A gay Auckland couple are due to give birth just 12 days apart.
Taryn Cumming and fiancée Kat Buchanan are both pregnant to the same donor, via artificial insemination at home.
The couple — who have been together for two years — started talking about having children “from the very beginning” but, faced with declining fertility and an “extremely expensive” fertility process, decided to take matters into their own hands.
Cumming said they hope their story can help women, whether straight or gay, to access information about fertility and their options.
The West Auckland couple started researching their options in starting a family late last year.
In New Zealand, same-sex female couples can access either IUI (intra uterine insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilisation), but they have to foot the bill themselves.
Donor sperm treatment is funded for single women and lesbian couples, but only when they have not become pregnant after at least 12 cycles of privately funded donor insemination — of which six cycles have to be conducted in a fertility clinic.
With each cycle of IUI coming at a cost of about $1700, and IVF at about $10,000, the couple faced a long, expensive journey.
Cumming, 31, and Buchanan, then 32, had initially planned to wait until the end of 2020 to look at having children.
But when they had their AMH levels tested (which estimates ovarian reserve), they found both women had lower than normal egg reserves for their age.
A doctor told them it could take between six-12 months to get pregnant, so “we had to get going ASAP,” Cumming told Stuff.
At the end of 2019, they turned to social media, and found an “absolutely perfect” sperm donor.
In February, Cumming — the “guinea pig” — self-inseminated for the first time. Unfortunately, it didn’t take.
A fortnight later, on March 5, they tried again — this time with Buchanan using the donor sperm.
Two weeks later, Cumming also tried again.
They learned Buchanan was pregnant on March 21. Exactly a week later, Cumming found out she was also pregnant.
Buchanan, now 10 weeks pregnant, and Cumming, nearly nine weeks, are due just 12 days apart — on November 28 and December 10, respectively.
“It’s crazy,” Cumming said. “We’re very excited.”
Their friends and family were “so shocked, but so happy” by the news they were expecting simultaneously.
The couple intended both would have a child to the same donor eventually, but planned on one carrying to almost full-term before the other became pregnant.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic, the couple weren’t able to accompany one another to their dating scans.
And despite Cumming suffering terrible morning sickness and there being “double the hormones”, the couple say “it’s a beautiful thing to be going through”.
The pair have started an Instagram account and YouTube channel where they plan to document their journey, called ‘2 Bumps Same Love’.
They aim to help others along the fertility journey access “tips and tricks” to do with home insemination, as well as de-mystifying the donor process more generally.