Gayby Maybe? The Epic Queer Parenting Roundtable!

Your Questions About Getting Knocked Up

Why do only a few states require insurance companies to cover “infertility” treatments for same-gender couples?

Christina: Because they’re jerks? Actually, more likely is because the insurer’s cheap. Fertility treatments are expensive and employers and insurance companies think of the bottom line first. Only 15 states require insurers to provide fertility benefits to straight couples either and only eight of those cover IVF. I believe that Maryland, my Maryland, is the only one to provide insurance coverage to same-sex married couples without any benefits, as of July. The state mandates what infertility issues insurance is required to cover and they are usually health based. If you don’t have a fertility issue (PCOS, endometriosis, etc…) but have been unable to conceive, insurance will cover infertility treatments after a year of unsuccessful attempts. So, in my case in DC, after a year of working with a clinic, they’d have kicked in funds.

This is an issue where, in my opinion, law hasn’t caught up to technology. Infertility treatments, especially IVF are a new, incredibly lucrative process. Insurers see that it’s expensive and don’t volunteer to step up. it hasn’t become a broader health reform issue, probably because of price and because fertility issues are often clouded in secrecy and shame.

KaeLyn: If you are lucky, you will find a doctor, as we did, who will preauthorize you for fertility coverage, usually under “unexplained infertility.” My insurance technically requires you to try for one year. However, my partner and I have different insurance through our respective workplaces and my preauth wasn’t flagged. I was surprised. I thought we’d have to pay for everything out of pocket. My insurance has been great so far and I’m so grateful. The issue is definitely that you have to be medically infertile in order to get coverage in states where same-sex couples aren’t explicitly mandated to be covered by state law. Our laws need to catch up to the times!


Are there organizations who provide financial assistance for queer women trying to get pregnant (costs of sperm, medical expenses, etc)? How much did it cost you?

Christina: Not that I am aware of. There are a few foundations that help with infertility costs, but they require a diagnosis from a physician. I’ve joked that when I win the lottery, I’m starting up a foundation to help queer couples with fertility and adoption costs. Some clinics offer discounts for those who do not have insurance coverage – ours did and had an easy application process. Our donor sperm and infertility procedures for 7 cycles cost us about $8,000.

Tips to save money:

  • The good news is that all of your treatments and materials are tax deductible, the bad news is that it has to be 7-10% of your income to be deducted from your taxes.
  • Max out your FSA if your work offers one. It can be used for donor materials and fertility treatments.
  • Find a sperm bank close to home, if you can. Delivery fees can cost $150 per order. Downside – pick up / drop off hours for the tank are often during work hours.
  • Choose ICI over IUI sperm if you can. A clinic will do a wash anyway and it’s considerably less for ICI.
  • Ask your clinic for a discount. The worst they can do is say no.

If you used a sperm donor, did you pick one where they can be contacted after 18 years?

Christina: We did not. Because it was out of our price range (double the cost, I believe). We are active on the donor sibling registry as a way for our daughter to meet siblings with the same donor. I have lingering guilt about this because I would have liked for my daughter to know the man who fathered her, but on the other hand, if we’d used other materials, I wouldn’t have my daughter, I’d have a different baby.

Lucy: We did! We felt it was really important for that choice to be for our children to make. If they want to contact him they can and if they don’t that’s totally cool too.

KaeLyn: Yup. It was a must for us. Our donor can be contacted and it’ll be future kid’s choice to make. I’ve even thought about springing for the $40 pics of him so our future kid has that, too. If I conceive with this donor, I’ll probably get the pics.

Asher: I haven’t used a sperm donor yet but part of my criteria is that the donor be willing to be contacted after the child was 18. I want my child to be able to have the option if it’s something they want.


What are the costs and benefits of at-home insemination?

Christina: While we chose not to go this route, it would save you costs of working with a clinic (which for us was $200 per IUI). Cost should be just the cost of donor sperm if you’re going that route and a lot of places will send it to you ready to insert. The downside is that it’s usually delivered within a 7 day window of viability, so if you are off with your guesses, you may have wasted that purchase (which is not cheap). Moving to a clinic for the next level may be more difficult. If you are working with a known donor, you just have to work around their schedule, so that’s free except for a kit (and there’s always the turkey baster!). I would strongly, strongly, strongly encourage you to get legal paperwork drawn up to deter future custody issues.

