Q's for lesbian couples who have had DIY AI.... - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-30-2005, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A couple I know professionally is trying to conceive. They just want a do it yourself kind of deal. They don't have alot of options of donors. As they put it, "We just don't know alot of *guys*."

I told them I would speak to my dh about it. I totally have no problem with it; dh might. Not the lesbian part, but the being a parent of a child he doesn't see part. I don't have a big problem with that; I attend births, and I feel some sort of ownership of those children all the time. Like, I have some sort of binding relationship with them. I don't think I would see this child as anything different than a child that I had a vested interest in (like any of my nieces or nephews, or close friends' children, or children whose births I attended). DH might feel differently, and I want to help him be able to explore those feelings thoroughly before he says yes or no.

One of the mamas to be (not the one who will carry the baby) is adopted, and has no knowledge of her family at all. She woudl like her child to be able to have some knowledge of his/her biological father (ie the donor).

I haven't approached my dh about this yet. I want to hear some thoughts and suggestions on how to go about this. For those ofyou who have done this (or know someone who has), what were the things that worked well for you, what were some things you would have done differently. Mainly I'm interested in the relationships, legal and otherwise, between the donor and the couple and their child.

Thanks in advance!

Lori
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Old 07-30-2005, 07:43 PM
 
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Using a known donor is risky business for both sides. If they still want known donor without the legal issues I suggest they check out a sperm bank. I know Rainbow Flag gives you the donors contact info 3 months after the baby is born unlike other banks that make you wait 18 years. I know AI is expensive but its a lot cheaper then a court battle. I highly recommend they get the book The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth By Brill and Toevs which will explain there options in detail and the risks of each that many people are not aware of or don't think about.

Seriously?
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:14 AM
 
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We used a known donor and it's been a great experience all around. He is a good friend of ours and an 'uncle' to our child. We did all the required legal work (he relinquished all paternal rights, we relinquished any right to seek child support from him, etc) and we just talked a lot about what we wanted. He didn't want to parent but wanted a child in his life, we didn't want him to be a father but wanted him to be in our child's life (frankly, he's a great guy that would be in our child's life regardless). Perfect. There hasn't been a moment when we've second-guessed our plan.

I know there have been horrible nightmarish legal battles and nastiness around these situations. Legal agreements can be contested. Some of this depends upon the courts in your area (we live in a progressive city in a progressive state and feel pretty good about it). But, everything is a risk, you know? If your friends want to go this route, there is a lot they can do legally to safeguard their family. For us, besides being convenient and inexpensive, there have been some great rewards in seeing our friend's relationship with our son.

Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2005, 01:36 PM
 
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I'm not going to get into the legal aspects of it because I think the pps covered things well.. The Essential Guide also has plenty of example contracts you can use as a basis for using a known donor, btw. I second the recommendation for that book, it has SO much information!

Anyway, we used a known donor, someone who DP has known for almost 20 years. In our case it was a little different, they made a subtle offer that DP and I thought about for awhile. We then first approached donor's wife (who DP has also known for the same amount of time) with the actual question, "Would you guys be willing to help us create a child?" We approached her first because we felt that it was important that she be behind the decision if he did say yes, and wanted to let her absorb what that would mean before taking it any farther. She was very receptive to the idea and decided she'd like to talk it over with the donor herself first before *we* asked officially. We had them over for dinner several times without the subject even coming up (which was hard - DP and I were dying to ask but wanted to respect their feelings and wait until they were ready to talk about it), and when the donor was ready, he asked us to tell him why we wanted to have a baby, what our plans were, why we chose him, why we wanted a known donor, etc etc. To give him credit he also questioned me closely (as the one who would carry) about what sort of legal protection I was going to give DP and what I would do in the instance of a divorce. I think he wanted to make sure for his own reassurances that we had the right intentions, etc, and I am glad that he "checked into" our motives as carefully as he did. Anyway, he decided that he would donate for us. That part was a little funny and awkward, it seemed like my menstrual cycle was the topic of conversation for quite a while! The odds seemed stacked against us because every time it came around to "donating" time something woud interfere, either we'd be out of town, one month his entire family came down with the flu, etc.... anyway, we did perform a "practice" month, where he came over and left us a donation and we inseminated even though it was past my fertile time. We felt it was important to get the "heebie jeebies" out of the way so we knew what to do during the real thing. Oh, we also had a blood workup done on him as well as a full STD panel to cover our bases. Anyway, after the practice run, we got pregnant on the first attempt. However I just thought I'd mention that while it worked, we only had one "shot" that cycle because a couple different times we tried to get together to get the "donation" and things just didn't work out - I think the donor felt a little uncomfortable retrieving the supply while we were all waiting around for it, kwim?

