they decided that she would bear their first child. "I saw the last bus coming, so I said to Anne Marie, 'Leg it'," she laughs.

The women attended Clane Fertility Clinic in November 2012, and Dil underwent a battery of tests to make sure everything was working properly.

She underwent an IUI (intrauterine insemination) in January 2014, which involved the injection of a sample of prepared donor sperm into her uterine cavity around the time of ovulation.

This was unsuccessful, so they decided to go for IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation, where an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body and transferred to the womb) in September 2014. They were over the moon to find out two weeks later that Dil was pregnant, and their much-longed-for baby is due on June 1.

POLL: Pregnancy and fertility

"We did a test and couldn't believe that it was positive," says Anne Marie. "We were so happy. I always thought Dil was stunning, but since she became pregnant, she has never looked more beautiful to me. But more importantly, I love her way of looking at the world, as she is such a creative and open thinker."

The new legislation, if passed, will mean that unknown sperm and egg donors can no longer be used. If the bill is enacted, a donor-conceived child register will be developed and administered by an authority.

Dil and Anne Marie discussed the donor options at length, and debated the ramifications for each one, but decided in the end to choose a "known" donor.

"It's really important to us that our child will have a choice and the option to contact the donor at 18 if they choose," says Anne Marie. "The donor can never contact us, but if our child chooses to contact him, he or she will have our full support in that."

Ireland uses Danish sperm banks, and Dil says that the lovely thing about that is that Denmark is the most equality-loving country in the world. The new legislation, if enacted, will have positive implications for Anne Marie, who despite having no genetic link to the new arrival, will now have a legal pathway to be recognised as the child's parent. Prior to this, she wouldn't have automatically been regarded as the guardian.

Nonetheless, in advance of the enactment of the legislation, and to avoid any stress or worry at the happiest time of their lives, she and Dil have an imminent appointment with a solicitor to draw up agreements and wills to protect them and their baby.

"I don't want to be giving birth worrying about what will become of the baby if something happens to me," says Dil. "Otherwise the child might be taken into care. Anne Marie is the only one I trust to take care of the baby, so this legislation is very welcome."

Irish Independent

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