EPISODE #104

Uterus + Sperm

EPISODE #104

Uterus + Sperm

Jenna never planned to be with a woman. She never planned to have kids. But when she met Kiely, all that changed. After dating for three years, they got married. Started talking about having babies. But when you have a uterus, and your partner also has a uterus, there’s always the question of … how?

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It was a tricky puzzle to solve, but Kiely and Jenna eventually got their baby.

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Thanks, in part, to this guy.

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There are lots of ways to start a family when you’re in a same-sex couple. Tune in to hear how these two did it. And stay tuned for next week’s episode, when the plot thickens.

How did YOU start your family?
Queer, straight, we want to hear it all. When did things go according to plan? And when did they not?

Photos

deck: Two Bird Studio 

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29 thoughts on “EPISODE #104: Uterus + Sperm

  1. In general I love LST, but this story angered me because it seemed to be another example of entitled adults only considering their self-oriented reasons of why they want a baby so badly, and not what is best for the actual baby. (IE: I want a boy because I liked playing with my brothers.) Jenna and Kiely may have considered these factors, and maybe the story didn’t go into it, but if it had it would have been an important aspect to examine. Consider the voices of adult children of same-sex and sperm donor procreators; listen to their stories and recommendations–did Jenna and Kiely look into these voices? Love (and money) does not conquer all, as time has told by children who at a young age were put in circumstances they had no choice in (for example, transracially adopted children), who for a long time had no voice because all the stories were told by adoptive parents who had their self interests at heart. This feels similar. More concern needs to be given to what is best for the child, not just the one-sided needs or desires of the parent.

    1. saebom — Thanks for your comment. Kiely and Jenna’s story, like all personal stories on our show, is about an individual family with unique circumstances. I believe it is unfair to look at any one family’s choices and judge them against outcomes for other families. I’m sure there are some children in the situations you’re suggesting who feel unfairly treated, just as there are children in “traditional” families who feel unfairly treated by their biological parents. But let’s not make assumptions about an individual or couple’s reasons for starting a family in the way that they choose.

    2. Many of these questions have been asked and answered. Children of same sex coupled are just as or more well adjusted then those from ‘traditional families. In addition, when you have to fight just to have a baby, parenting takes on new meanings

  2. Thank you for the language you used in this episode (such as “being a person with a uterus with a partner who also has a uterus”). I’m a person in a gay male relationship where one of us actually DOES have a uterus (one of us is trans and the other is cis), so I felt the language was super inclusive without being clunky!

  3. Great story! Very interesting to hear how another couple navigated the process of using a “friend” donor. My wife is 13 weeks and we decided to skip the potential hassle and anxiety of trying to find someone we know and who would be will to be a donor. We just went straight to the sperm bank. One issue we did run into though is that with the sperm bank route there aren’t many donors of color. But we did choose a donor who is willing to be known so that when our kid gets older they have the option of getting to know the donor if they choose. Thanks!

  4. First off, the story of this family is amazing. In a lot of ways, it seems like it was a bit fated and very sweet.

    In terms of unconventional planning, I’ve got a story. I moved with my husband and 18 month old son from Seattle, WA to Australia 2.5 years ago. My husband just finished up his masters and planned not to work through school…so new country, young family, and tight budget. I had a copper IUD put in shortly after we arrived. We knew we wanted another child but wanted to wait until we were more established in the country. Our second had other plans! I fell pregnant about 3 months after the IUD was put in and the early stages of the pregnancy were really uncertain.

    Life always works itself out though. Linus was born about a month before my husband took his finals for his last semester, which he passed just fine. We are still here, still on a visa but working toward permanent residency. And of course, I couldn’t imagine our lives without him. Our boys are incredible and I love raising them here, even though not everything went to plan.

    Love the show Hillary!

  5. I really enjoyed these episodes, thank you so much for sharing your story! We are a female same-sex couple with a 9 month old daughter conceived using a known donor.

