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Nina Stork - Her story is our heritage

Nina Stork – the woman who created a very special family

It started with frustration about a new law that banned single and lesbian women from having fertility treatment and has since resulted in the births of more than 5,000 babies. Nina Stork is the woman behind StorkKlinik. After opening the first private clinic in Denmark offering insemination to single and lesbian women in 1999, Nina quickly became a well-known face in the media here in Denmark and also abroad. 

Nina Stork found a loophole in the legislation

The story of StorkKlinik started in a bike cellar in Islands Brygge, a harbour-front area in Copenhagen, on 6 October 1999. Prior to that, Nina and her partner Inger had undergone insemination and IVF, but in 1997 the Danish Parliament passed a law that made it illegal for lesbian and single women to get fertility treatment. From that day, Nina Stork and Inger had to stop their fertility treatment.

”I was resentful, bitter and angry. I just couldn’t understand why I as a midwife and my partner as a child physiotherapist were not being allowed to become parents. I stopped working as a midwife. I needed to take some time out and even tried training as a potter”

          Nina Stork, Berlingske.dk, 2013.

Nina Stork and her partner did not manage to become pregnant before the law came into force. But in the midst of their despair, an idea began to take shape. Nina discovered that the law did not apply to midwives: As a midwife, maybe she could carry out insemination of the women? After a good deal of research, she contacted both the Danish Health Authority and the Ministry for Health. Nina was informed that her project was legal, and she decided to throw herself into it.

”It was important to do things by the book. I knew that it was legal but that the venture was contrary to the aims of the law. When I had gotten my answer, I found a tiny little place in Islands Brygge and invested the DKK 50,000 that Inger and I were going to use towards buying a house”

          Nina Stork, Berlingske.dk, 2013.

Right from the start Nina expected that the politicians would try to put a stop to the project. But she was on a mission: She simply wanted to start a debate about why lesbian and single women were not considered to as suited to motherhood as heterosexual women. 

Nina opened StorkKlinik on 6 October 1999. That evening DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) featured it in the TV Avisen programme, and the following day the phone in the clinic started ringing. Nina was busy—extremely busy—and in the following years the clinic steadily expanded. All the while she continuously debated the rights of lesbian and single women to become parents. 

Even though the politicians have tried many times to close the loophole in the legislation, it hasn’t happened. Nina gets lots of media exposure, she gives lectures and lobbies for her cause and gets lots of support from many sides. 

A special environment for women

”I’ve done what I could for the women who are coming here, and they can reflect and know that I’ve been depressed and despondent about the fact that I couldn’t become pregnant”

          Nina Stork, Alt.dk i 2015

Halfway through the process Nina and Inger became mothers to their son Oscar. Nina’s story became a great source of inspiration for lots of single and lesbian women and forms the basis of the ambience and environment that Nina has created in StorkKlinik. 

It is really important to Nina Stork that everyone who comes to the clinic feels like that are in a nice, cosy home, and not somewhere that resembles a hospital. The women must not feel that they are patients. The clinic has sofas and pictures, and there is a warm, personal ambience. Nina also takes the time to source exactly the right equipment to ensure minimal discomfort for women during the insemination process, and the insemination couch she uses is wider and does not have stirrups.  

A bond developed between the staff at the clinic, and the women who come to the clinic feel as if they have become part of a family. 

As the clinic’s success ultimately resulted in the births of more and more babies, Nina decided to start an annual Stork Get-Together – a nice, fun day and a networking source for the children and their families. This annual event attracts families from near and far. And the Stork Get-Together is more than just hygge. It also enables the children to experience being part of a bigger family and the families are reflected in other families, i.e. the families the children encounter are just like their own. 

The Stork Get-Together gets bigger every year and has led to the creation of many new friendships.  Every year since it began, a group photo is taken of everyone who attends the Stork Get-Together. The photos are hanging up in the clinic and bear witness to the shared bond and the families’ experience of being part of the Stork family.

StorkKlinik and the future

In 2007, when the law permitted the resumption of fertility treatment for single and lesbian women, this opened up new opportunities for the clinic. Nina went on to open the Stork IVF Klinik. She employed doctors, gynaecologists, embryologists, etc., and from 2011 the Stork IVF Klinik was offering all types of fertility treatment. It was “mission complete” for Nina. She began to cut down on her management work, and the clinic was sold in 2016.  

