What to Do When People Offer You Sperm at Dinner Parties


And other things people to say to lesbians thinking about babies

by Kelsey Hopson-Shiller, Contributor

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Shortly after we got engaged, Julie and I went to a party at a gay lady friend’s house in Boulder. Being a party primarily composed of lesbians, when we walked in there was a gaggle of gals sitting around the coffee table and some folky lady music playing softly in the background. We were doing the settling in thing—taking off coats, handing off bottles of wine—and our friend was introducing us to everyone, “Kelsey and Julie, they’re getting married, they live in Denver…” and so on and so forth, and then we joined the group.

As soon as we sat down, a woman we had not been directly introduced to yet addressed us, “Oh you’re getting married? Do you want kids?” Being women in America, we were familiar with this affliction of the newly engaged/married/coupled and, while bemused by her forwardness, we answered that yes, we thought we’d probably want kids someday. The woman, whose name we still did not know, smiled, “Oh who’s going to carry? Are you going to use a known or unknown donor?” We laughed a little uncomfortably and I looked around the room waiting for someone to announce that this whole thing was a joke, but no help was forthcoming.

“We haven’t really worked out all of the details yet,” Julie finally told her. The woman looked disappointed—possibly in us for being so unprepared, possibly just in Julie’s refusal to respond to her inquiries about our reproductive plans. I switched the topic to horses and topped off my wine.

In our experience, people are endlessly fascinated by the mechanics of LGBT child acquisition, especially if one (or both) of you plans to have some sort of physical participation in the making of your child. We have been lucky; most of the inquiries and offers we’ve received have been from people who love us and genuinely want to help us, or better understand where we’re coming from. We’ve had it all, from wives offering their husbands’ sperm to us at the end of a long, leisurely happy hour, to perplexed questioners asking if one of us really couldn’t stand “being with a guy” long enough to get the job done and “save all that money” we’d be spending on reproductive intervention, and finally, when Julie met up with a friend who simply asked, “How’s that going to work??”

And, joking aside, these are questions for us as well. Really, how is this going to work? One of us feels strongly about experiencing pregnancy. One of us feels that a genetic connection to our child is more important. We have indeed had several male friends offer to contribute, but what’s the etiquette on taking someone up on that? Can you call up a friend who lives across the country and, after a suitable interval of small talk, be like, “So, we’re ready to take you up on that offer to FedEx us some of your bodily fluids now…”? And if there’s someone we know who we’d like to consider, but hasn’t offered, how do we bring that up? I’m guessing we should involve liquor? Also, for us, it’s not really a matter of being able to tolerate “being with a guy,” but that option does bring up some logistical and emotional concerns. On the other end of the spectrum, in vitro is expensive, perhaps prohibitively so, but there are also physical and emotional things to consider there as well. There don’t seem to be any easy answers to how we plan to have a baby.

The fact that this is not easy actually makes perfect sense to me, because we’re not only discussing how we’re going to get a kid; we’re discussing how we want to build on to our family. Which, is actually a bigger discussion in a lot of ways than how to ask someone for his sperm. I’m grateful that this topic has kicked off some other conversations for us—conversations about vulnerability, and how we feel about our bodies and how we use them and take care of them. Conversations about what makes a person “family,” and how someday discussing this with our kids introduces considerations of how we want to parent. We will never have an “oops” baby. Our kid (kids?) will not be a happy accident. And, just like every couple who has some conception related struggles, gay or straight, sometimes we really wish we could wake up to an unexpected pregnancy.

One of our unwritten intentions for this year is to try to sort out some of the logistics of what having a baby will look like for us. This feels like a huge emotional leap because, while we’re (and I can honestly say we’re, at least for now) not planning on getting pregnant this year, we are taking the necessary steps so that, when we are ready, these philosophical questions are no longer a barrier. There will be a plan, and when we decide it’s time, the plan will be executed—which will bring it’s own set of challenges and questions, I’m sure.

Until then, we look forward to the day when we will attend another lesbian party and the answer to who is going to carry will be obvious, and instead we can deflect questions about water birthing, and doulas, and epidurals, and breastfeeding, and who our kid is going to call “Daddy”—and one of us is really going to be wishing that topping off her wine was socially acceptable in her condition. Maybe we will get super lucky and there will be a new couple in the room that we can deflect the scrutiny on to—perhaps by asking them about when they’re going to get married and who is going to propose.

