Article Title:A unique journey to motherhood
Category:People
Author or Credit:Sarah Murphy
Published on:30th October 2015 - 12:18 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Internet Archive link:https://web.archive.org/web/20170423044601/http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/33/article_17480.php
NDHA link:http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/ArcAggregator/arcView/frameView/IE28141248/http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/33/article_17480.php
Note that the National Library of New Zealand (NDHA) website uses both cookies and frames. The first time you click on a link it first may take you to the archived front page of gaynz.com. Close the window and try again. This is because the NDHA website uses cookies and you cannot access an indiviual page without visiting the front page first
Story ID:17480
Text:In their first media interview since taking to Facebook in a bid to find a sperm donor, lesbian couple Ashleigh Habgood and Alley Williams open up about their relationship, finding themselves at the center of a viral social media story and their journey to becoming mothers. It's four days since the couple first pushed the ‘post’ button and sent their plea for sperm into the big wide world of the internet. Slightly overwhelmed by the attention they are receiving but grateful for all of the positive feedback, it is clear Ashleigh and Alley are not only loving partners but bestfriends. The couple, who got married in January, grew up together and met at the dance studio which they now co-own. They say that having known each other since the age of seven and being friends since age fifteen they remained close throughout their formative years. Both in long term relationships with men for eight years they joke that as the ‘wives’ of their friend circle their friendship grew stronger and following the breakup of both relationships they realised the love they had for one another. Four and a half years later the women have found themselves at the center of a media storm as they begin their rather unique journey to motherhood. Ashleigh says she just didn’t realise the viral potential of her post: “I just thought people who didn’t have a connection to us wouldn’t be interested, I didn’t think it would be something a complete stranger would care about, especially when a lot more interesting issues are going on in the world right now.” “Our motivation was never to get fame or attention, all we want to do is find a sperm donor but now that this has come along it’s great that we can bring awareness to other people who need a sperm donor.” The couple say that now they have found themselves in the limelight, sharing their story may help to bring fertility issues for same-sex couples into the public spotlight and they recognise that there will be people in the LGBT community who have a much harder road ahead of them. Before this all happened Alley says she found herself feeling a bit jealous of heterosexual couples who could easily have a baby in comparison; “Our process already has been a bit of a mission”, she explains listing off the financial and physical barriers same-sex couples face. Finding great support in one another, the women say all decisions in their relationship are very much equal, sharing a successful business and sharing their lives, they look forward to being able to share parenting responsibilities as well. Having reached the age when traditionally society tells you it’s time to settle down, have they been feeling clucky? They look at each other and smile. “I’m so in love with you I married you partly because I think we could make an amazing family together and that’s exciting” gushes Ashleigh. Somehow finding yourself in the baby section of a department store when you’re overseas may be a tell tale sign that the biological clock is ticking and Alley admits it is a bit hard to escape a Facebook feed full of babies. “I’ve had a few moments here and there where I’ve thought, oh I want that,” she says although they both assure me: “We aren’t feeling the pressure”. Smitten with wanderlust, the couple spent time in the US earlier this year and say that it was a great opportunity to have some time before they start their lives as mothers. It’s clear that the adventures will continue as their family grows. Although they say babies at Burning Man Festival may be going a bit too far, they couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous ten-year olds riding around on bikes out in the desert. Knowing that the process for same-sex couples to have children is often a long and emotional journey, Alley and Ashleigh decided to prepare well in advance and contacted the Fertility Associates in April to find out more information about the whole process. “We wanted to find our own donor and did have friends in mind but they said you may as well be on the list, what’s the harm.” Learning that it would take eighteen months before they would even have the opportunity to choose a sperm donor and even then they would most likely have only three donors to choose from, the pair felt that perhaps they were going to need to come up with an alternative if they wanted to have more options available to them. Going down the adoption route was slightly more complicated, an over the phone interview with a New Zealand agency dealing with international adoptions went well until before ending the call Ash mentioned they were in a same sex relationship and was met with a quick ‘no’. They say living in a small country such as New Zealand distance played a big part in their decision to adopt from overseas and “the fact that you might bump into your child’s biological mother in the supermarket” was something to consider. They realise it may sound naive but they believe international adoption would allow them to help a child who is worse off than a child here. “It’s not only poverty its children who have been treated really badly.” “We’ve traveled a lot, we’ve seen a lot of kids who need potentially more than what a New Zealand child does.” “We’ve connected with a lot of people overseas who have amazing stories,” which is where the motivation came from Ashleigh tell me. Although they are still considering adoption in New Zealand, the one thing they are worried about is that even if they are completely approved “what are the chances of a birth mother choosing a same sex couple over a hetero couple.” Being a same-sex couple planning for parenthood they say they have found support and information has been really accessible, “Fertility Associates have been great and we’ve felt like any other couple.” It’s perhaps the negative reaction to their Facebook post that makes them feel any different. “99% of my life I feel like a normal couple,” says Ashleigh, “but you come to situations like this and you realise oh yeah people still think like that.” Being in a lesbian relationship can have advantages at times like these and I couldn’t help but ask, if being pregnant at the same time was an option. They quickly assure me that’s it’s definitely a no-go-zone, Alley says the ideal situation would be to have one each and adopt one. Potentially who carries first will hinge on “which donor we choose first and who that mixes with best, but really, I don’t know how these things work, you see some parents and their offspring is completely different to them,” laughs Ashleigh. With their list of ‘optional extras’ highlighting their preference for a donor who may come from a different ethnic makeup to them and the fact that their child will have two mothers they say they’ve spoken to experts about how to handle any difficulties that may arise for their child. The best advice they’ve received is perhaps the most simple: “There’s no 'normal' families anymore.” “Family is the people you love and respect and learn from,” says Ashleigh. “Any conversation they might have to have about 'why do you look different from your mummies?' will also be 'why have you got two mummies?' but it will be the same as the person over there who is being asked, 'why have you only got a daddy?'” “I do teenage coaching and we talk about resilience and mental attitude to life and stress management, time management and so on, I think we are pretty well equipped to raise a child who's going to be able to deal with any of those concerns.” Overwhelmed by the positive comments their post has received and the lovely private messages and emails from strangers Ashleigh and Alley are excited about where this journey will take them. The men who have contacted them - they say there have been about 28 serious offers so far - have all sent “really heartfelt, amazing emails”. Whether or not any of these men will end up as the sperm donor of their dreams and prove the power of Facebook, well, we’ll just have to watch this space.     Sarah Murphy - 30th October 2015
Disclaimer:This page displays a version of the GayNZ.com article with all formatting and images removed. It was harvested automatically and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly: access this content at your own risk. A copy of the full article is available (off-line) at the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand. This online version is provided for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of PrideNZ.com. If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us
Reproduction note:Just before GayNZ.com closed in May 2017, the website owners wrote this article about reproducing content from the website: "our work has always been available for glbti people to use and all we ask is that you not plagiarise it... if you use it anywhere please attribute it to GayNZ.com and where there is an authors name attached please acknowledge that writer."