Lucy: My wife was in med school at the time I got pregnant so she did the IUI at home (and was complimented by our OB about it). It’s not easy and I would not recommend it. I had one foot on a laundry basket, one foot on the nightstand, and was trying to hold a flashlight so she could see what she was doing. I would let the doctor do it. Also, as I said above, frozen sperm don’t swim well so if you’re using frozen sperm and just shooting them into your vagina you might as well just light money on fire.

Michelle: Yes at-home insemination can be FREE. I’ve given some lesbian patients of mine who have a known donor some cups and syringes (without the needle) to use. One can time ovulation by just looking for ovulation cervical mucus or doing basal body temperature charting. It starts costing money when you start using ovulation predictor kits. In NY state, frozen sperm has to be delivered to a physician’s office so we were not able to do the insemination at home. I do know how to do an intrauterine insemination. With the right equipment, it’s easy so I guess I could have had it delivered to my office and dragged the liquid nitrogen tank home (those things are heavy!) but I didn’t know how long to thaw the vial to yield the most number of mobile sperm. And each vial is expensive. $600 and up. And they charge an additional $100-150 for shipping.


Using your partner’s brother’s (or other family member’s) sperm: Would you do this? Have you done this? How did you ask them? How did it go?

Christina: We chose not to because my wife is an only child and I wanted to carry. If we had pursued it for her, it probably would have involved fedexing materials, since my brothers live many miles away.

Lucy: I love my wife and she loves me for a thousand reasons. One of these reasons is that we are who we are and not any of our siblings (who are all lovely people but neither of us wanted to have a baby with the other’s brother). Also we both wanted to carry a baby and we wanted our girls to share genes so having a brother donor would have made that impossible.

KaeLyn: I know some folks who have done this. Unfortunately, there are not here in this roundtable. It seems like it was the right choice for them, as they wanted their kid to have both of their family’s genetic material. That said, I’d say there’s some stigma around it and people may judge you for it if you are open about it. Also, there is the issue of whether or not to tell your kid, which is something you should think about before you go for it. Overall, though, people I know who’ve had their brother donate have been happy with the decision. And their brothers were happy to help out.


What are the reasons to use washed sperm versus unwashed sperm?

Christina: My understanding is that the washing basically concentrates everything to ensure you get a more effective batch of stuff in there and higher sperm motility. If you’re working with a fertility center, they may just do this as a matter of course. If that’s the case, try to purchase ICI sperm over IUI sperm. IUI sperm is already washed and more expensive, so if your clinic is going to wash anyway and ICI is available, save yourself a couple hundred bucks and get the unwashed.

Michelle: Unwashed sperm should not be used for intrauterine insemination. The prostaglandins and other chemicals in the semen can cause severe cramping and possibly bleeding. It can be used for intravaginal insemination but thawed frozen sperm do not move well (as Lucy said “they don’t swim for shit”) so your best chances of getting pregnant are with intrauterine insemination (IUI) of washed sperm. Our clinic washes their own sperm to wash out the bad stuff and concentrate the good as well as get a sperm count. So we purchased unwashed sperm which did save us a significant amount of money as Christina advised.


What do you think about genetic testing?

Christina: I had Counsyl and a bevy of bloodwork before we started trying to conceive, which basically told me that I didn’t have any genetic issues to worry about passing down to a kid. At 13 weeks, you get an ultrasound and they do some genetic tests for various syndromes. Not too long after that, they do a test about something or another with your alpha-fetal protein. Both of these provided us great peace of mind – after the 13 week test, our chances for Downs went from 1 in 200 to 1 in 6,000. We’re both naturally anxious people, so having something to point to that the baby was fine was helpful.

Lucy: I know it has advanced a lot since we had our babies (in 2008 and 2011) but the lucency test was standard for us at the time. That let us know our risks for Down’s was very low. Other than that we just did the tests they told us to do without much questioning.