Kelsey Hopson-Shiller

Kelsey lives in Los Angeles, CA. with her wife, Julie, a nice Jewish girl from New Jersey. They have too many pets for a one bedroom apartment. Kelsey really likes reading books in the sunshine, as well as hunting for donuts and superior happy hours in their new neighborhood.

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  • scw

    oh kelsey, I hope you keep contributing to apw for a long time!

  • lady brett

    this is kind of the bright side to being the only folks we knew to do any of this traditional stuff – when none of the people at your parties know how weddings and children work, you don’t get very many questions about sperm.

    (also, one of our kids called me “daddy” for a few weeks – it was the *best* =)

  • Emmy

    “We will never have an “oops” baby. Our kid (kids?) will not be a happy accident. And, just like every couple who has some conception related struggles, gay or straight, sometimes we really wish we could wake up to an unexpected pregnancy.”

    I can relate to this so much. My wife and I both want kids, but thinking about all the money we have to spend and all we have to go through to get there is so overwhelming. Like you two, one of us really wants to experience pregnancy, and one of us feels strongly about having a genetic connection to our kids. We also get weird looks from non-gays when we tell people we aren’t going to wait long to try to get pregnant. (We’re late twenties/early thirties newlyweds, pretty standard time to be considering babies if you ask me.) It’s like there’s some assumption that gay people should wait until they’re much older.
    Also, Kelsey, you are my favorite writer on APW.

    • Lian

      Seconding late twenties/early thirties newlyweds being a pretty standard time to be considering babies! (not that anyone needs to consider that then, but that if you do, it shouldn’t be viewed as weird, regardless of gender).

      As someone who does not have to deal with these issues, it sounds like one partner really wanting to experience pregnancy and the other partner really wanting to have a genetic connection, is actually not the worst situation to be in. While IVF is very expensive, it can do exactly that. Not to minimize your situation because, well, the money is a big deal and also I imagine having to go through all that trouble feels somewhat unfair, but this is easier to solve than both partners wanting to experience pregnancy or neither partner wanting to experience pregnancy with one or both wanting to have a genetic connection…

    • Helen

      Good luck with your family-making! the weird looks are probably people’s frozen faces as they frantically try to get it all straight in their heads. Even with all the good intentions in the world people still have difficulty with the idea that we’re married. “like, who’s the wife?”

    • Jennie

      The funny looks about age may not be just a gay couple thing. I was 28 when I got pregnant and 29 when our daughter was born. I had one person go as far as saying I was a young mother. Granted I live in a city where the average age of first time parents is early/mid thirties, but really, 29 is a young mother?

  • jspe

    Thank you for this essay! It seems like Brooklyn has a whole bunch of community midwives who do IUI for waaay less than most of the traditional fertility places I’ve seen…but I don’t live in Brooklyn (and neither do you). We also feel weird planning for potential pregnancy around our wedding, but it does feel like something we need to be preparing for now in terms of the finances etc. I could write a whole other set of commentary around the people who offer us sperm in less than ideal ways.

    • Helen

      yeah, we’re planning for early 2016, so yeah, WAY ahead. To be honest the ‘finding sperm’ part is really the second step. We’ve been spending about six months working out what our ‘ideal’ situation would be, in terms of conception and then parenting, and then what our non-negotiables are. It means now we’re starting to meet potential donors, we’re both totally on the same page. It also doesn’t have to cost that much – your local GP should be able to do it!

      • KPM

        I’m actually working on a grad school thesis right now & would love to hear more about your thought process. Made a separate comment about it so please contact if you’d like to share. Thanks!

  • Laura

    My friend and her wife are finally pregnant after just about a year of trying! Which is suuuuuper exciting!!! And this pieces resonates with their story – conceiving was a pretty fraught process for both of them, after they had gone through all of the questioning and scrutiny and finally made a plan of action. And of course they are now pestering my husband and I to get on the baby wagon. Hah!

  • Nell

    Thank you, Kelsey for writing this. And thank you, APW, for being the only wedding blog that I know that deals with issues beyond “I can’t find candles in my color scheme.” <3 <3 <3

    One thing that you didn't talk about – but took some negotiation for me and my future wife – is how you as a couple decide to reveal/not reveal what you've decided privately child-having plans. For a long time, I did not want to tell any of our friends about this stuff because it invited a lot of opinions/commentary. Even well-meaning comments can dredge up all sorts of feelings. Over time, I've become more comfortable being open about what our Plan A is for expanding our family – because these friends of ours are going to be our biggest support system when we have a screaming infant and zero sleep.

