Category Archives: Insemination

Intrusion

“No, you can’t ask me how ‘we’ (meaning lesbians) get pregnant,” is what I should have said.  I am so tired of people asking me that questions.  As if the intimate details of my child’s conception is public domain.  Have I EVER asked a straight woman how she got pregnant?

“Were you trying or not trying?”
“Did you use a condom? Did the condom break?”
“Where were you when you got pregnant? On the floor? In the bed?”
“Missionary position or were you on your knees?”
“Did it hurt or did you like it?”

Instead, I said, “No, I don’t mind if you ask.”  But I do.  I really, really do mind if you ask.  I don’t mind if you are queer and are doing research for your own process, but if you are straight and especially if you don’t know me very well, IT IS NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS how my son was conceived.  If you are so fucking curious about how two women could possibly get pregnant, Google it.

-Betsy
(Sorry I said fuck so much.  It is a great word that feels appropriate tonight.)

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Excuse Me While I (rant for just a quick second)…

Earlier this week, I scanned my Facebook news feed to see an NBC news story that the FDA was slated to ban gay men from donating sperm to sperm banks.* Like many people I “shared” the story on my FB page outraged by the ignorance and bigotry in this imposed regulation. The reasoning behind it, as one spokesperson from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine was cited as saying in the article: “you can’t be too careful [in taking measures to reduce the spread of HIV].” As a former sex educator for a large reproductive and sexual health organization, I know full well that one’s sexual orientation is not the issue, but that certain sexual behaviors- unprotected anal sex in particular- are higher risk for spreading HIV and other STIs. Plenty of heterosexual couples engage in anal sex, but are straight men being cut off from entering cryogenics clinics (a related irk: the story referred to “homosexual sex”- there is no such thing people; there are different sexual acts that people of all sexual orientations engage in)?  Shouldn’t they just ask would-be donors about recent sexual practices if they’re concerned about higher risk behaviors and then screen the semen for infections (really the only way to know for sure)?

There was also another part of me- for admittedly selfish reasons- that found myself having a moment of panic: our donor is a gay man. We have been hoping to use the same donor a few years from now so that I could try to get pregnant.  Although we inseminated at home, I suddenly found myself scanning my brain, wanting reassurance that there wasn’t going to be a roadblock to this plan. What if we need to call upon the medical establishment for a little help when that time comes… will we reach an impasse?  Some sperm banks, such as Rainbow Flag Health Services, actively recruit gay and bisexual donors.  Although Rainbow Flag’s plan is to continue doing so for the time being since the ban is not currently being seen as a law, but rather a strong recommendation (if I’m following this correctly), will  this affect their organization and scare some clients from using their services?  I know for us, and many other friends we know, we were particularly drawn to our donor because he is a gay man.  He seemed to understand and have increased sensitivity around the needs of our queer family-to-be.  I would be incredibly disappointed if we weren’t able to work with him again as a donor. Also, I have been overjoyed at the thought of being able to conceive with the same donor who my partner was able to create our daughter with. I know this is edging into controversial territory, but I love the thought of my daughter being biologically connected to her sibling.  I say that not because I think biology is the seminal part of what connects people together, but because my spouse and I are not able to create a baby together and I love the notion of my gestational child having some of the features of their big sister and her of them.  In my mind, it’s as close as my spouse and I can get to being able to actually create a baby together (although I feel like I was a part of my non-gestational daughter’s conception process and pregnancy for sure).

I guess for the time being we’ll just have to keep fighting the good fight and hope that the FDA will see the scientific error of their ways and remove this discriminatory regulation that doesn’t breed safety, but rather ignorance and bigotry.

– Charlotte

Letting Go

Ovulate. Inseminate. Wait. Repeat.  Before he existed, I began letting my son go.  Yearning for him, though I did not know it would be him. Ovulate. Inseminate. Wait. Repeat.  The letting go began when I came to terms with my inability to get my wife pregnant.  My lack of semen, a black mark on my name. Ovulate. Inseminate. Wait. Repeat. Without testes in our household, we needed another to come help.  Did this render me useless?  How did I fit when my body was just an extraneous being in the triangle? The sorrow I feel/felt for being merely a passenger on the road to pregnancy is liquid inside me.  It settles in my feet and hands, sloshing around when I think too hard.  Ovulate. Inseminate. Wait. Repeat.  The letting go began when I, with lack of sperm, drew that life-giving substance into the syringe, filling the canal that would eventually bring my boy to me.  The letting go was born of bringing another into our life, being on someone else’s timetable and priority list.  Slipping into the passenger’s seat, I began to let go of the steering wheel.  Ovulate. Inseminate. Wait. Repeat.  And then it worked.  My tiny boy, growing inside another’s body while I can already smell him laying on my chest.  The letting go continued as I couldn’t eat for her.  I couldn’t sleep for her.  I couldn’t decide where to go or who to be with.  The letting go continued as she hopped a plane for a far-off land, taking my boy in her womb.  As her belly began to grow and I began to feel him move, I started letting go of feeling like I could be his everything and began to realize that I would be his everything, after her.  As he grew bigger and bigger, I began to dream about his face, androgynous and lovely.  When he was born, they put him on her stomach.  She had earned it, afterall.  So, I let go of being the first person to touch him. Then I held him and he looked at me.  From the moment I had to give him back to the midwife, I have been letting go.  Realizing that I can’t save him.  That he will have his heart broken.  Break a bone. Feel deep fear and sadness.  Letting go that I can never be his everything.  He walks and runs now.  Chatters like I did when I was a toddler.  He falls down, runs into car doors, and feels sad sometimes.   But he is also mostly joyful, which makes me happy, and inquisitive and loving.  The letting go continues, on a daily basis, but I changed rides.  No more ovulation, insemination or waiting.  Now it is: Watch in Awe.  Dry tears. Hug and kiss. Repeat.

-Betsy