”When the law was changed in 2007, it was a major victory and had been the basis of my struggle. I consider myself to lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.”

          Nina Stork, Alt.dk i 2015.

The clinic that Nina founded is really special. Many women come here from abroad, because they have heard of this really special clinic in Denmark. Nina certainly put her mark on StorkKlinik, and its ethos and values are continued on to this day.

StorkKlinik continues to build on the special foundation laid by Nina Stork when she established the clinic. The Stork Get-Together continues to be held every year, and every day single and lesbian women from Scandinavia and further afield, who have the same desires and dreams that Nina Stork and Inger had in 1997, come to the clinic: namely to achieve a successful pregnancy. 

Nina Stork at the Stork Get-Together in 2010
Nina Stork at the Stork Get-Together in 2010

The history of StorkKlinik

1997

A new law on assisted reproduction was passed. This law did not permit doctors to treat women who were not married or living with a man, i.e. single and lesbian women.

1999

Nina Stork started StorkKlinik in a bike cellar in Islands Brygge on 6 October 1999.

2002

The clinic had five employees. 

2006

As the number of successful pregnancies increased, a plan to have a gathering was hatched. Since the summer of 2006, StorkKlinik has hosted the annual Stork Get-Together to celebrate the children who were conceived with the help of StorkKlinik.

2007

The level of interest in the service being provided by the clinic meant that the number of employees there increased to 12. StorkKlinik had to move when it outgrew its original premises. At the same time, the clinic acquired a modern laboratory for the preparation of semen.

In January 2007, doctors in Denmark were permitted to provide fertility treatment to single and lesbian women once more. This afforded StorkKlinik exciting opportunities. Plans were made to open the Stork IVF Klinik and also to employ gynaecologists and embryologists and later to offer IVF, ICSI, TESA, blastocyst culture and egg donation.

2008

In 2008, an external director took over the management of StorkKlinik.

2010

StorkKlinik moved to its current premises on Store Kongensgade. 

2011

The Stork IVF Klinik opened.

2012

An external CEO took over the management of both clinics – StorkKlinik and Stor IVF Klinik (which is now one clinic), while the clinic got a clinical director, who is a doctor.

2016

The clinic was sold and today is part of the European VivaNeo Group. StorkKlinik acquired two sister clinics. VivaNeo took over Ciconia in Aarhus, which is now called Ciconia VivaNeo Fertility Clinic and opened VivaNeo Copenhagen in the building next to StorkKlinik. Together with a number of smaller partner clinics, VivaNeo became a nationwide clinic and is the first Danish fertility chain.

The 3 clinics have 50+ employees. The 2 established clinics carry out approx. 2,000 inseminations annually and at least 2,000 IVF/ICSI, FER, etc. procedures.

2018

Maria Hamm became the new CEO.

Articles about Nina Stork in the media

The midwife with the fighting spirit and donor sperm manning the barricades

14 Januar 2017, DR.dk

In 2017, DR did a piece about Nina Stork and the history of the clinic. You can find the feature from the opening day on 6 October 1999 in TV-Avisen. You can also find the “Will you have my baby?” piece from the DR programme in which Nina relates the background to setting up the clinic.

Read more

Nina Stork has provided fertility treatment to single and lesbian women that resulted in the births of over 4,000 babies

16 March 2015, ALT.dk

The women's magazine Alt for Damerne wrote an article about Nina in 2015 that looked closely at the woman behind StorkKlinik. 

Read more

She fights for the rights of homosexuals to have children 

12 September 2013, Kristeligt Dagblad

In connection with her fiftieth birthday, the newspaper, Kristeligt Dagblad, wrote an article about Nina in 2013. 

Read more

Will you father my child?

13 July 2013, Berlingske

In 2016, the Berlingske newspaper looked at single and lesbian women who conceived using a sperm donor. Along with this, they also did an article on Nina Stork and the story behind StorkKlinik.

Read more

Image source of the header image: www.b.dk/nationalt/vil-du-vaere-far-til-mit-barn

Further topics you might be interested in

We are here for you!

Please feel free to contact us!

Our opening times:

Mon and Thu: 08:00 - 18:00
Tue, Wed and Fri: 08:00 - 16:00
Sat, Sun and holiday: 08:30 - 15:00

Schedule an appointment:

Fill out the contact form

✉ info[at]storkklinik.dk
+45 32 57 33 16

We look forward to hearing from you!