    • KPM

      Hi, I’m a grad student working to develop a product/service that helps queer and lesbian couples (or individuals) have the conception experience they want. I posted a comment above if you want more info. If you’d like to share your experience & help us develop a solution that really meets the needs of others who are looking to have a baby, you can contact me at plusonesurprise@gmail.com. Thanks!

  • Mags

    I love your writing Kelsey and think you’re a fantastic contributor.

    That being said, can we stop being jealous about “oops” babies? I had an “oops” pregnancy and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced. I had serious health problems and was not ready emotionally or physically to be pregnant. I love my child so much and am so glad he is a part of my life, but I really really wish I had the opportunity to plan more for his arrival and my pregnancy. I spent months of my pregnancy and post-partum period thinking I was a horrible mother because I wasn’t ready and not sure I wanted him. This is hard stuff and we wouldn’t casually say “I wish I was missing a leg because then I wouldn’t have to deal with this walking stuff” which to me is a lot like “I wish I had an oops baby so I didn’t have to deal with this baby planning stuff.” I know being LGBT and having a baby is hard, just as being straight and having baby-making problems if hard (and expensive, etc, etc, etc), but “oops” babies can also be immensely difficult.

    • lady brett

      i would just say that, generally speaking, i don’t think it is being said casually, and is certainly not intended to devalue the difficulty of an unintended pregnancy. i think it is just a natural inclination to trade in the hard you are in the middle of for an equally hard situation that is at least different.

      that, at least, is my very personal take on it – as someone for whom pregnancy is one of my worst fears, i reached a point of desperation where even i got jealous of the idea of an “oops” baby because whatever problems that might bring with it, it would at least solve to problem that was threatening to ruin the best thing in my life. perhaps not the most rational thought, but there it is. i imagine it’s a much easier leap to make for people for whom pregnancy is the goal.

      and i am sorry that it feels flip and is hard to bear from your experience.

    • Lian

      I think this stems from the wide range of situations that are called “oops pregnancies”. I think the wish is for the situation where a happy couple is a bit careless about birth control and ends up with a child earlier than they would have otherwise. Like when people say a pregnancy was ‘unplanned’ and then it turns out that they weren’t on birth control (and were freely, consensually having regular sex). That’s not really unplanned, it’s just poorly planned.
      And that is lumped in with your situation which is obviously very hard and not something to wish for.

      So I understand the sentiment ‘I wish we could have an oops baby’ while also understanding why that bugs you!

      tl;dr *hug*

      • TeaforTwo

        Yep, I think there is a whole world between. I had an unplanned pregnancy about ten years ago that I chose to terminate. It was not particularly enviable. But now that my husband and I are trying (and repeatedly failing) to conceive, I do have a lot of people in my life (or at least, two siblings) who have very wanted surprise pregnancies. (One who decided they would start trying, only to find out she was already pregnant, and one who was told years ago they would never conceive without IVF and then did.)

        An unwanted pregnancy is…terrible. I know the feeling that your body has turned on you, and it’s awful. But unplanned and unwanted can be two different things.

        • Lian

          Yes, “unplanned and unwanted can be two different things”, I think that is the crux of it. But it is so hard to talk about a pregnancy being unwanted… And so the stories people hear of “oops pregnancies” are more the unplanned-but-wanted type, and I understand being envious of that (I mean, we’re newlyweds, planning to have kids relatively soon, and if my birth control failed me now it would be unplanned but very wanted, which is clearly miles away from your experience!).

    • EF

      I was an ‘oops’ and then unwanted child. I’m gonna go ahead and say Mags has an excellent point here.

      And sure, yeah, it can cover a bunch of situations…I don’t know that it’s ever good for a kid to be told they were an accident.

  • Jenny

    I love how “being with a guy long enough to get the job done” makes it sound like a “one and done” kind of deal. Ha! It doesn’t always (usually?) work that way. It could mean being with a guy many times, over many months, which would only multiply the logistical and emotional concerns.

    • Amy March

      Not to mention that depending on where you’re living, all of a sudden you have a whole host of complications with the legal father of your child.

