Fertility Answers - Helping Build Families

Dawn & Lisette’s Story – LGBT Couple Finds Family-Building Success

LGBT couple finds family-building success at Fertility Answers

LGBT Fertility
Eleanor from birth to one year

Dawn and Lisette’s story began in 2005 after meeting each other at work and falling in love. As an LGBT couple, it wasn’t legal for them to get married for the first 11 years of their relationship even though they were as committed to each other as any other married couple. And as with any married couple, they talked about having a family.

During the initial years they were together, Dawn and Lisette didn’t feel like it was the right time to begin a family of their own. Instead, they found other ways to fill this void by spending all the time they could with their many nieces and nephews. They attended every sports game, band concert, school performance, or lazy Sunday they could. Dawn even worked as a nanny for several years, and they have remained close with that family because of her love for and bond with their children. They did everything they could to have children a part of their lives.

A 2015 Supreme Court decision created new rights for the LGBT community

In 2015, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. “This was a turning point for us,” says Dawn. “We decided that day to get married, and we did on April 30, 2016, almost a year to the day of the announcement.” After getting married, they knew the only thing that would make their little family complete would be a child. They discussed their options and prepared to start the adventure of a lifetime.

The couple began researching different methods for getting pregnant as a same-sex couple and searching for a clinic that was not just LGBTQ tolerant, but also welcoming to an LGBT couple. “We wanted to work with people who wanted to help us start a family. We found that at Fertility Answers,” says Dawn. “After our first consultation we knew we were in the right hands.”

“We know that all couples endure hardships, but as a same-sex couple in South Louisiana, we have had extra hurdles to jump,” the couple says. After all of their years together, they knew that their love and commitment to one another was real and lasting. And their extended family was supportive and ready to shower their baby with love that only grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins can.

Fertility treatment for lesbian women includes needing a sperm donor

A few months after their consultation, Dawn and Lisette decided it was the right time to start trying and they started their first IUI cycle using anonymous donated sperm. Unfortunately, Dawn didn’t get pregnant on that cycle or another one they did  immediately after. They were discouraged and running out of money. But, they decided to try one more time before taking a break and possibly considering other options.

On their next IUI try, at the end of October 2019, their prayers were answered. “We were so excited and in so much disbelief when we saw the positive pregnancy test… and the next one, and the one after that, and another to make sure. Well, you get the picture!” remembers Dawn. She spent the next few days taking pregnancy tests morning, noon and night. “We were so excited to call the Fertility Answers office. Everyone was so excited for us as we came in for a Beta test and ultrasound.”

Dawn and Lisette were cautiously optimistic as they waited until the next ultrasound when they got to hear the baby’s heartbeat. They were thrilled to “graduate” over to Dr. Whitaker, Dawn’s obstetrician. They told their parents and siblings at Christmas that it was finally their turn to give them a grandchild, niece or nephew. They had their first obstetric appointment on New Year’s Eve, not knowing that day would change everything. “We were devastated to find out that just 2 weeks after hearing our little one’s heart fluttering away for the first time, that we wouldn’t hear that sound again,” remembers Dawn. Their first pregnancy ended in a heartbreaking miscarriage at 10 weeks, 2 days.

Without fertility coverage, the couple was limited in their attempts to build a family

Dawn and Lisette were emotionally wrecked by the miscarriage and what they thought was the end of their dream of having a baby. After the miscarriage, they met with the team at Fertility Answers to discuss their options. They decided to wait 3 months and then do one final IUI. “This was our last shot,” says Dawn. “We simply could not afford to continue when our medical insurance didn’t provide any coverage for fertility treatment.”

After this IUI and still struggling with depression after the miscarriage, Dawn convinced herself it hadn’t worked. “I didn’t even test early like every other try!” she remembers. But to their surprise, Dawn was pregnant! After a very healthy but cautious pregnancy, their daughter Eleanor Anne was born in January 2020, one year and a day after the loss of their first pregnancy.

adoption day
Baby Eleanor with parents Dawn and Lisette on her formal adoption day

At 9 months old, Lisette had to formally adopt Eleanor through a “step parent” adoption even though she is on the birth certificate and Eleanor has no other parent (only an anonymous sperm donor). While Dawn and Lisette hated that this was needed, they did it in order to protect their little family in case current or future law in any way did not give Lisette the proper rights to be her parent.

“Eleanor is the light of our lives. She keeps us busy, tired and laughing most days! We are so very grateful every single day for Fertility Answers helping us make our dreams come true.”

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