When DS was born, the donor and his wife were the first ones to see him after he was born (besides DP and I obviously). The donor took his one moment of "proud fatherhood", checked DS's fingers and toes, etc... and then handed him over to DP as if to symbolize the handing over of his parental rights (that's what I felt at the time, it may sound corny but there you go.). He's actually only seen DS once since then because they moved out of the area. I think the donor is more comfortable not having much of a role in ds's life right now at least. I think he preferred to let DP establish her right as a parent without him around to remind anyone of his biological part in all of this. I'm actually kind of glad, because I think DP did suffer a bit from feeling "not as much" a parent - we went through a phase in the first couple months of ds's life where she was extremely sensitive to any comment that knowingly or unknowingly said anything about her not being a parent. She's overcome that now, especially since ds makes it perfectly clear he wants both of his parents around.

Whew that was more longwinded that I intended! I hoped that by telling our story it might help give some ideas what sort of emotional issues might be involved.

Me: married to my :fireman Mama to my littles: Toby 8/04 and Elina 10/08
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Old 07-31-2005, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input.

The couple did not actually approach us. They don't know my dh at all, and they only know me professionally. I voluntarily told them I would ask dh, after they explained to me the troubles they were having with finding a donor.

I don't think dh would want to be much involved with the child, but I don't know that he could father a child *without* being involved. Does that make sense? I think he woudl recognize that it is not truly his child; yet he's a great dad, and I don't know if it would eat at him, knowing there is a child out there he fathered whose life he isn't involved in.

I think that would be our main concern. I'm not concerned with the legal issues. I assumed that dh would give up parental rights. But there's a difference between legal rights and what your heart is telling you is right, you know.

And we live in a very very conservative state, as far as that goes. Definatley a red state!

Lori
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorijds
Thanks for the input.

I don't think dh would want to be much involved with the child, but I don't know that he could father a child *without* being involved. Does that make sense? I think he woudl recognize that it is not truly his child; yet he's a great dad, and I don't know if it would eat at him, knowing there is a child out there he fathered whose life he isn't involved in.
and that could be the down fall. I spoke with a dear friend about being a donor for me and in the end we decided it would not be good for either of us because he wanted to much contact. Differences of opinion will come up, how would he handle it? Could he accept there decisions for the child even if he strongly disagreed with them or would he feel compelled to interfere? If he can not honestly say no, and I mean deep down in his heart and mean it then he needs to say no to all involved. There's also the matter of your feelings on this issue, right now the child is theoretical, what about when it gets here and you realize this child is literally a part of your DH? People can get funny after the child is here and idea's change. I just want you to consider this with open eyes, many donations go fine, but just as many do not when matters of the heart get involved

Seriously?
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Old 08-01-2005, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know it sounds glib, but I really am totally cool with it.

But you are right, it's dh's feelings I'm wondering about. I want him to do it, but only if he really wants to and is comfortable with it, not just because it is a nice thing to do.


Lori
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Old 08-03-2005, 12:06 PM
 
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Our experience was the same as tara's (I could have written her post word for word!), so we are really happy about our situation.

