This woman never guessed she would walk down the aisle with her daughter’s biological father
A year after Aminah Hart had her daughter Leila by an anonymous sperm donor, she tracked him down because she wanted Leila to know her father. Aminah had lost two children due to a rare disorder called X-linked myotubular myopathy by the time she reached 40. Passed on genetically by the mother, the disorder only affects the boys.
Aminah, who lives in Australia, was unaware she carried the disorder when she had her first child marlon with her then-husband Jake. The little boy only survived for 14 weeks in 2005. Three years later, she gave birth to Louis with her new partner Simon. Louis was born with the same condition, and he battled through until he was 14 months old, learning to breathe on his own, until his heart stopped.
“Being a mother without children was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to confront,” she says. “It’s one of the most difficult challenges imaginable; to feel like a mother in every way and not have children to parent.”
At 41, Aminah was single again. recognising her daughter’s deep pain, her mother Helen encouraged her to try IvF (see “Sperm banking In Singapore” on who in Singapore can receive donated sperm via IvF). Aminah knew she risked losing another baby to the disorder – a boy born to a carrier mother has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the condition – but she forged ahead. “I was desperate for a child. I think that primal desire for a child can drive women to extreme measures.” Then, after three failed attempts and almost giving up, Aminah became pregnant.
Several years earlier, Scott Andersen had agreed to become a sperm donor after receiving calls from an IvF clinic two years in a row. Scott, a father of four children from previous marriages, made his donation and indicated he was comfortable being contacted by the donor families. He thought he might hear from a child in a couple of decades, once they’d grown up. “There was no way I thought this could happen,” says Scott, 44.
A Miracle Baby Girl
In August 2012, Aminah gave birth to a healthy baby girl Leila and she thought life couldn’t get any better. but her mum Helen couldn’t help but wonder about the father’s identity. by using the information on Scott from his donor profile, which specified he was a football coach, Helen found what she thought might be a photo of Leila’s dad on the Internet.
Aminah decided to contact Scott. “I always had a notion I’d try and find him to see if the door really was open for Leila,” she says. Aminah never met her own father as he was based overseas, and as she herself had grown up without a father, she decided she wanted Leila’s dad to play a part in her life.
Aminah’s first communication with Scott was a short email with photos of Leila attached. Scott was taken aback when he found the email in his inbox, but he wrote back and after six months of communication, the strangers decided to meet. Aminah was so apprehensive she almost turned the car around twice on the way to Scott’s house.
A year after their daughter was born, Aminah and Scott met for the first time. “It was a very strange feeling. There’s this girl who kind of looks like you and your other children, but she’s not really your child,” shares Scott.
“She was such a cute little girl, and her mum seemed really easy going,” adds Scott, who agreed to see Leila once a month. Then as the bond between them strengthened, the trio started meeting every two weeks.
“I wouldn’t have said anything but then Aminah said, ‘Look, I’ve got a crush on you.’ I said, ‘Well, the feeling’s mutual.’ but we didn’t know what to do about it,” remembers Scott.
The Fairy Tale Ending
Aminah was concerned if they embarked on a romantic relationship and it ended, Leila’s relationship with her father could be affected. but denying their connection proved futile, and by December 2013 Aminah and Scott were officially a couple.
“As soon as I met her, I knew I wanted to be with her forever,” says Scott, who proposed during a trip to Thailand in october 2014. “It’s pretty simple, really; she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve met in my life, inside and out.”
Aminah has been welcomed by Scott’s kids, who affectionately call her “Steppie”, and she was touched to see how they have adopted Leila as their little sister. After years of terrible loss, she could at last have the family she had always yearned for.
“I thought when I had Leila that was as good as life could get because I finally had a healthy child,” says Aminah. “I’d given up a bit on being able to have it all, on being able to have a partner and a child. Then Scott came along, and said he wanted to be Leila’s dad and I thought, ‘Well, that’s even better!’”