Polly: Our adopted son’s mother is also adopted so we chose to do some genetic testing for him to tell us his ethnic origins (his birth mom had taken on the culture of her adoptive family and was unsure of her own ethnic makeup). However, $100 and a very combative cheek swab (in which our dog and cat might have participated) later we now know nothing more than that Little Dude is probably not white. Duh! Don’t bother with these kinds of genetic tests.

Michelle: I recommend screening for birth defects to all my pregnant patients. It’s actually mandatory for me to offer it but not mandatory for patient’s to do it. Most do. I recommend genetic testing when those tests come back abnormal. I also recommend genetic testing to my pregnant patients who will be 35 yrs of age or older at delivery (“Advanced Maternal Age”). Genetic testing is so easy now. You no longer need to perform an amniocentesis (needle through your belly) to obtain fetal cells. Now fetal DNA can be extracted from a vial of Mom’s blood. With 98-99% accuracy, they can tell you that your child does not have Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18. They can also tell you the sex. There are several companies that perform this test under their respective brand names. But the generic name for this is Cell-Free DNA testing.


How did you decide who was going to carry (if you and your partner both can)?

Christina: I was pretty anti-kids until my boss got pregnant when I was 28 and watching her belly grow made my hormones go BABY NOW, IN MY STOMACH. NOW. I WANT IT. So, I had pretty strong feelings about me being the one to carry. I also had an employment situation where the only way I would get any paid time off would be if I was the one delivering the child (they changed their policy to 6 weeks paid time off the instant I got knocked up WOOOO). My wife had gone through her baby crazy phase in her mid-20s, but had moved past it and also had a couple of genetic issues she was concerned about passing down. I think if it had gotten to the point where the fertility center wanted to move to IVF, we’d try getting her knocked up instead of me. She had thought maybe she’d have the next one (if there is a next one), but watching me go through pregnancy and labor has made her anti-carrying.

Lucy: We both carried and had pretty different pregnancies and deliveries (I delivered vaginally, she had a scheduled c-section). We both wanted to carry a baby and she was going to go first but the timing with school wasn’t working so we swapped and I went first. I am not sure I would have been so keen on it if I had watched her go through it first. But, I was an excellent non-birth parent because I knew all the stuff and could anticipate things she needed both during her pregnancy and after delivery.

Marybeth: We both planned to, but it did not work out for Michelle. So I carried both babies. I had fairly easy pregnancies and both were vaginal deliveries. I had a plan to try the birthing process without an epidural. Mason was tricky. Be open-minded with your “plans!” Anytime I tried to move, his heart rate would drop. Turns out the umbilical cord was wrapped pretty tight around his neck. So all of those nifty position changes I learned in birthing class weren’t possible when I could not move from my one position. In short order I asked for an epidural. It was heaven. Fast forward to Alisa, no time for an epidural. I hardly pushed for five minutes and she was here! I was happy to have experienced both!


I would be beyond thrilled to hear queer lady perspectives on egg freezing. Really anything at all about that.

Michelle: Ob/Gyn perspective: For years they could not generate a live baby from a frozen egg and therefore only recommended freezing embryos (eggs after they’ve been fertilized). In the past 5-10 yrs, advances in medical science and technology have made this a possibility. But please note, the take home baby rates are lower. Patients who take advantage of this are women who are about to undergo chemotherapy that may make them infertile. So they are referred to a reproductive endocrinologist for ovarian hyperstimulation and egg retrieval to harvest their eggs for freezing to use later after they are in remission from their cancer. Queer lady perspective: It would be really cool to have frozen some of my eggs and thaw them when they finally have the medical technology of fertilizing my egg with DNA extracted from Marybeth’s egg. Our hypothetical children would be both or ours genetically.


Did you find out the assigned sex of your child? Do you think it’s better to know or not?

Christina: We did! We mostly decided to find out boy or girl so we would know which sex of names to focus on, how to decorate and so we would get baby clothes that weren’t just yellow or green. We were very happy knowing, though I understand why the surprise would be fun as well. We did (and still do) work hard to make the distinction between sex and gender when discussing the baby.