      • SarahG

        Yes. This kind of comment really betrays the total ignorance of folks privileged enough to never have had to encounter the complex legal situation of donor vs father. At least in CA, the sperm needs to pass through the hands of a medical professional (i.e. get inseminated at your doctor’s office or a bank) in order to sever the legal relationship; otherwise, you have to wait until the child is born. And what if the donor then decides they DO in fact want to be legally responsible? Gah. Sex with your donor is not a simple solution.

    • Allison

      And, do people suggest that to couples who are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant because of one partner? I just… what? I applaud you for exhibiting such grace when faced with these questions. I would probably not handle it that well.

      • StartCloseIn

        Some do, and it’s usually along the lines of suggesting who would be attractive for an affair or whose hair color is like my husband’s so, you know, “wouldn’t know.” Wink wink. Always done in a laughing way, but still unbearable.

        • TeaforTwo

          Don’t stay friends with those people.

    • TeaforTwo

      Right? Can you even IMAGINE saying that to a woman in a straight relationship with an infertile partner? “You can’t just be with a different guy long enough to get the job done?”

      I mean, I obviously can’t imagine saying it to anyone.

  • Meg

    I kept looking for the part where you tell them to fuck off! people are so nosey and inappropriate!

  • InHK

    As a straight lady, I suddenly feel like I should complain less when people ask me when I’m going to have kids. I mean, damn! I’ve never had anybody ask me about sex logistics.

    Here are my imagined responses to “When are you going to have kids?”

    “I think it would be too confusing for the cats.”

    “I’m so glad you asked. We just found out that Sam is totally infertile and I have been dying to talk to someone about it. I have a diagram of a penis that helps explain his … issue … in my purse.”

    “I’ll have kids when Tibet is free of Chinese oppression.”

    “You know we would, but I’ve already rented my uterus to a bunch of surrogacy agencies.”

    “I sold all my eggs to pay off my student loans. So we can’t have kids, but there are about 15 mini-InHKs running around in Florida.”

    “Quiet, you!

    • Lian

      “What are you talking about? My kids are right here. Look. Here. Why are you pretending they don’t exist?”

    • Lauren from NH

      My FSIL recently asked if we would be getting rid of our cats when we have kids.

      Lauren: ….???

      • Sarah E

        My grandmom once asked my mom if she would get rid of her dog (which she had raised from puppy-hood) when she married my dad, since he was allergic. My mom replied “He can get shots, can’t he?” That particular dog ended up being great pals with my dad, and we had dogs our entire family life together.

    • ML

      Love your ideas! I always want to say, “Tonight, if I’m lucky!”.

    • Manda9339

      “We already had some, but due to the oppressive child labor laws here, we had to send them overseas to earn their keep.”

    • Sarah E

      “Well, we’ve been looking for *just* the right moment to have some great unprotected sex. What would you suggest? Can we use your powder room?”

  • Christina McPants

    Oh. My. Gawd. The inlaws had a party to welcome our daughter and I had a guest ask how we “got” her, thought I was a surrogate and then interrogated me about how we picked a sperm donor. Did I mention she originally thought the party was because my inlaws had adopted a dog?

    Some people feel entitled to information that’s extremely personal, whether it’s why a heterosexual couple doesn’t have children (waiting, trying, infertility, child free) and a gay couple’s plan to procreate.if they thought about the emotional investment behind those questions, I really think most wouldn’t ask. I don’t ask how you made your babies, why would you ask me how I made mine?

    • Nell

      I can’t believe you had to go through that! What a clueless person and what a thoughtless response she had to this big exciting life event.

      I really wanted to create a list of appropriate responses to someone announcing that they’re pregnant/adopting. They include “how exciting!” and “congrats!” and “oh man, you guys are gonna be super sleep deprived!” At no point should the word “sperm” be uttered if you are not the closest of friends.

    • KPM

      Ugh, only comment should have been about how adorable your daughter is!

  • Annie

    Thank you! We’re in the same boat, and my wife and I have started talking seriously about what it means to expand our family. Glad to know we’re not so alone, because it feels very, very, lonely and bewildering.

    Even friends who have been 100% open-minded on allllllll sorts of gay marriage questions/topics have shared really forceful opinions about our family plans, which is odd.

    I don’t know why babies has been a much for fraught topic for us than getting married. Maybe because it hits at the intersection of bodies + politics + ethics + privacy + new life, whereas marriage seems more out in the open. And we don’t have as many guides / trusted couples to look to as models (see: minding your own biznass about somebody else’s hoo-hah).

