Choosing Gay Babies

Kelly Prizel is here, talking about her thought process on having Gay Babies. Reading her post, I really thought about my fertility situation and resolved once again, not to take it for granted. But more than that, I was struck by how similar we all are, at our core. I was struck by how the overwhelming terror of pondering children is just the same, gay or straight. It’s just when you’re gay, it’s way, way, more complicated logistically, right from the get-go. So, here is Kelly, talking about one of my favorite things in the whole world, babies with two mommies:

Lesbian Courthouse Wedding

So maybe you were expecting a drama-filled post about the struggle with my family being upset that I’m considering having children. Gay babies. Gaybies. And there is that. But actually, right now, I care a whole lot less about what other people are thinking and a whole lot more about me. Because I don’t know what the f*ck I think. I’m paralyzed. And I’m paralyzed by something that I’ve been trying to promote and push for my entire life: choice.

It wasn’t too long ago that there weren’t that many options for two women who wanted to have a baby. Doctors refusing treatment; sperm banks not working with lesbians. There just weren’t choices. And in some countries and states, that’s still unfortunately the case. So I am thankful that I have so many options. But it’s killing me. I feel like I’m in the oft-cited survey where people were shown a table with six jars of jam and others were shown a table with 24 jars of jam. The people shown only six jars bought more jam. I would like to buy some jam. But there seem to be 500 different kinds.

Growing up, I thought you got married, got pregnant, you had a baby, TADA! There were no such thing as miscarriages, infertility, and certainly not gay people trying to have babies. And sometimes I get angry that I can’t just have a romance-filled night, and suddenly, whoops, I’m pregnant! And while some straight people have to go down the path of medical intervention and testing and stuff, most start out with this happy, beautiful dream. But I don’t get that dream. I’ll never get the privilege of looking at my baby and guessing if his or her eyes are from my wife and if his or her toes are from me. Once, when I was talking to one of my best friends about this and how much I want our donor to look like Natalie, I started sobbing when Natalie said in a matter-of-fact way, “Well, it won’t ever look exactly like me.” Because I struggle with trying to make that dream happen even though it’s not realistic. It still hovers in the back of my mind– if I find just the right donor, or if I find just the right fertility treatment, if I do things just right the baby will look like our baby.

With all these choices, a few have already been made for us. I will carry the baby because Natalie has an autoimmune disease that won’t allow her to go off her pills. I secretly don’t want anyone to know I’m pregnant. I don’t want random people coming up to me and Natalie and asking “Who’s the real mom?,” or worse, people we know thinking of Natalie as “the other mom.”

Another choice that’s already been made is that all my medical professionals are telling me to have a baby ASAP because I have a bleeding disorder that only gets worse with age, so my risks go up as I wait. Aside from those few things, everything is in the air.

Do we have a known donor? An unknown donor? If we have a known donor, as I have in my dream scenario, we legally put ourselves in a situation where our baby could be taken away from us. What kind of role would this known donor play? What would he be called? Would he come to family functions? And how do you even ask or pick someone that you know, and be like “Hey, wanna be my baby-daddy?”

Do we want to go all out at first? Our dream scenario because of my health issues/career would be for me to have twins: one with my egg and one with Natalie’s. But that requires a whole hell of a lot of medical intervention. My health insurance currently would cover this, but we only have this insurance until Natalie finishes her PhD which is 4 more years max. So do we try the turkey-baster method first? Or do I have doctors all up in my yin-yang right from the start to make sure we can have this covered? Not to mentioned that Natalie would have to be harvested like an egg-hen. I can’t imagine two women on fertility drugs together. We might kill each other.

And then, when it comes down to it, what are we looking for in a sperm donor? What compromises do we have to make? What’s unrealistic? Do we go for personality and feel if we have a known donor? Or just try to find a donor with the stats that are similar to Natalie’s: brown hair, blue eyes, Jewish, nerdy. Oh, and short.

Honestly, when we first started thinking about babies, I googled if there was any way Natalie and I could merge our eggs and have a child. I shit you not…I was willing to go to a third world country if necessary to have some mad scientist make me a baby. It turns out, they’ve tried with mice, and the results aren’t so great. And we’re not mice. Darn. But really, all these choices, all these options that we value as feminists have me frozen in place. Which path to go down? How will I know it’s right? How do we even start?

All of this has me thinking, “Do I even want a baby?” I like Natalie a whole lot, and we work daily on simplicity in our lives. This sh*t is not simple.

Photo: Kelly’s courthouse wedding, taken by Lara Swanson, of So You’re EnGAYged

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