KaeLyn: As of now, we’re planning not to. In a nutshell, we don’t want to put gender norms on our kid before they even get here and we feel like that not knowing their designated sex is best. For us and for our family and friends. It’s hard not to engage in a little implicit bias when you know. This will keep us all honest. We also aren’t tied strongly to gender-neutral colors or anything, though. Like, we feel blue or pink can work for any gender, as can yellow or plaid or dinosaur. Leaning towards dinosaur.

Lucy: We absolutely did. It helped us choose names and, frankly, we weren’t going to have the doctors and nurses and ultrasound techs knowing something we didn’t know.

Asher: I plan on finding out the sex but I don’t plan on announcing their sex when I find out or even at birth. I’ll announce the name at birth and people can draw whatever conjecture they want. If asked I’d probably say that they were assigned female/male but who knows what their gender is, but I won’t be going out of my way to announce it. For me it’s better to know so I can prepare myself for any unexpected feels I might have on discovering the assigned sex. For a long time I had a very strong preference for baby that was assigned female but then I started to learn about gender and sex and how they’re different and I’m pretty much over caring about the assigned sex of my baby. But it had been such a strong preference for such a long time that, in case there’s an unexpected reaction, I want to know ahead of time. I would feel terrible if I didn’t find out, gave birth, and had an unexpectedly bad reaction. The only thing I want to feel upon meeting my child is joy so I’m finding out in order to facilitate that.

Marybeth: We chose to be surprised with Mason, although I was pretty sure he was a boy through most of the pregnancy. We wanted to find out with Alisa, mostly for practical reasons of clothing items, etc.


One Last Thing…

Where do babies come from? Is the thing about the stork true?

Christina: At midnight on the day you ovulate, go outside to a cabbage field and stand naked under the full moon. Sing a chant to the moon and dance while smudging yourself with sage. Call to an animal (for us, a unicorn) and leave offerings for it in your yard or on your windowsill every night until you take a pregnancy test. Promise it the gift of your sweet, sweet baby’s flesh if your pregnancy is successful. The moonlight will enter your stomach and your child will grab it and find themselves tied to your womb. Be warned, you must fulfill your promise to the animal after your child’s birth or else as a teenager, your child will find themselves tasked to go on a quest to save the stork from the moon’s evil mistress. We offered the unicorn a lock of the baby’s hair and the umbilical stump and thus far, the unicorn has been appeased.

If you do not ovulate near a full moon and attempt this ritual, your baby will come from the darkest timeline.

Asher: Actually hummingbirds deposit tiny little baby seeds near the flowers they sip from and whichever humans stops to smell the flowers with the seeds under them fertilize the baby seeds with their presence. After about a month of growth the seeds grow into fruit which their human eats in order to get the baby inside them.

Lucy: On the first of September you go to platform nine and three-quarters at King’s Cross station and your baby arrives by owl.

Polly: You get a phone call from a social worker who says that they have a baby at _____ hospital that needs a foster placement immediately. They know nothing about the baby including gender, ethnicity or given name. And then you scramble to be the first family to call the matcher back. Then two hours later you have a baby with no name (who you give a cute nickname and then discover, five days later, that he has two or three possible names…none of which end up being his given name). But you have a baby!

Jess: In the 80’s, my sisters and I memorized (and proceeded for many years to perform) a sing-a-long story about the original Cabbage Patch Kids. There was a particularly catchy tune about Bunny Bees and cabbage fields. I am pretty sure it is correct.

KaeLyn: I came on a transatlantic flight. I made up many stories about the 17 months before I touched down in JFK airport, but I’m sure none of them are true. From what I understand from some lesbian pregnancy book I skimmed and some movies I’ve watched, you poop on the table and curse at your loved ones and then there’s a baby or something. Should be fine, probably.


Phew! Did you make it this far? Did you get your question answered? Have even more questions? Leave your thoughts, feelings, gifs, and questions in the comments. Thanks for submitting such great questions, ya’ll! We had a blast answering them!