    But really, how do you ask someone who hasn’t offered to be your sperm donor? Is that taboo? We don’t want to be the crazy lesbians desperate for sperm, but we don’t want to assume the answer is no just because we haven’t asked.

    • Lian

      I’ve never had to ask someone for sperm, but if I imagine someone asking my husband for sperm, I would want it to be in such a way that the request is explained to him and then no response is required. Definitely not any type of immediate response (but options to ask questions). So doing it in such a way that the potential donor doesn’t feel put on the spot. Maybe even going so far as explaining in a letter / email, and saying they can contact you for questions, and that you definitely understand if he doesn’t want to do it, but explaining why you asked.
      I don’t know, it’s a tough situation!

    • Helen

      Hi Annie – we’re just in the same boat. We’re having chats with two guys next week, both potentials. For us, we’ve found skipping over the circle of close friends and going for friends of friends has worked best. It means there’s no danger of the guy feeling like he doesn’t want to let you down, saying yes, then pulling out (pun intended) down the track. It’s a bit easier for us, I guess because we don’t really have any feelings about who donates beyond being healthy and being emotionally on board with what we’re doing. I’d say asking isn’t taboo – but it has to be done sensitively. At parties with booze hasn’t worked for us yet!

    • KPM

      Hey, I don’t have a direct answer to your question but am working on a grad school thesis around this issue & helping creating resources/services that would help queer couples trying to conceive have the experience they want. If you are down to talk about your thought process, I’d love to. I posted another comment with my contact info.

  • Mezza

    I WISH my friends would offer sperm at dinner parties! My wife and I have a plan pretty much figured out, but the actual step of approaching either of the friends we’re hoping for as donors is…daunting. Especially coupled with the fact that we’re the first in our friend group to be anywhere near ready to have kids. We’re both turning 30 this year, so while it’s not actually a pressing issue, it’s also not like we’re super young to be thinking about it.

    It just takes so much actual proactive decision-making. I can barely decide where to go for dinner; how am I supposed to decide when to make a major life change?

    • Helen

      yeah, my reaction was the same. I’m like “EVERYONE HERE HAS SPERM, GIVE ME SOME”. But o course, it’s more complicated than that… I’d say start prepping now, before it becomes pressing. I’m 31 and my wife 32 – we’re planning for early 2016 and are grateful that we’re still feeling pretty chilled about it. Nothing like desperately ticking clocks to make a man feel super pressured….

    • SarahG

      Totally hear you — it’s so awkward! And such a Big Life Moment. I was just talking about this with my husband. His bff is gay and she and her wife want to have kids and give birth — they aren’t talking about donors yet but I told him, as one of her only male friends, he shouldn’t be surprised if she asks, (he was like “whaat?” so I’m glad I mentioned it) and he should also try to make feeling flattered the primary emotion he communicates to her, even if he decides against it, because it’s such a brave and difficult thing to ask. (I would be fine with it myself, as long as we had a child first… this is because I am hella old — 39 — and may have a hard time conceiving, and it would break my heart if his only genetic offspring wasn’t with me. Silly, I know. After we have one, I’d be fine with it if he was.) Anyway, I wanted to offer my perspective, as partner-of-maybe-possible-donor — I do think it’s really an honor to be asked, and people should be flattered by it, even if confused or bewildered. Having seen a lot of friends do this (I’m bi and my friend group is mostly queer) I’d say it goes best when everybody is really clear about what role the donor should play, if any. Vagueness is to be avoided — saying “like an uncle!” doesn’t really help because there are so many types of uncles. Anyway, my random two cents. I’m sure you guys will do it fantastically and whomever you ask will be flattered! It’s a hard thing to do but then you have the kid, and it’s worth it <3

    • KPM

      I’m actually in the middle of a project around lesbian/queer conception and figuring out sperm donors has often come up as one of the trickiest parts. My project is my grad school thesis. I’d love to hear more about your thought process. I posted a separate comment with more info & my contact if you want to share.

  • anon

    My husband and I have been debating about whether or not we should offer sperm to some friends, and if so, how to do that. We understand they may not want this or may not take us up on it, so we’re not sure if we should offer at all, or if so, how to do so in a way that’s not super-awkward. Any thoughts?

