7 Different Ways Lesbians Can Make Babies
This mum reveals all the options she and her partner explored...
By Alex Harmon
January 22 2019
When you’re a lesbian you think you’ve got it pretty good when it comes to saving money on contraception. But when you decide that you want to get pregnant, all that luxury goes out the window. It’s stressful, complicated and can be bloody expensive.
When my partner and I decided to have a baby we found out there were many ways two ladies could fertilize an egg. Here are just some of options we explored…
1 The turkey baster
It might seem like a cliché but this simple Thanksgiving instrument has been getting lesbians pregnant since the dawn of time. All we’d have to do is find a good male friend who’s willing to pass on his genes, whip out the turkey baster to insert the goods and Bob’s your uncle (or in this case your baby daddy). Taking matters into our own hands seemed appealing because it meant not using any doctors and we could play out the event on home turf. It also meant I could be more involved in getting my partner pregnant, but we weren’t convinced…
"It is possible that you may be able to use artificial insemination (the old ‘turkey baster’ or ‘syringe’ method at home), but you will need to track your cycle precisely to work out when you are most fertile and likely to conceive," Dr Raewyn Teirney, a fertility specialist, gynaecologist and creator of the fertility kit Conceiveplease. "There may be legal consequences down the track here with custody issues, so it’s important that all parties are clear as to where they stand legally in terms of child custody and visitation rights. There are some excellent family lawyers that specialise in this area."
2 The gay friend
We had a close male gay friend who for many years explored this option with us. We liked the idea because our child would know who his father was. Plus, not only would he have two mums, he’d also have one or two dads, which can be profitable come birthdays. In the end the devil was in the detail. We started talking about things like how we’d share custody, where he’d go to school, when he would get his first haircut and so on. We decided that three people raising a child was just far too many people for us. It’s hard enough deciding on those haircuts between the two of us!
“Finding a sperm donor isn’t always easy, but you may find you have a gay or indeed straight, single friend who is willing to help and you can then explore the Artificial Insemination or IVF,” says Dr Tierney. If this is the case, it’s important that all parties involved in the conception of the child undergo a medical assessment and pre-natal medical testing, such as screening for STIs (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Chlamydia, HIV, gonorrhoea and so on) and any vaccinations that may be required.” A pelvic ultrasound and testing of the fallopian tubes to check all is well with ‘the plumbing’ is advised too. The male friend also needs a check-up, with semen testing.
3 The straight friend
We have a lovely straight guy in our lives who was willing to help out. He’s good looking, smart, kind and doesn’t have any kids of his own. My partner and really liked the idea and began discussing it with him on a serious level one day. Then he dropped the bombshell. He wanted to create this child the natural way. “A threesome,” he grinned. “No one would be left out” he added. Not for us, buddy, but nice try!
4 The brother
I have two brothers so this option was toyed with as it meant I’d have the opportunity to impregnate my partner with sperm that has a similar DNA structure to mine - should my brother be willing. When it comes to passing on your family genes, it’s the closest thing to a traditional pregnancy for two women. But it seemed too messy for us. I thought about family events when the cousins playing in the backyard would actually be half-siblings. Things are already complicated enough, we decided.
5 Reciprocal IVF
This seemed like an attractive option as it allows both of us to be physically involved in a pregnancy. We thought about flipping a coin - one person provides the eggs and the other carries the baby. That way we would both feel highly connected to the experience. And it’s still something we might do in the future. Just not at the same time, that would be nuts.
"This is a beautiful way of creating your family and it involves extracting the egg from the woman who will be donating it, fertilising it and implanting it the womb of the other partner in the relationship. “It’s a very special way of them both sharing in that child and them really bonding as a family,” says Dr Tierney. “We actually do this a lot at IVF Australia and it is a really beautiful, magical outcome.”
6 The old-fashioned way
We drunkenly discussed this one night while talking to a gorgeous man we met at a bar. He was hitting on my partner and I whispered into her ear, “go for it” in the same way I might be the wing-man for a single friend. I figured it would be cheap. Luckily I came to my senses, rather than pushing her into the nearest public toilet. Duping an unsuspecting man isn’t exactly the best explanation we could give to our future child.
7 The sperm bank
Using an anonymous sperm donor to create a family via IVF was the option we eventually decided on. Mostly because it meant our family unit was just us – two parents and a baby. We found the sperm through an international sperm bank, had it shipped over and my partner went through fertility treatment to fertilize one of her eggs. There was a fair bit of legal paperwork to fill out, a mandatory counseling session and a whole lot of hormone injections, but we now have a beautiful son.
"Forget buying sperm online. It’s not only illegal in Australia, but you risk getting contaminated or unhealthy sperm," Dr Teirney says. “IVF Australia has a dedicated, comprehensive and supportive donor sperm program where women can access sperm from donors who have had a thorough medical work up, genetic testing of over 500 genes and STIs testing - that has been thoroughly tested and is of great quality. I would suggest this is the safest and easiest way of sourcing sperm.”
It is important to note that the sperm donor has non-identifying information, but this identifying information will be made available to the conceived child when they reach 18 years. It’s also worth noting here that when a man donates sperm and it is purchased via a legitimate donor program, he will have no legal access to the child until it turns 18, which does eliminate any grey areas of custody issues that could arise when going down the path of having a friend donate sperm.