We get asked all sorts of questions — and sometimes assumptions are made — so we thought we’d provide a list of the most popular ones we’ve been asked as a lesbian couple with a child. Ready? Here we go…
Question (Directed to either Brit or me): Are you her sister?
Answer: No, no she is not. We are wives. Not sister wives. Not she’s-my-best-friend-and-we-pretend-to-be-wives. We are just your ordinary married couple. It’s as simple as that.
Tip: Instead of assuming our relationship, either don’t ask at all, or, ask it as an open ended question, without assuming how we are related.
Q (Directed to one of us about Thea): Who’s her dad?
A: She doesn’t have a dad. She has two mommies. Sydney is ‘Mama’ and Brit is ‘Eema’ (which is mom in Hebrew).
T: Although we don’t take offense to this question, it may trigger other same-sex couples with child(ren) or other families with a single parent. Just some food for thought…
Q: How did you pick your donor?
A: We actually love this question because it really was the very first thing we did after we both agreed it was time to start our family. And it’s a good story. First, we both agreed to use the California Cryobank as it is one of the most reputable sperm banks in the country and we are lucky enough to live driving distance away from it. When we first started looking for our donor, Sydney took it upon herself to start the search. She logged into our account daily, for months. It was impossible for her to choose. There are so many options and choices. It’s sort of like shopping online at a department store. You can narrow down your search of a donor by height, eye color, hair color, blood type, education level, religion, etc. The list really does go on. When Sydney became frustrated with having to finally solidify her choice, Brit stepped in. Brit narrowed down the search by height (6’ or taller), eye color (we chose hazel), has Jewish Ancestry, and by blood type (O+ or B+ to match with one of us in case our children ever needed medical treatment). This resulted in 3 possible donor matches. Narrowing it down from there was actually fairly easy. We compared their medical histories and chose the one that was the best fit for us.
Q: What information do you have on your donor?
A: A lot! We were given three baby/childhood photos of him (no adult images are ever provided to help with keeping their anonymity). We have their medical history along with his parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles medical histories. We have SAT scores, genetic test summary, a donor profile, hobbies and interests, a fun questionnaire, and a few other gems.
Q: How does it work? How do you buy sperm?
A: Another good question…as we too had to learn as we went. Each vial of sperm equals one try (either for insemination or IVF). And each vial ranges in price based on how the donor is classified: either open, anonymous, or closed. An open donor means that when the child turns 18 they are already a yes to meeting the child if the child so wishes. An anonymous donor means that the Cryobank will attempt to reach the donor up to two times and at that time, the donor can choose whether or not they want to meet or speak with the child. A closed donor means they are not open to speaking or meeting. The cost ranges from $855 - $995. So you are essentially looking at $1,000 per vial (with taxes and fees). Once you select the donor you want, you are able to purchase directly online how ever many vials you want. One thing that was important to us was to be able to use the same donor for all of our children as to minimize the amount of shared DNA among them. We were told that, on average, it can take up to 4 tries through insemination to get pregnant. So ideally, you want to buy 4 times the amount of children you THINK you want to have. For us, that meant 16 vials, or $16,000! Yikes! We decided that we would start with 10 instead and hope that’s all we need. We were given 3 years of free storage for the vials with the purchase of 10 vials and, luckily, we got pregnant with one try. This isn’t the norm, and we are so grateful to and for our doctor for his aim!
Q: What’s the difference between IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF (in vitro fertilization)? Can you do this at home?
A: Intrauterine insemination, (also referred to as insemination or IUI) is essentially the turkey baster method but with a fertility specialist in a doctors office. They use a special instrument that goes through the woman’s cervix and releases the sperm. This gives those little swimmers a bit more of a push closer to finding that egg. In vitro (or IVF) is a medical procedure. After tracking ovulation and taking some serious and expensive medications, often involving daily injections, which produce the release of many eggs. The woman is put under and all the eggs are collected. Afterwards, the doctor uses petri dishes to introduce the eggs to sperm. Usually 50% of the sperm and egg couples will form an embryo. From there, a follow up appointment is made where the embryos are transferred back into the woman. The other big factor and difference between IUI and iVF? The cost! For us, our entire IUI treatment, including the medication I had to be on, the one vial of sperm, and all the doctor checkups leading up to my insemination, cost around $4,000. For us to do IVF, would have cost us nearly $50,000. We realized that we could do 12 IUI rounds for the cost of 1 IVF. And since IVF isn’t a 100% guarantee and it involves a serious medical procedure, the answer was pretty easy for us. As for trying at home? It is definitely possible and doable. However, in order to really have any kind of hope or success from tying at home, the sperm needs to be fresh — not from a sperm bank. This method works well for couples who are comfortable asking a friend to “donate” in the moment. Using frozen sperm that is then thawed often reduced the motility of the sperm and wont often make it pass the cervix (which is why IUI is so important and more accurate).
Well, that just about covers the top questions we are asked. If there is anything that you want more clarity on, have further questions about, or you’d like to know more, let us know in the comments. We are open books and are happy to share. We believe that visibility matters.