    • Lian

      Well not at a dinner party I’m guessing ;)

      Have you already talked about wishes for reproduction? I.e. have they mentioned wanting to have children? If not, I’m not sure if I would bring it up, or I would start with just a conversation about kids and dreams for the future (yours and theirs) to figure out if they even want kids. If they do, I would probably mention it sometime when you’re hanging out with just the four of you, saying something like “So, you don’t need to respond to this, but we just wanted to say that if you are looking for a sperm donor would be willing to donate. If that’s something you want we can talk about what you would want that to look like, in terms of involvement in a child’s life, and stuff. Of course you don’t need to take us up on it but we wanted to let you know it’s an option.”
      Or something?

    • jspe

      I have friends that have…not quite offered, but made it clear they are open to the conversation. But it came up when I started talking about the kinds of things we are thinking about as we ponder baby-making. And they mentioned that they had thought about offering to someone else. That said, I wouldn’t formally offer unless you are really ready for the various ways this could shake out – they might ask you to sign binding legal agreements, they might not want to ever aknowlege who you are to a future child, it might not work and any sadness you feel could be yours to carry. Not suggesting you aren’t open to these options! But I’ve heard of many “deals” falling through and being really difficult for both parties, so more just to say – worth thinking through what you are offering or expecting here. Or not! I’ve just got this on my brain, so I’m thinking (too much) about the many permutations.

    • emilyg25

      Do you know that they’re planning to try to conceive? Have they talked to you about it at all? If so, then I think it’s okay to say in some private moment, “Hey, this is totally weird and awkward, but H and I have been thinking and we want you to know that he would donate sperm if that’s something you’re interested in.” Just don’t have any expectations of how the encounter will go and be prepared to change the subject!

  • emilyg25

    I know being in a same-sex relationship makes this all more complicated, but even as a hetero lady, I can relate to some of this. My husband had a vasectomy years before we met, so we had a lot of thinking and planning and preparing (and paying!) to do before we could conceive our kidlet. And yeah, friends offered us their sperm. Um, thanks? I tried to understand that it’s a very generous offer, but man, is it awkward. Of course, we had the privilege of keeping everything private if we’d chosen. Being a lady married to another lady makes everything a hell of a lot more public.

  • Rose

    “We will never have an “oops” baby. Our kid (kids?) will not be a happy accident. And, just like every couple who has some conception related struggles, gay or straight, sometimes we really wish we could wake up to an unexpected pregnancy.”

    I’ve been feeling a lot like this recently. I know that logically, I wouldn’t choose to have a kid right at this point in my life even if I magically could right this minute without any of the challenges of getting pregnant. But, I also know that if I did get accidentally pregnant (which obviously isn’t going to happen to me, with another woman), we’d be able to make it work. It would be hard, and parts would suck I’m sure, but we could do it. And when I just don’t want to wait for another five years until I have a job, and *then* have to figure out everything else too, I do wish. I’m more mature and more qualified to support a family than my cousin, but he gets to be careless with birth control and get a kid and a happy family out of it, and I have to be responsible and plan and wait. It does sometimes seem really unfair. (and, although I’m not glad that you’re frustrated by it too, it’s really nice to read someone else in a similar situation having the same thoughts.)

  • TeaforTwo

    I honestly don’t know why ANYONE still asks ANYONE questions about this, or offers unsolicited commentary. Between my own experience and what my good friends share with me, it seems like the safest thing to do is to assume that family planning is a sensitive topic for all women of childbearing age. (And possibly well beyond.)

    My husband and I have always wanted a big family, but now that we’ve been trying unsuccessfully, even the seemingly open-ended and innocuous “so do you two think you want kids someday?” makes me wince. Add to the mix all of the folks I know who have recently lost pregnancies, are in the middle of IVF, can’t afford IVF, are giving up on IVF, are pregnant and unhappy about it, or have marriages that are crumbling over a disagreement about whether or not they want kids and…just don’t bring it up. Be a good listener, but never be the one to bring it up.

    • Not Sarah

      Some people also don’t like being told what they can’t ask. My mom, while we were all cleaning up Christmas dinner, asked my cousin’s husband (they’ve been married 4 years now and are in their early thirties) when they were planning on having children. I later told her she shouldn’t ask such questions because it could be quite upsetting to them if they’re trying to get pregnant and having difficulties and she got upset with me for telling her what she can and can’t ask people. /headdesk

  • Keren

    Hey guys, as someone who is part way down this weird, exciting, sometimes-disheartening, often confusing journey myself, once you dig into the technical, medical and Big Decisions stuff you can get a bit of information exhaustion.

