My Guide to having a baby, The Gay Way…. (Same sex conception)
*NOTE: these views are mine and not legally binding or gospel, so please use this as a point of reference if you’re think of conception but not the be all and end all of this subject!*
So a lot of people have asked us how we conceived our children. I personally think that’s pretty rude, you wouldn’t ask a straight couple, right? Now, I know its probably curiosity, as its not something spoken about in sex education etc but I still think its really personal!
I wont go into specific details about how we conceived but here is my guide to trying to have a baby in a female same sex relationship based on the information and experience we’ve gained over time.
Talk about it.
I don’t mean just “hello person I’m in love with, lets have a baby.” , “Ok, When shall we do it?”
I mean REALLY talk.
Ask yourself whether you’re ready to share your relationship with this third very needy small person. And ask if your relationship can withstand having a baby, because its not all smiles and messy nappies. Having a baby is HARD WORK. So, if you enjoy being sleep deprived, highly strung, never being able to relax ever again then go right ahead, being a parent is the thing for you! No, really, It is hard work but they are worth it!
Have THAT conversation with your partner. You know the one that goes “I think its about time we multiply”. Make sure she’s not just agreeing to keep you. The worst relationships are the ones which form around a third element for example – “Lets get married, because our relationship is difficult when we sleeping with the world”.
Make sure that you’re on the same page when it comes to parenting. It would be a hard task living in a full compromise when you cant agrees on a parenting matter. Make sure that you’re fully on the same page when it comes to discipline, standards, and goals for your children. Even down to trivial things like responsibilities when the baby is born. Outline your expectations of each other, the baby and your roles within the relationship, which will all change.
Take your Time – Don’t rush into it. Its not like buying a goldfish.
Speaking from experience here, my worst decisions have been the ones that I have jumped into headfirst.
Plan your life around this baby, because it will never be the same again. This is a life long commitment.
Other things to consider:
Legality – The law regarding conception and parental responsibility is a bit murky. So I’ve borrowed the following from stonewall.
- The following rules apply for children conceived through donor insemination on or after 6 April 2009:
- Under UK law a child’s birth mother will automatically be their legal parent when they are born, even if they are not their biological mother.
- A child’s second legal parent, at birth, will depend on the circumstances at the time of their conception.
- The birth mother’s civil partner or spouse will be considered legal parent, and can be named on the birth certificate, if they were married or civil partners at the time of conception.
- A child conceived through a UK licensed fertility clinic:
- The birth mother can sign an agreement through the clinic to name her partner (if they are not married or in a civil partnership) and/or the biological father (if the donor is known) as second legal parent.
- A child conceived outside a UK licensed fertility clinic:
- If the birth mother is not married or in a civil partnership at the time of conception, the second legal parent, under UK law, will be the donor father. They will have parental responsibility if they’re registered on the birth certificate.
- It is possible for the birth mother’s partner to become a legal parent by applying to adopt. They can also acquire parental responsibility. The first step in applying to adopt your partner’s child is to inform your local council. They should be able to give you more information on the process.
- As a lifelong commitment can you afford to support the child efficiently throughout their life. The average cost of raising a child in the UK is around £230,000 per child.
- Can you afford the initial setup, which on average costs between £1/2000.(not including fertility treatment)
- An average round of IVF per try is £2000 (ish) – Not a lot of people fall pregnant on the first attempt, it is actually quite uncommon.
- Afterall you are creating another life. Another person who will 100% reply on you for at least 18 years!
- Are you committed to them?
- Can you give that much of yourself? Can you put the baby before yourself and your partner?
- Not only will you be committing to having the baby, but there will be a certain amount of things asked from you to start with.
- I found out the hard way that all of your fun loving friends seem to disappear when you have a baby. Ones who you could rely on and would drag you out of your pit to go party soon disappear. You will make new friends but it is a dog eat dog world when you have children!
- Who will provide you support outside of your relationship? Do you have a supportive family or will you need a bit of extra help? No matter how easy some of us make parenting look, its always worth having that bit of extra support when you doubt yourself (which you will).
- As well as this, if you or your partner already has existing children then you may need to ask them their views on having a new sibling too.
- Now a lot of people don’t realise how impractical having kids actually is! I mean before I had just I could pretty much do whatever I liked! If I wanted to go to the cinema, I could, or I could go out with friends etc. My house was super tidy and I didn’t have to do 2 loads of washing every day!
Checklist of things to plan:
- Have you checked your ovulation to work out when your most fertile days are?
