Real Life

Amazing Aussie romance: I married my sperm donor!

In this Woman's Day exclusive, this Melbourne mother tells us she never guessed she’d walk down the aisle with her daughter’s biological father.
Aminah Hart

With a delicate crown of flowers atop her wavy golden hair, three-year-old Leila makes her way down the aisle. Not far behind is the stunning bride, Leila’s mum Aminah Hart, who greets her groom Scott with a warm smile.

It’s not the first time little Leila has been front of the pack. Aminah gave birth to Leila as a single mother through the help of an anonymous sperm donor. Then, in an extraordinary twist of fate, she met the donor and they fell madly in love.

“It really is a case of the cart coming before the horse,” Aminah, 46, told Woman’s Day at the couple’s spectacular clifftop summer wedding in Sorrento, Victoria. “I never thought this day would happen.”

Past tragedies

By the time she was 40, Aminah had lost two children due to a rare disorder called X-linked myotubular myopathy. Only affecting little boys, the disorder is passed on by the mother. It causes muscle weakness so the baby appears “floppy”, with sufferers often unable to breathe or move unassisted.

Aminah was unaware she carried the disorder when she had her first child Marlon with her then-husband Jake. The little boy survived for 14 weeks in 2005.

Three years later, Aminah gave birth to Louis with her new partner Simon. Louis was unexpectedly born with the same condition. He battled through until he was 14 months old, learning to breathe on his own, until one day his heart stopped as Aminah held him in her arms.

On their second meeting, Scott said Leila could call him “dad.”

“Being a mother without children was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to confront,” she said. “It’s one of the most difficult challenges imaginable, to feel like a mother in every way and not have children to parent.”

By the age of 41, Aminah was single again. Recognising her daughter’s deep pain, her mother Helen encouraged her to try 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 the extremes of their coping ability.”

Then, after three failed attempts and almost giving up, Aminah fell pregnant.

Aminah never expected Leila to grow up with her dad Scott by her side.

Helping out

Several years earlier, Victorian farmer and footy coach Scott Andersen had agreed to become a sperm donor after receiving a call from the IVF clinic two years in a row. “I just thought, ‘Why wouldn’t you help someone?’” he recalled.

Scott, a father of four children from previous marriages, made his donation and ticked the box on the form saying he was comfortable being contacted by donor families.

He thought he might hear from a child in a couple of decades, once they’d grown up.

“There’s no way I thought this could happen,” Scott, 44, explained.

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Healthy baby

In August 2012, Aminah gave birth to a healthy baby girl 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 cattle farmer and football coach, Helen found what she thought might be a photo of Leila’s dad on the internet. Aminah decided to contact Scott via the donor Voluntary Register.

“I always had a notion I’d try and find him to see if the door really was open for Leila,” she said.

Aminah never met her own father – he was based in the UK while she was raised in Melbourne, and although she made the trip to find him in her 20s, she discovered her dad had passed away a year before she arrived.

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.

One chilly August morning, Scott opened the door to see Aminah holding his one-year-old daughter.

“It was a very strange feeling – hard to know how to feel. There’s this girl who kind of looks like you and like your other children but it’s not really your child,” Scott remembered.

“She was such a cute little girl, and her mum seemed really easygoing,” added Scott, who agreed to see Leila once a month.

Then as the bond between them strengthened, the trio started meeting every two weeks. Eventually, they fell for one another.

Little Leila looked gorgeous in her flower girl dress.


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,” said 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 was touched to see how they’ve adopted Leila as their little sister. After years of terrible loss, at last she has the family she always wanted.

“I thought when I had Leila that was 
as good as life could get because I finally had a healthy child,” said 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!’”

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