It’s the question on everyone’s mind, but most people are too polite to ask:
How do two lesbians get pregnant?
Lesbians can have children a variety of ways. Some sleep with men (yes, we do; get over it). Some hook up with a guy for the purposes of conception. Some have children from a previous marriage or relationship with a man. Some get friends to hand over the goods in a plastic cup (it can happen).
And some, like us, buy sperm off the internet.
We first asked a friend, but he said ‘no thank you’ because he wanted children on his own someday and thought it would be too hard to have a child that was his and not his. We considered others to be a ‘known donor’ but logistically and emotionally determined an anonymous donor from a sperm bank was our best option.
There are no sperm banks in Alaska.
We chose one in California because the laws there clearly state that the donor has no parental rights (or responsibilities). Pacific Reproductive Services is lesbian-owned, has friendly staff, and has experience shipping sperm out-of-state (cost including shipping is about $800 a pop). Several other sperm banks in California and around the country have a good reputation as well. If you’re looking for one, I’d go with the bank that is easy to use for what you want.
You may be dealing with them for a long time.
You can search the donor database all sorts of ways – hobbies, ethnicity, education. Since I was the one who wanted to be pregnant, we selected donors like my partner – brown hair, brown or hazel eyes, smart, artistic. We narrowed our list to a half-dozen before buying their long history which told us more about their interests, health, and family history. Because it took so long for me to get pregnant (a topic for another day), we ended up trying several donors and one time picked a guy because he was tall and liked sailing.
When you select someone to contribute genes to your family, there is a lot of doubt and uncertainty.
It took me about a year to work up the courage to ask our friend if he would be a sperm donor. You wonder if you’ll screw your kid if she gets hay fever from both sides of the gene pool. And if she ever meets him, would he treat her right? How can you tell that from a six-page questionnaire? But now, with my darling baby becoming a darling toddler, I look at her beautiful face and strong legs. I watch her figure things out – already smart and kind, and I know we chose correctly.
The other donors didn’t work out because they wouldn’t have created Antonia. And she’s perfect.
Are you looking for a sperm or egg donor? What traits are important to you?
About the author: Laura is a writer, runner, wife, mother, lesbian and Alaskan. She and her partner live in a small house in Anchorage with their daughter, who is the light of their lives even when she is spitting up on them at 3 am.