    My best advice? Find someone who’s done non-traditional baby-making before. Gay or straight, it doesn’t really matter. Talk to them about everything – this is a situation that our medical and legal systems are still relatively new at dealing with so the more stories you can hear about how others have done it/dealt with tricky decisions and conversations, the better.

    A few pals and I are pulling together a resource website with info about all this stuff (and hopefully a forum for people to meet and share advice/stories). Template legal docs, info about different medial procedures (and indicative pricing), questions you need to ask yourselves, questions you need to ask donors/surrogates – all that kind of stuff. If anyone’s interested, I can let you know a link once it’s up.

    • ruth

      Oh please share the link to your site on APW! I would be very interested! Thank you!

    • KM

      YES PLEASE PLEASE MAKE A RESOURCE SITE! Why is this not all over the internet already?! In the meantime if anybody could share blogs or other sources for queer parenting/conceiving support and examples, that would be much appreciated

    • Mezza

      Awesome project!

      Relatedly, if anyone is located in NYC, the LGBT community center here runs seminars for family planning. We went once (and will probably go again when we actually try to get started) and found it super helpful to just learn about how other people have done it and talk through the options. Maybe other centers have such programs as well?

    • Keren

      Ok guys, I’ll share this somewhere once we’ve got it pulled together. I don’t want to hijack the APW site though (this isn’t meant to be a self-promo, just seemed like it might be useful!) so I’ll check with the dudes to make sure they’re ok with it. Also, two disclaimers: This is very much a work in progress – we’re only STARTING to collate the material and site functions will be limited at first. Second, we’re based in NZ so a few things might be different for you guys in the states. Still, hopefully useful!

    • KPM

      Hi, I’m actually doing a bit of the same in the US as my grad school thesis. I posted more about what I’m up to above. I’d love to chat. You can reach me at plusonesurprise@gmail.com. Thanks!

    • marnni

      Hi Keren – I’m also in nz and have some experience i’d love to share with you – is there some way we can get in touch?

  • KPM

    Hi all, I’m fairly new to this community but this post actually is *incredibly* on topic for me. For my thesis project, my team and I are focusing on designing a product and/or service that supports lesbian and queer couples in having a supportive, safe, and positive conception experience. We are currently interviewing couples and individuals who have had kids as well as couples who are interested in having kids in the future. We are interested in better understanding their experiences and challenges. (Additionally, we will be interviewing OB/GYNs, Midwives, and other experts to get a rich understanding of the full scope of options, challenges, and support systems for queer couples interested in starting a family.)

    I’ve seen some incredible sharing on all sorts of topics on APW & would love if anyone would like to share more of their experiences around conception. If so, reach out to me at plusonesurprise@gmail.com (email for the project, I answer it)

    • Helen

      Hi, happy to share, although we’re fairly early in the process. Weirdly enough my wife and a friend (who is starting conceiving next month with her wife) are having a meeting today about creating something similar in nz. There will surely be useful cross pollination there! I’ll share your email with them and will flick to an email later on today to chat more about how I can help.

      • KPM

        Awesome, great!

  • Meigh McPants

    Had a comment but my computer went to crashytown, basically it was: 1. Well done and good luck Kelsey 2. Man, people really do ask invasive personal questions and it’s hilarisad 3. If anyone on here wants to ask me invasive personal questions about being a gay-lady-trying-to-conceive you can feel free; we didn’t have anyone to talk to so if I can be a resource I’m happy to. IDK if you can contact people directly through disqus, but if not feel free to email, it’s meigh at lulamaeevents dot com.

  • Jesus – why anyone feels like the logistics of how you and your spouse are going to conceive YOUR child is unnerving. I would never think it appropriate to ask my friend who may be struggling with infertility about this, so why folks feel it’s appropriate to ask a gay couple this personal info is completely beyond my understanding.

  • Jo March

    I got offered the use of someone’s womb once. I had to politely explain that we already had two, but thanks for the kind offer.

    For a while I started saying yes to the drunken offers of sperm, going they’d forget when sober, as it seemed easier than explaining why I didn’t want their babies but that didn’t work either!