- We had a window of about 4 fertile days over the month so worked around these dates.
- You can find out a bit more about tracking your ovulation in this blog from pondering parenthood
- A blogging friend of mine over at Les Be Mums has done a nice review of an ovulation app which they would highly rate. You can read it here
- Clinic , NHS or at Home?
- Now this is a slightly more important choice. The NHS will offer 2 rounds of AI, IUI or IVF before you’re binned off. I think this varies depending on the region you live.
- A clinic will see you however some clinics have a waiting list.
- Choosing to do it at home is FINE but you have to be aware that the non-biological parent may have issues with parental responsibility some point down the line!
- Choosing a donor
- Known vs. Unknown
- It is fine to use a donor you know and trust. In my opinion it gives you more control over your outcome, i.e. you know the person has ginger hair and blue eyes, and that trait runs through all of his family for generations. You know he works in an office etc. With donor sperm, although rigorously tested for defects etc. you are never sure whether there are recessive genes for illness or characteristics you weren’t looking for.
- However if you aren’t too worried about this and are looking for full anonymity then clinic sperm is great.
- What are your donors wants/needs.
- Legally if you conceive at home with donor sperm and you know that the donor is the “father” you may be asked to name him on the birth certificate.
- Does your donor want involvement/contact etc?
- How involved do you want your donor?
- We used two separate donors for our children, purely because the first donor’s circumstances had changed and he was unable to donate for the second one.
- We have no contact with the first donor but are in regular contact with the second. Which is actually really handy as our son has had some really concerning health issues, which we have fed back to the donor and he has fed back to other couples he has donated to.
- Clinic provided donor sperm –
- When a donor provides his sample for the sperm bank he signs a waiver which releases him from all of his parental responsibility and rights relating to any children convinced with his sperm. However your private donor may chose not to waive these rights.
- Have you checked your ovulation to work out when your most fertile days are?
I spoke earlier in this post about planning forward. Thinking about this, you need to make sure that if you are using a private donor, they can also commit if you want full siblings. Unfortunately, our original donor couldn’t donate the second time we approached him, due to his personal circumstances changing. This isn’t something we had planned for, or even considered when trying the first time. If you go through a clinic, make sure you have a decent back supply of donated sperm, or the ability to acquire more.
Once you child is old enough you may think about nursery and school places. Initially we thought our child could go to any school, however there are certain restrictions on the schools morals and values. Locally there are some C of E schools which upon application or enquiry told us that they wouldn’t facilitate our family. However there are a lot of schools which teach family diversity and inclusion. We had a lot less issues with nurseries than we did with primary schools. Secondary schools were fine and we had our pick!
The other thing you have to consider is how your child may deal. We have experienced more issues with teaching staff and parents making homophobic comments to our children than we have other children. It is not about how you deal with these but how you prepare your child to have to deal with them. We had been faced with some issues which i talk about In a previous post. The children are very resilient and have dealt with them all very well!
Advice from other couples who have already done this!
B & B – 2 Children – Norfolk – Conceived at home without a clinic
- Spend time looking for the right donor.
- Don’t put to much pressure on it happening straight away.
- Monitor your cycle and ovulation for a good few months.
- We would recommend the clear blue ovulation monitor.
- Crude but if you’re using lube & doing it “naturally”. Check there’s no spermicide in it. When we the conceive plus stuff it actually worked that cycle. Could of been a coincidence but we believed it helped.
1) Track your fertility – this will help when you need to schedule your donor.
2) Research. How do you want to conceive? Do you need help?
3) Get to know your donor. Even if they’re anon, try and find out as much as possible.
4) Write a contract. This will show any donor (Home AI only – clinics are a bit different) you mean business, as well as reassure him you won’t appear 18 years later!
5) Be prepared to wait. And wait. And wait. It can take a long time to conceive.
1) Rush into things. It’s a big decision choosing how you wish to conceive. Research.
2) Endanger yourself. Arrange a safe place to meet your donor. Exchange plenty of emails/texts beforehand.
3) Think there’s only one way to conceive. AI/IUI/IVF – there are so many options – all ranging in price and availability.
4) Pay for sperm! (Home AI only). It’s illegal to pay for sperm, but you may wish to offer money for petrol if he’s traveling to you. *
5) Give up hope
*be prepared for “professional” donors to expect you to reimburse them for travel, accommodation and other expenses i.e. food costs while they are donating to you (as you don’t do this once, you do it a few times over a few days).