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KaeLyn is a 35-year-old (femme)nist activist, word nerd, and queer mama. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, over-caffeinating herself, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, eating carbs, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Rochester, NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 191 articles for us.

63 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, thank you all so much for sharing! My wife and I have saved up our money and the plan is to try IVF. We tried IUI with sperm frozen before my wife transitioned. We have one vial left and had been debating back and forth about IVF. The emotional ups and downs were more than I expected when were trying IUI, like you mentioned Kaelyn. It was really nice one day after I started a new job to be working with two other women who were both trying with their wives to become parents. Sometimes it feels so lonely especially as my wife is not public about her trans* history.

    I’ve always enjoyed little kids and my career involves working with little ones. My wife is less fond of the day to days with kids but wants to be a parent. We’ve talked about foster care/adoption which I am interested in but she is less comfortable with that option. I loved hearing all of your stories about your winding paths to becoming parents!

  2. I’m 26 and nowhere NEAR ready to even THINK about having kids yet, but this will definitely be a useful resource when I am! Specifically, whenever I do think about the possibility of someday becoming a parent, I’m pretty sure that I am not interested in actually giving birth, so depending on what my partner will want, adoption is most definitely on the table. I definitely didn’t know that the cost of adoption was so high! Luckily, I am a lawyer, and know a lot of family lawyers (including one in my own family) so if need be, I can probably offset the costs somewhat, but that’s a little insane.

    • Private adoption is incredibly expensive. $20-40k is typical. But if it is what you want and you can find a way to afford it, it is worth it (says the adoptee). Public adoption through the foster system costs much less.

  3. This is a super fun read, I haven’t had a chance to finish but wanted to chime in that we were having babies a decade ago! It was so much cheaper then!! We’re just, well, as invisible within the queer community as you’d feared 😉

    In my Midwestern city, we had plenty of families for a playgroup. I had way more queer community then than I do now, actually.

  4. Made it. Great article.

    I’m in the rare camp of people who got pregnant easily with frozen sperm, so it can happen.

    And my older kids may have told friends that their brothers came in the mail in liquid nitrogen tanks.

  5. I wish there was more information and discussion about adoption and fostering. I’m disabled and it’s something that’s quite important to me and because I know it can be tough for disabled kids to be adopted and a lot of them spend a long time in the foster system, fostering disabled kids specifically is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. But it’s so difficult to find information on what it’s truly like, especially as first time parents. A lot of stories in the media are pretty scary and a lot of people talking about foster kids, especially disabled ones, say they go through so much abuse they’re really “difficult” and violent and fostering them is almost impossible. It breaks my heart when I hear people talking like that. 🙁 Both my wife and I grew up in abusive households so discussion about these things can get pretty tough on us too. We don’t have illusions about “saving” children, but I (I can’t really speak for her) grew up feeling like adults in my life really failed to look out for my wellbeing and I didn’t have anyone in my life whom, I felt, really cared about me and wanted me around until I was much older so it’s tough for me to resign myself to thinking that a lot of other kids have to grow up like that too just because that’s what things are like and there’s little I can do as an individual.

    It just seems that there are so many difficulties if you want to foster and there’s so little information, we’ll probably end up going the fertility treatments route even though it’s so expensive.

    • Hey! I think whatever you choose is the best and most compassionate choice. You have to know your own heart when it comes to big decisions like growing your family.

      Foster adoption has challenges. So goes private adoption and so does fertility treatment. Have you considered going to a foster placement agency to learn about foster adoption? Especially if you are interested in fostering and/or adopting children with disabilities, I am sure they would love to talk to you about what that process is like. It may not be as onerous or scary as you think. You still may decide it isn’t right for you! Or you may find it is exactly what you want.

      Even if you don’t end up exploring foster adoption, there are ways you can support children in the foster system, like volunteering for or donating to charities for foster kids, educating others, etc.

      I wish you luck, however it all works out. 🙂

    • Thank you for bringing this up. We have friends who went into Fostering and adoption specifically to serve medically fragile and disabled children, kind of like Polly and I went into it to help LGBTQI kids. There is, like you mentioned, a huge need for both.

