Kay Ashton MBE

Salford resident Kay Ashton  is on a mission to become a parent, but she is doing it solo with a twist.

The 30-year-old lives with a condition called Neurofibromatosis, something she inherited from her mother.

Neurofibromatosis is when tumours grow on your nerve endings throughout your body.

At the age of 9, Kay Neurofibromatosis caused scoliosis, which is the curvature of the spine. As a result, Kay had to undergo major surgery when she was aged 15.

Sadly, both conditions have caused mobility problems for Kay. Today, she is on a crutch, wears a back brace, foot splints as well as knee braces.

But her condition does not stop her from living life to the fullest and her mission to become a parent.

“I have always wanted to be a parent ever since I was like a wee nipper. You start off with your teddy bears and just like nursing your teddy bears. It just something I have always wanted to do” she explains.

“I first thought about being a parent when I was 21 with one of my first boyfriends, but that didn’t work out.”

“My last boyfriend and I decided we were going to go for children, and because I have got a genetic disability, we had a conversation about how we wouldn’t want our child to go through what I go through.

“It was something as a couple we didn’t want to happen. So, we done research and found out about pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.”

Pre-implantation genetic is a technique used in reproductive medicine to identify genetic defects in embryos created through in vitro fertilisation, also referred as IVF.

Unfortunately, Kay relationship broke down and the dream of becoming a parent with a partner was no more.

But Kay decided she was not relying on a partner to fulfil her dream of becoming a parent.

“I thought I wasn’t getting any younger and I though ill go ahead on my own. I spoke to my doctors last year and said I am ready now I want to go solo and do it with a sperm donor instead” she explains.

The process of PGD for Kay has been relatively okay as of now. She explains: “So far it has been okay. I guess it because I haven’t had to get a load of needles so far. When they start that when I think it will be more complicated”.

Photo credit: Kay Ashton MBE

“It is more checking if I am psychologic well enough to have a child, checking in with my medical team. You know a child is a lifelong thing and the hospital signing the paperwork and me going through this process they need to ensure the best for the child as well.

“Ultimately, I passed, and they were happy with my responses and they understood that I had a fantastic support group in place. That was one of the biggest challenges because it is an open conversation and it is serious stuff you need to think about, but thankfully I had already though of that for the past two years, weighing everything up.”

Although, the coronavirus pandemic has had a knock-on effect on Kay’s journey towards motherhood.

“I guess it has had its up and downs C

ovid-19. It’s slowed it down a hell of a lot, whereas before it was a one year to 18-month process just for an embryo transfer and now your looking at 18 months to two years.

“I am 30 now and I had my first appointment just after my 30th birthday so it would be 32 before I transfer, 33 if I am lucky first time before I have my first child.

“In some ways it is a blessing as you are getting longer to prepare for it, think about things and that you are in a stable condition as obviously situations can change.

“On the other hand, things being slow has the other knock on, you’re going to be 33 before you have a child at this rate and then what if I want a second and then you have to go through that process again” she said.

You can follow Kay’s journey on her podcast Love, Life and Disability which can be listened to on Spotify.

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