"How do lesbians get pregnant?" | My wife and I's journey to pregnancy.
I get asked this question a lot. More specifically how did I get pregnant being in a monogamous same sex relationship? It always comes with a "I hope this is not to personal but..." And yes, it may seem like a personal question, but I don't mind answering. Some people may feel uncomfortable, but I have always been an open book. I also tend to get a lot of messages from other lesbian couples asking how they can get pregnant.
"Did you go to a doctor to get pregnant?"
No, I did not. Fertility doctors are expensive and as a healthy young adult with no fertility issues, going to a doctor seemed silly to do when many couples get pregnant at home.
"How did you find your donor?"
At first my wife and I didn't know where to start. None of our friends had babies yet, and the L Word was our resource. Should we talk to our male friends? We looked on Craigslist which was a little scary. Then we looked into going through sperm banks. We liked the anonymity and safety of sperm banks. We were prepared for the costs which ranged between $900-1200 a month, depending on who we went through.
The two main sperm banks we looked at were:
But after doing a bit more research my wife found the Known Donor Registry. "KnownDonorRegistry is a free community resource and social media platform built around the need of thousands of alternative families and infertile couples to build their families as they choose, specifically with the use of known sperm and egg donors or active co-parents." Originally it started out as a yahoo group and evolved into an actual website.
We spoke with a few different donors over email, we asked for copies of STD tests, success rates, adults and childhood photos. We weighed the risks and benefits of going through a sperm bank vs a known donor. I grew up not knowing my biological father, and we didn't want our kids feel like they were missing a genetic part of them.
We found a donor we really clicked with through the Known Donor Registry. When we were ready to have a second child our first donor was no longer available and we found a different donor. We are so grateful for the gifts they have given us.
"How did you do it? How long did it take?"
I remember going to the local medical supplies store and purchasing 5 sterile specimen cups and syringes. I felt really silly, because it was fairly obvious why my wife and I were buying them. I paid my $5.05 and the lady behind the counter hands me my receipt and says, "good luck!" I've been found out.
After we lacked stealth at the medical supplies store we dropped the specimen cups off with our donor. When we were pretty sure I was ovulating we let him know and would meet with him, pass off the goods, go home and inseminate.
Always use Artificial Insemination (AI) with sperm donors. Using Natural Insemination (NI) is risky and can have some legal ramifications later if the donor decides they want parental rights or if the birth parent decides they want child support. If you are looking into donors and they only do NI, that is a red flag.
If you are going with a known donor make sure to have a signed and notarized Donor Agreement. You can download a copy of one here. If you are going through a sperm bank the donor has already signed away any parental rights, and you will likely sign a contract claiming sole responsibility.
With my oldest it took 3 months before we got a positive test. I have long cycles and I didn't know much about fertility or fertility tracking at the time so we only used Ovulation Predictor Strips to track my ovulation so our timing may have been very off,
With my youngest we tracked my cycles for a few months before hand using charting and fertility awareness methods with Fertility Friend as well as Ovulation Predictor Strips. By the time we were ready, I knew exactly when I was going to ovulate, and sure enough two days before my period was due, I decided to take a test and it was positive.
"What about the dad? Is he involved?"
This is the question that bothers me the most, and I really hope that people will respect me enough to never ask it in front of my children if they feel the need to ask it at all. Our donors are not our children's dads. They are people who helped us become parents.
As for involvement, the first donor has no involvement. We send a picture now and then with an update via email and that is all. The relationship we have with our second donor is very different. We speak with him a lot more, and have seen him twice since our son was born (he is 9 months old now). He doesn't make any awkward comments or give parenting advice. He is kind of like the cool uncle we see a few times a year.
"What if the kids have questions or want to meet their siblings?"
They probably will have questions, and we will do our best to answer them honestly, in the most age appropriate manner.
As for donor siblings, we don't know any from the first donor. I know they exist, I just don't know who they are. Our youngest however has 4 as of right now. One family we have met, the others we've talked with online.
I hope this has answered any questions people may have, or if you are planning on starting a family it helps you. Feel free to ask any other questions in the comments below and I will do my best to answer.