This week we welcome Laura Rose Thorogood to the show. Laura is the founder of the LBGT Mummies Tribe, an LBGT+ activist, a lesbian mother of two by IUI, and is currently pregnant again after 5 rounds of fertility treatment.
Laura’s organization supports, celebrates, and reunites the LGBT community on their path to parenthood providing information and guidance on whichever route you choose to create your family.
Laura has had a crazy few weeks of awareness days and months and is balancing this with being 35 weeks pregnant. Laura and her wife started creating their family 10 years ago. They have two children and another on the way, all from the same sperm donor from a US clinic. They’ve both carried children and have navigated failed rounds, PCOS, low ovarian reserve, and, most recently the pandemic, to get to where they are now.
Laura talks about the common pitfalls that the LGBT+ community might face, particularly that they often come to trying to conceive later in life and often don’t consider this and the benefits, for example of preserving their fertility if they’re not ready to start a family until later. Also, the importance of researching the legalities so that all parties in the triangle are covered. Some couples find private fertility treatments inaccessible and may choose to seek a known donor. Laura explains the importance of seeking legal guidance and whilst there are financial implications involved, it is likely to be less costly than should there be any legal challenges in the future.
Laura explains the difference in access to information from sperm back nationally and internationally. In the US and Europe, you have access to more information about the donor whereas in the UK the information is limited to height, hair color, nationality, etc. Sometimes the difficulties in accessing sperm donors in the UK will force couples to use unregulated donors and in some circumstances, this can be dangerous. However, there are organizations such as CoParents and Pride Angle that are regulated and offer a professional service.
The LGBT Mummies Tribe is a central point for information and guidance on starting a family but is also a supportive community to bring other LBGT+ families together. They have a private support group but also get together in person (when the Pandemic allows) for meet-ups.
Laura talks about her interaction with medical services and the microaggression she’s experienced. How, as a lesbian woman, you have to ‘come out’ time and time again. Comments like ‘Who had the baby?’ ‘How did that work then?’ ‘So, you’re the other Mother’.
Natalie asks Laura about the guidance she offers on talking to children to help them understand the make-up of their family. It’s about sitting down as a couple and deciding on how best you address this. It’s very individual and personal, but best done at various age-appropriate sections of their lives.
Laura tells us how the healthcare arena is very heteronormative and the main area where she sees disparity and lack of inclusivity. She hopes that they can one day get to a place where campaigning is not required but is currently working with the NHS and Government to support them in understanding the community better, dispel the stigma and discrimination against them, and ‘usualise’ – making LGBT families visible and the everyday. Laura talks about how she can understand how confusing it is for the heteronormative community and that the LGBT community needs help in the education so that they are better supported. Laura says the NHS and the fertility clinics she’s working with have been proactive in changing for the better.
Laura’s final advice is to take your time, explore all paths to parenthood, join support groups, research, listen to other people's lived-in experiences, and investigated how LGBT inclusive y