      What makes it extra tricky to talk about I’m a national forum lime this is that foster care differs not just from state to state, but in most cases from county to county. I echo Kaelyn’s suggestion to go contact your local agency to see what opportunities exist.

  6. Two things:

    1. this is an amazing article! Thank you so much to all of you for sharing your experiences!

    2. Is there something I’m missing regarding a concentration of autostraddlers in Rochester? Given that there are multiple Rochesterians in this roundtable, and me, I feel like there should be some sort of meetup. I want to meet the other cool queer folk around here!!

  7. Thank you so much for this, Autostraddle, and all of you lovely individuals/couples for sharing your stories! This was really interesting and useful. I’m in the UK and, subject to money/jobs/housing, my wife and I are hoping to start trying in 2016. We’d like to try reciprocal IVF as I would like to carry but she cares more about being biologically related – we’re lucky that we are likely to be able to do this, hopefully, but it is more expensive than standard IVF. I was more open to adoption but our views on it aren’t the same and having just watched a (heterosexual, infertile) friend go through it, I know it would be very difficult (emotionally) even if my wife was 100% up for it as well. Lots of admiration for those going through foster to adopt which must be even more emotionally difficult.

    • According to the NHS you can get 6 IUI treatments for free, and then you might have to try it another 6 times before being eligible for IVF on the NHS, but the decision is with your local NHS trust.

      Obvs don’t know your personal circumstances but depending on how big of a deal the biological stuff is, there are cheaper options out there!

      Also I think the process of extracting an egg is pretty intense? I seem to remember reading about loads of self-injections and invasive procedures.

      • Thanks – I need to look again as last time I checked you could only get free fertility treatment if you had either tried naturally (heterosexual couples) or with at home insemination / paid for IUI (same sex couples) and not been successful. I didn’t think you got free IUI up front, unless it’s because of where we live. Either way though, we both have PCOS and the success rates of IUI are lower so we were already considering going straight for IVF to increase our chances of success (we are fortunate to be able to afford to do this), so reciprocal IVF just shares out the hard bits (egg retrieval / pregnancy and childbirth). Plus, for us, the additional benefit is both of us feeling involved in ‘creating’ the baby. I know it wouldn’t be the best option for everyone, though.

        • The NHS only funds IVF or other fertility treatments if you can’t conceive because of health issues, this generally doesn’t apply to same-sex couples. Even for hetero couples with fertility problems there’s little funding and IVF is expensive so the vast majority of women who qualify for them don’t get the full 3 free IVF cycles because the money runs out. Some trusts don’t have money for any IVF treatments and have stopped offering them. It’s very likely IVF will stop being covered by the NHS altogether in the next couple of years. You should look into private insurance that covers fertility treatments, it might be cheaper than paying for IVF on its own especially in the likely event you’ll need more than one cycle.

          For info in this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11968615/Women-denied-IVF-as-80-per-cent-of-NHS-trusts-ration-fertility-treatment.html

          • Yeah that’s pretty much what I thought. I’m not sure where we’ll be living next year yet either which makes it hard to plan. I think (maybe semi consciously?) part of the reason for doing it how we plan to is it removes the lack of control/uncertainty to some extent as it doesn’t rely on the NHS (I love the NHS in all other ways and am fiercely proud of it but for this, it feels uncertain). I hadn’t thought of insurance, thanks for the suggestion 🙂

        • Wish you a lot of luck! My parents have always said that adopting my sister and me is the best thing they ever did in their marriage. It was super expensive, even back then. But it was worth it.

          I’m sure whatever you decide, it will be worth it when you welcome that new family member into your life.

          • Thank you! Best of luck for you too and I look forward to sharing your journey (the parts of it you choose to share) through Autostraddle. I think you’re right, we all make the decisions that feel right to us and so whatever journey you take will (hopefully!) be the right one for you and your family.

  8. Great input from these parents and parents to be. This about summed parenting up for me though – “Parenting is, in a lot of ways, watching all of your self-righteous thoughts and feelings about how you’d parent erode slowly”

  9. Wow this is a really awesome roundtable! Thank you all for sharing all of this really awesome information and these heartwarming parenting stories!

