They had a baby together. Then they met and fell in love. Aminah Hart tells The Baby Project the story of how she met her sperm donor and what happened next.
By Margaret Ambrose
Victorian farmer Scott Andersen was walking down a street in the local town when he was accosted by two excited women who, giggling, asked if they could take a selfie with him. Being a polite guy, Scott agreed. It was only after a few minutes that the women revealed the real reason they stopped him: “You’re the father of our friend’s kid!”
“He was just going out for a burger, and they took him completely by surprise” Aminah Hart, Scott’s wife, laughs.
It’s just one bizarre incident the couple have experienced since they became household names last year after telling their remarkable story to Australian Story, part of her life story that Aminah has now turned into a book, How I Met Your Father.
It is the story of how Aminah’s dream of motherhood was made possible by an anonymous sperm donor and how when she met him, they fell in love.
“Talk about the cart coming well and truly before the horse!” says Aminah.
While it’s a story with a happy ending, the story itself is punctuated by unimaginable tragedy.
Before Leila, Aminah had lost two children, due to a disorder called X-linked myotubular myopathy. It’s passed from the mother and only affects boys.
In 2005, Aminah and her then-husband Jake, welcomed a son, Marlon, who lived only 14 weeks. Three years later, she gave birth to Louis with her new partner Simon. Louis lived for 14 months before tragically dying in his mother’s arms.
“I think in a way losing Marlon was the hardest,” says Aminah. “I hadn’t experienced tragedy and I was totally unprepared for the trauma of losing a child.”
Amazingly, despite the loss of two babies, Aminah was keen to have another, and being single and 41, and on her mother’s suggestion, became pregnant using an anonymous sperm donor.
“While I was crushed, I never thought I wouldn’t get up,” she says.
“I was a mother without babies. I think the desire to have children is primal, it’s just so strong – and look out anything that stands in its way!”
Meanwhile, Scott, a twice divorced father of four from his two marriages, made the decision to donate his sperm after his second marriage ended. Why wouldn’t you want to help someone, he thought.
The story could have ended there, but for Aminah’s mother, Helen. She had been the one who suggested her daughter use a sperm donor, and now she was the one urging Aminah to make contact with the sperm donor.
“My mother is awesome,” Aminah says of Helen, a strong single mother herself. “She built me, she made me who I am, she made me forge ahead.”
She was also an amateur detective, and used the information Scott had provided to the IVF clinic, including the fact he was a Simmental cattle farmer and country football coach, to locate Leila’s donor.
“I think I wanted to make contact because of my own circumstances,” Aminah explains.
Aminah never met her own father. She was born in London to Australian-born Helen and her West Indian partner. Her parent’s union didn’t last and Helen moved back to Australia with Aminah when Aminah was a small child.
When she was in her twenties Aminah moved to London and began searching for her father. When she finally located his family, she learned that he had died just a year before.
“I know what it’s like to grow up not knowing much about your father,” she says. “I was the black kid who didn’t look like everyone else, I was teased at primary school – it was always there.
“Then I had this blonde, fair child, and I knew there were going to be questions, and I didn’t want her feeling like I did.”
Aminah admits she went through a few drafts of the first email she sent Scott. “In the end it was pretty short and formal. I wrote that I just wanted to say thanks and I sent him a few photos of Leila.
“He wrote back almost straight away and we kind of developed a rapport over email.”
After six months, the three met, and then began catching up every fortnight.
They didn’t know it but they had taken the first steps to becoming a family. The bond between the three grew stronger with every meeting, and within a few months, Aminah and Scott were a couple.
At the beginning of this year the fairytale was complete, with Scott and Aminah tying the knot at a beautiful cliff-top ceremony in Sorrento, Leila acting as flower girl.
Understandably, Leila is thrilled to have the family together, although at the moment she’s too young to understand the notion of sperm donation and how her family came to be.
“Although,” Aminah says. “Being on a farm is turning out to be handy – the cows, artificial insemination and all that. Enough said!”
How I Met Your Father by Aminah Hart is published by Allen and Unwin, $21.50. Buy it here.