7 Questions About My Fertility Journey You're Too Shy to AskAela Mass
It’s no world record, but 30 months is a long time to be actively trying to get pregnant. Now, you might be wondering, what exactly does “actively” mean for two lesbians?
Ours is a story that’s more common than you might realize at first. When I decided to blog about “our road to motherhood,” I did so because I couldn’t find the stories I was looking for online. I couldn’t find the answers to the questions we were asking each other, and I knew we couldn’t be the only ones.
Turns out, we’re not.
I’ve heard from countless readers who have shared their similar experiences of what it’s like to be a lesbian planning (and eventually starting) a family. I’m certainly not the only gay woman sharing her baby-making story online, but I’ve been very lucky to connect with a readership that genuinely cares about what’s going on with us.
The outpouring of love and support along the way — especially after the loss of our twins when I was 17-weeks pregnant — is awesome. People really care.
Some of you have been with us from the get-go, and know just about everything there is to know. Others among you are also gay and planning families of your own, or have already successfully done so, and you guys totally “get it.” But some of you only recently found our story, and I know you have questions.
People always do.
So here are seven questions about my fertility journey that you might be too shy to ask …
Why don’t we just adopt?
Adoption was actually our first choice in family planning. It seemed to make the most sense for us: Here we were, wanting a child, and there they were, all these babies and kids in the world wanting a family. Perfect fit. Except adoption is expensive — really expensive — and we didn’t want to start our life out as a family in $30K+ debt, which is the average cost of adoption. The further we looked into adoption, we discovered additional road blocks aside from the financial aspect, like the fact that not all agencies would adopt out to a lesbian family. People suggested we become foster parents, and as much as I wish I had the heart to enter into that “system,” I know I don’t. So we took adoption off the table.
How could we afford IVF and not adoption?
Simple: I have amazing insurance, and it pays for everything except the cost of sperm. In fact, that’s the same reason we leaped right into IVF and didn’t start with IUI (which is what’s commonly known as artificial insemination). IVF was the least expensive route for us. After numerous failed cycles, we moved to a different state and decided to give IVF a break.
How did you choose your sperm bank?
The first sperm donor we used (and the one from which we got the sperm that got me pregnant with twins) came from Pacific Reproductive Services out of California. After months of looking at different agencies, they felt like the best fit. They are lesbian-owned, and they offered “willing to be known” donors — which meant our future kids would be able to contact their biological father should they decide they needed or wanted to. That was incredibly important to us, because we wanted that to be an option for our kids. Overall, we felt that PRS had our best interests in mind, our kids’ best interests, and even our donor’s best interests.
How did you choose your second sperm donor?
We sort of chose him, and he sort of chose us. It was a “friend-of-a-friend” situation that really kind of just happened. He was very kind and sweet and had a big and true heart — and he was willing. And we were eager. His blood work was perfect. It was surprisingly easy. We decided to “use him” for our at-home inseminations, which was the next course of action we took after we decided to break from IVF.
Oh boy, how do you “use him” for “at-home inseminations?”
Not quite how you might immediately think. He would make a deposit, so to say, into a sterile cup (like the ones you pee in at the doctor’s office). We would plan the time of day, and pick it up from him at his house, quickly drive back to our house (Sara mostly did this part while I waited in bed at home, trying to relax) and we would inseminate in our own home, which basically meant that we used a needle-less syringe to suck up the semen from the cup, a disposable speculum to open me up and target my fertile cervix, and then slowly inject the semen. It was actually pretty damn ideal. Except for the fact that it never worked, it could have been perfect.
Why have you waited so long to have Sara try?
Because I wanted to be pregnant. Because my job affords me a better opportunity for pregnancy. Sara owns her own CrossFit and has been a competitive athlete for over four years. It didn’t make as much sense for her to try to get pregnant as it did for me. But, we’re ready now to change it up. Do what ya gotta do, right?
Do you ever just think you shouldn’t have kids, that maybe “it’s a sign?”
In my darkest moments, yes. In my toughest times, I wonder if I’m ignoring some bigger message from the universe. But the hole in my heart and the void in our life, I know, can only be filled with pattering feet and sleepless nights and a voice that calls me mom.
Most questions often lead to more questions, so feel free to kindly ask in the comments!