    My partner and I are looking forward to a large poly household with plenty of adults and 2 (or maybe 3….) small sprouts. For whom we may or may not have already picked names… Although it’s far removed from my current reality, thinking about the years ahead and reading real stories about the future possibilities is really helpful.

    I would loooooove to see any content you all come up with focusing on queer poly families! 🙂

    • Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to step up to that plate some day. 😀 Hopefully others will as well but, if Autostraddle is interested, my poly-ness is definitely becoming more of a factor in my baby making journey. Plus, I may be semi-seriously talking with my best friend about finding a house big enough for them, me, our parents, my partner, and my future offspring to live in together. So communal living might be a thing.

  10. **update**: as with most moments in foster parenting, things change quickly. The teenager we referenced in our original contribution as being “gone” is back and things are going quite well. Adoption process has started and its full steam ahead!

    I share this partly because there is a fair chance the kiddo will read this, but also to point out how much of a roller coaster Fostering can be. It’s a fun ride but sometimes I feel like I might lose my lunch.

  11. This was amazing, thank you. I’m a queer woman who plans to be a single parent, and there are so few narratives and stories on either of those parenting identities! This article pushed me back down the rabbit hole of cryobank websites, even though the serious searching won’t start for a few years. This was so interesting and what I’ve been waiting for.

  12. Thank you for this article. It’s come at the perfect time. It’s great seeing so much information being shared openly by queer parents/prospective parents.

    My partner and I are currently going through our first IVF cycle. It’s going very well so far so fingers crossed for next year. We decided to go straight to IVF because although it is invasive (I’ve gotten very good at injecting myself) the success rates are higher and considering we’re importing sperm from the US (choices of donor sperm in Australia are severely limited) we want the best chance of success possible.

    One of the best things about it so far is the openness we’ve had to have about the whole process. Because we could both carry we were able to talk through and decide what was be best for us and our family. We decided I would because I get good parental leave and her work is flexible so she’ll be able to spend a lot of time at home anyway.

    We’re lucky in Australia “social infertility” is partially covered by our Medicare system so we will get about half of the IVF costs back. That makes a huge difference financially.

    My older sister and her partner went through the same process a few years ago and have one gorgeous kid and another on the way so they’ve been a great help. We haven’t told anyone else yet because there is so much pressure from my family, but all going well we’ll be able to in late January.

    I just realised this is a huge over share. I think I’m just excited and nervous and it’s hard not being able to talk about it as much as I’d like.

    • Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you did! It does feel so good to talk about it, doesn’t it? Even though it is still kind of taboo. I often found myself unable to put all my feelings and thoughts into words, especially because parenting decisions are coming from this really personal place where my queerness and feminism intersect with my real life. Plus, it’s a thing that lots of people who haven’t done fertility treatment to get pregnant have a million really personal questions about. Sometimes I just don’t feel like having that conversation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you! It sounds like you have a great support in your sister and her partner. Good luck! Good luck! Good luck!

    • Good luck with the IVF! It is so nice to have this space for talking and sharing our stories. IRL there can be so much pressure or awkwardness or just a desire for privacy, but at the same time it’s nice to have some place for processing all of the feelings!

  13. Super fascinating! I never really thought about assisted fertility being cheaper than adoption– I thought it was the other way around. Also- wow there’s a lot to think about just in terms of fertility, doing a preconception workup, tests that are available during pregnancy, and covering everything financially. I wish there was a website that described all these options and fostering and adoption from an intersectional stand point.

    I’m hoping to co-parent and joined several co-parenting websites but it’s pretty clear that the sites work best for cis and hetereosexual people. Maybe I need to think more about cis men and trans women I know already in terms of actually conceiving, but realistically adoption may be in my future as I am 36. The thought of being a single dad is scary too. Ideally I’d be raising a kid with extended adoptive kin. Adoption maybe seems a little less intimidating since it would at least take away the challenges of male pregnancy, but parenting is challenging no matter how you cut it.