One thing that we've been totally consistent about both in the discussions leading up to to the decision, and in every way following Maddie's birth is that we never use the term "father." I have to say that I don't think of our donor as "fathering" Maddie at all--he is my dear dear friend, but in relation to her conception, he's her donor. Period. (He's also an "uncle" and we think of him and his--female, fwiw--partner as "family" but in that expansive queer we-are-family kind of way, much as we think of our very close lesbian friends and their daughter as "family"--people who you take to the airport at 6 am, and share holidays with kind of thing).

just some thoughts...
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Old 08-21-2005, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Once again, thank you for *all* of the input. I appreciate it! It really helped my dh and I discuss all angles and possibilities.

Thanks again; I appreciate the time all of you took to answer my questions thoughtfully.

Lori
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Old 09-27-2005, 05:09 PM
 
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hey all,

my partner and I used a known donor (my partners brother) and it has worked out fabulous for all of us. we are lucky to be living in seattle where legally we have more rights here than most cities. our donor actually did not have to legally give up his rights because I was artificially inseminated. . there is a statute here that states that any child conceived by artificial means does not have a legal father.

we did howerer go through the process of him giving up his legal rights anyway when we did the adoption process because it didn't really take that much more work and we wanted to cover all our bases.

pre AI we also screened our donor for HIV/std's and all that and did in home insemination. . .

our donor is a somewhat active part of our lives, he loves being an uncle and we're currently ttc baby 2.

i/we recommend being upfront with the role you want your donor to play in your childs life. . . for us the hard part is really the other people in the world asking questions like (who's his mother ? you or you? when we are out at the park even though we live in a mainly qweer part of town? and then the quietness that comes when we say we both are.

good luck

2 mamas to one darling beautiful baby boy
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Old 09-28-2005, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We decided to go for it, and after one month, the couple is pregnant! Yea for them!

I have noted that, after they told us there were pregnant, though I was VERY happy for them, I also felt a little odd towards them. Like, I'm really glad for them, but I don't want to be at their birth (I take call at the birth center). Everyone I work with knows the situation, so if they decide to have their baby with us, someone will be back up call for when they go into labor. It's just my thing, I don't know why, but there it is.

At first dh was worried about "What if a kid shows up on my doorstep in 13 years, says he/she needs help, and I'm her dad, so I need to help her out?" Then once we thought about it, we were like, well, if ANYONE showed up on our doorstep needing help, we'd do our best, and this wouldn't be any different. We all decided that there wouldn't be any formal relationship, but if the child felt the urge to meet dh and get to know him, we'd all be okay with that. One of the mamas's father is a lawyer, so we drew up all the legal documents and both dh and I signed over parental rights. We didn't tell our kids right now, and we aren't telling our parents about this at all, because they are kind of religiously freaky about this sort of thing.

Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts and experiences. It really helped us think things through and discuss the pros and cons of this situation. I *really* appreciate all the input.

Lori
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Old 10-21-2005, 11:59 AM
 
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Hi Lori!

It sounds like you all are in good shape! They must be so grateful to you guys...

FWIW, in the process I occasionally felt a bit odd--as the one carrying our daughter I didn't really want our donor and his partner to be around for the birth, though they visited from out of town a month later and it was just wonderful--they didn't even know that I preferred that as we lived in different states at the time. And until the adoption was finalized I was a little unnerved being around our donor's family--i.e. his dad and stepmom--we are quite close to our donor and his partner (she's a woman, not that that matters so much!), so it's different from your situation, but my point is just that my experience was of navigating some minor feelings of "weirdness" as well--nothing stronger--but I think that's to be expected as it's really pretty uncharted emotional territory in some ways. And at this point, even those occasional twinges of oddness are long past--our daughter is 2.5..btw, and we will probably try again with the same donor within a year or so.

All the best to you and the mamas-to-be--
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