‘We’re really happy that other couples might see our story’ – Gay couple on the cover of maternity magazine share IVF journey
A gay woman, whose family featured on the cover of national magazine 'Mums and Tots', has shared the emotional story of how they had their child.
Ranae Von Meding and Audrey Rooney had their daughter through reciprocal IVF – a form of IVF where one partner donates the eggs and the other carries the child.
“We felt that for us if we did IVF this way, she would really be a part of us both,” Ranae told Independent.ie.
"Although no matter what way we had had her, she would have been ours no matter what, because it takes more than just DNA or biology to make a parent", she added.
The couple went to Spain last year to access reciprocal IVF, which Ireland does not have.
“Initially we would have loved to do it in Ireland, but we were told they can’t do reciprocal IVF because it’s still considered a form of surrogacy; it’s a grey area.”
“It turns out that it’s very common in Spain. So we found a clinic, and they were just so helpful,” she continued. “We spent a month in Barcelona in September 2015; we were lucky to be able to take that time off work.”
Their first try was unsuccessful, but they had saved eggs and were able to try again. Ranae took the second trip to Spain alone and became pregnant in October 2015.
Their second try was successful and their daughter Ava is now four months old.
“It’s been amazing,” Ranae said. “Life has changed a lot.”
“We both would have spent a lot of time with our nieces and nephews – we have 17 between us! But I don’t think anything prepares you for how you feel. And for the lack of sleep!” she laughed.
Although Ranae and Audrey are married, the legal status of their family is still a concern for them and they have called for more clarity on IVF and surrogacy laws.
“Technically Audrey is not a parent under Irish law,” Ranae said. “I doubt there’d be a hospital or school who would prevent her from coming in, but technically that could happen.”
“A baby needs love, support and safety, regardless of whether that comes from two parents, one parent, grandparents or whoever else. Every family needs to be given respect.”
Ranae, Audrey and Ava feature on the cover of the current issue of Mums & Tots magazine, one of Ireland’s most popular maternity publications and the visibility of their story means a lot to these new parents.
“We’re really happy because when we were doing it, we didn’t know anyone else who had,” Ranae said.
“We got in touch with one couple who told us, ‘There are loads of families!’ We found a Facebook page for Dublin LGBT families, and now we have tonnes of people,” she said.
“The cover story makes us happy that other people that are going through what we went through might see our story.”