    I’m still trying to find my co-parenting situation and appreciate just learning how others are approaching parenting and thinking through options. So thank you for this panel. I think ideally I could find a resource oriented around prospective trans co-parents that is inclusive of trans women. Maybe this can evolve as more convos on queer parenting arise. In the meanwhile I’ll be seeking out local convos =)

  14. The person who asked the 1st question on page 2 here (the one with the %).
    Thank you so so much for all of this, really, all these answers to questions I didn’t even know I needed the answer to.

    To clarify, the % is assumed, since I have endometriosis, and my specialist says the infertility factor could go one way or the other (but that infertility is looming, and very likely as I get older) since I’m still young, so there’s a 50-50 chance of all sorts of things going wrong and my bits just not working at all in a few years time. And then I add at least a solid 35% to account for having very… erm… bad experiences with sperm (abusive ex boyfriend hooray and a completely closeted self).

    Recently it was announced that a Swedish IVF clinic (IVF Sverige) is going to take over the only clinic in my country starting next year and make it better for women of all kinds and people with uteruses (or so I hope, at least no more intrusive questions about you, your partner (or lack thereof), sexuality (and then frowns and kinda… dry responses after you tell them you’re a nonbinary person attracted to females (in my case)), etc.), slightly lower prices, and the option to have things frozen here instead of having to spend money to fly abroad on top of the cost of having it done there.

    I’ll discuss the option of freezing my eggs with my specialist next appointment for sure. Just in case. It’ll cost a few years’ salary, but I feel more at ease thinking that I’ll have healthy ones stored away in case my bits decide to quit on me.

    I also know at least two couples who’ve adopted, and they say it’s hard on your wallet, patience and mental state, but worth it in the end.
    I…do want to adopt, but at the same time I want to have a biological child….
    well…. I don’t even have a partner currently, this would be better to talk about with them, if/when I find someone for the long term.

    Again, thank you so much for answering these questions and for just being generally really awesome people and good luck to all of you.
    Seriously this made my whole month, haven’t been able to comment until now because every time I just get lost in reading the questions and answers and everyone’s comments and it just makes me happy and confident, but also a bit sad because non-hetero parenting seems to be way more of a struggle than it needs to be, no matter where you live.

    • Thanks for commenting. I’m so glad that the roundtable was helpful for you and that you enjoyed reading it. Thanks for asking a question! Answering the questions was really fun.

      It’s so hard because every person’s situation is so very unique. I’d keep talking with your specialists, definitely. Options are out there! As you know, there is still a chance to be able to conceive with endometriosis, unless you doctor has told you otherwise.

      I have also had several unprotected intercourse experiences with a past cis male partner and once wondered if I was infertile because of it. I’m not. Really there is a fairly small window during which you can conceive (as those of us trying really hard to do so have learned). So unless you were having intercourse every day or actually tracking and planning your fertility during that time, I wouldn’t take that as an indicator that you can’t get pregnant. I’m really glad you got out of that relationship. It sounds like that was really toxic. I’m glad you came out, too!

      Lastly, I’m glad you’re still considering adoption as an option! Adoption wasn’t my (straight) parents’ first choice, but they say now that it was the best thing they ever did. So I’m sure however it turns out for you, you will be able to create the family you want eventually.

      Good luck with everything!

  15. My goodness, reading through this again over and year and a half later- what a different perspective. IVF didn’t work for us, though we still have part of a vial of material that we are paying storage fees on. My wife wants to save money to try again. But for now we went through the foster care classes in our county. Our first placement was six months ago today, and just last week she went back to her bio mama. Our second placement was a week and a half after the first and she’s still with us, though we are working on getting her back with her bio family.

    I’ve worked with kids for quite some time and still was surprised by some of the unique challenges of foster care. Sometimes the kids are so sad and mad which is understandable but also exhausting. Also for now I’m the bread winner and the main caretaker. The kids sometimes have called me by my first name though more often mom. They generally have referred to my wife by her first name. We will see what time will bring.

    • Ha. Same! Thanks for the trip down memory road. We’ve both had a lot of changes in the last >2 yrs!

      I’m so happy that you have been able to grow your family through foster parenting, with all its joys and challenges. I bet you’re amazing moms!

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