Updated: Jan 23, 2021
Friday 5th September 2020
This was the end of my first week back in work since schools closed as educational facilities in late March. I was afforded the day off to return to London in order to provide my genetic sample (sperm donation) which my clinic will go on to use to create my embryos. I arrived in London around 9:15 but my appointment was not until 11 am, so I opted, once again, to walk to the clinic to pass the time. The weather was fairly settled but it was clear the seasons had changed as there was a slight chill in the air. The streets were much busier this time around, with many on autopilot, phone in hand and heads down. I found myself internally shouting “eyes up!” I arrived at the clinic with plenty of time to spare and treated myself to a chocolate croissant and a large cup of Earl Grey tea at a nearby coffee shop. I watched the world go by from the comfort of my seat and couldn't help but feel a sense of progress in my adventure so far.
Before I could attend my appointment, I was required to undergo home testing for COVID 19. This was posted out to me over a week prior to the sample appointment and had to be returned a week in advance in order for the test to be checked and cleared for me to travel. The home testing kit was fairly easy to undertake and merely contained a long cotton swab and a small tube of saline solution. To begin, I had to take the cotton swab and make contact with 5 different points at the back of my mouth. Following this, the same swam had to be inserted 2-3 cm into one nostril. Neither tasks were particularly pleasant, but necessary none the less. Having sealed the test kit up in accordance with the packing instructions, I made my way to the local post office. Without thinking I bypassed the external post box and headed straight to the counter. “One to post” I stated, and she automatically replied with “place it on the scales”. However, having only taken a half glimpse at the packaging, she quickly did a double-take and asked me to show her the label. At this point, her face was a picture! As she fully came to understand the contents of the package, she quickly stated “That needs to go in the box outside” in quite a flustered manner. In my embarrassment, I apologised and hastily made my retreat. Never a dull moment!
The clinic appointment was as efficient as ever. The usual questions were asked by the reception staff – Have you got a cough? Have you lost your sense of taste/smell? Etc... I had a short wait in the reception area before the same bald and, presumably handsome nurse came to get me. Again, I say presumably as he had a face mask covering the bottom half of his face. but if his eyes were anything to go by, he was a definite 9/10. We proceeded down the stairs into the basement and I was shown into the “Treatment Room”. He asked If I had been before and understood the setup. Firstly, rude! How had he forgotten me in such a short space of time? I had only been here a month ago. But on reflection, it's probably for the best. I'm not sure a long-distance relationship of this magnitude would be one which would last. Left with the same form, stickers and sample pot as before, it was time to ‘do the business’.
Out of all the questions which I received from friends and family regarding my first visit, one question which I wasn’t anticipating was, “So what does the room look like?” For those who are interested, I have included a few pictures below of the salubrious accommodations within which I was left to do the deed. For obvious reasons, I haven't included a picture of the contents of the magazine draw.
And done! I was out in under 35 minutes (no jokes please...filth!) and free to play and roam in the big smoke! Following an enjoyable visit to Camden town, I returned to Oxford street via Soho to do a bit of window shopping. Having lost just over 2 stone in 4 months, I decided to treat myself to a few pairs of jeans from Abercrombie and fitch. They were on sale too, bargain! On my way back to the train station, I even had the pleasure of standing at a crossing with Dermot O'Leary! I was too embarrassed to ask for a photograph, plus, you know… Rona! He was shorter than he looked on TV too, but when you have dated in the 21st century using various technological applications, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Time flies when you’re having fun, and before I knew it, it was time to return home. However, I regretted booking such an early train home. There was still so much to do and see. Next time I would allow myself a few extra hours to explore a bit more. But the excitement wasn’t over as the train broke down as we arrived at Reading station. After a short delay, we were on our way… happy days!
Update: Wednesday 9th September 2020
Today I requested a copy of all of my results to date. I had not received these automatically following each test and I was unaware that these needed to be requested. However, I had not been concerned as I assumed that if there were any problems, someone would have said something. After all, no news is good news! I had previously undergone sexual health checks in May which had all come back negative and as such, these were not my concern. However, I was curious to know the results of my Semen analysis and to ascertain my Blood group.
The results were emailed within 24 hours. As expected, sexual health checks were all negative. But I was pleased to learn that my blood group was ORhD+ (O+), a characteristic which I share with 36% of the UK populations. So I guess it turns out that I am as common as muck after all! The semen analysis results were all as expected and in line with the reference values. Deep down I was concerned that my dad dream could be all over if there was an issue with my Semen Analysis results, or at least made the journey a little bit more complicated. This was without a doubt a huge relief… no pun intended!
Update: Tuesday 15th September 2020
Today I received confirmation that the clinic had successfully frozen 4 vials of semen which should be sufficient for at least one treatment cycle. The samples are now in their quarantine phase and will be released upon receipt of negative post-quarantine blood test results. As such, I have arranged to return to London for a third time in December in order to have blood taken. At this point in time, my characteristics form has been passed to the donation team to add my application to the waiting list for matching.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and keeping the dad dream alive!
Read more from my Dad.Be blog here
Follow me on Instagram @stephens_surrogacy_adventure