    There are so many decisions to make when deciding how to start a family (who will carry the baby, anonymous/known donor, how to do the inseminations, the legal aspects etc etc). It took us a long time to talk it all through and decide what felt best for us. I don’t believe there are any rights or wrongs, you just have to decide what you feel is best for your family. For example, our decision to use a known donor was done in the knowledge that it would be far more challenging and risky for my wife and I to have a third person in the picture (and it is) but far better for our daughter to have full knowledge of where she came from, and access to her donor (hopefully this will be the case). Again, no judgements of people making other choices; it’s just what felt like the right thing for us.

    It’s so helpful to have visibility of other people on the same/similar journeys. There’s so much to navigate – the role of the donor, attitudes of the wider family, being a non-birth mother etc – and all of that on top of all that comes with being new parents. During some of the more difficult times, without reference points, or knowledge of other people’s experiences, or friends in the same boat, one can feel a little adrift. Also, telling our stories is a vital way to share the incredible joy that comes with starting a family, and the immeasurable love that surrounds our children.

    So, thank you for being so candid and giving us a glimpse into your beautiful family. Huge congratulations and sending you all the very best on this next stage of your journey!

  6. Thank you for this story!!! My wife and I get asked all the time how we became a family of 4 and I think it stems from our stories not being told as much so people really don’t understand how lesbian and gay couples expand their family. For us, the choice was really clear that I would get pregnant with our kids. She wanted to be a mom, but didn’t really have any desire to get pregnant. I loved everything about pregnancy. We have two girls and I enjoyed both my pregnancies. Getting pregnant was an eye opening experience. We had no clue where to begin so we literally found a book about how lesbians can have kids. One of the things it brought up was a known donor versus an unknown donor. We thought about all the men in our lives, we even made a list, but unlike the couple in your podcast, we couldn’t picture asking any of them. So, we took on the crazy task of finding a donor through California Cryobank. We looked for a basic background and passions that seemed like my wife. I remember we had it down to two donors and when we heard their voices on the audio interview we just knew we had found the guy. You might want to do a subsequent story on insurance and coverage for all the procedures that you need to get pregnant via an infertility clinic. I remember when trying for our second child, insurance decided that they wouldn’t cover my IUI procedure because I hadn’t had “unprotected heterosexual sex” for at least 6 months. I remember the office administrator yelling at my insurance company on the phone saying, “she is a lesbian. That is why she is coming to our office. She can’t have unprotected heterosexual sex for 6 months!” We fought them and finally got coverage for the procedure. Now our girls are 7 and 3 1/2 and we are so grateful every day that we made our family of 2 a family of 4. Thanks for this episode!!!

  7. After listening to LST in its entirety, I’ve come to appreciate that, more than anything, the show strives to be inclusive of all types of families and situations. In general, this episode is yet another example of acceptance of yet another type of family. Even though not all listeners (including myself, admittedly) may agree with all of the situations and choices portrayed in all of the episodes, I have been impressed with how non-judgmentally the stories have been presented…

    …except one line in this episode. In the search for a potential sperm donor, the two women initially became interested in one guy, but after his religious family “gave him shit” about it (or something to that effect – but I remember the phrase about giving him shit), they moved on. This line made me angry. It reduces religious convictions, and those that hold them deeply as a part of themselves, to a stupid nuisance that can be brushed aside without a second thought, perhaps even after making fun of someone for it. In this line, I felt what I have felt so many times with so many other podcasts, news outlets, etc., which is that it’s both PC and socially acceptable to be inclusive of all lifestyles EXCEPT those who hold religious convictions.

    I hope that’s not what you intended. I hope that it was an ill-conceived slip. There are so many better ways that could have been said without implying that religious family members are stupid nuisances that aren’t worth the effort. May I suggest, perhaps, something along the lines of this: “They found one guy that seemed promising, but after his family expressed some doubts, they decided to move on and continue their search.” I’m no writer, but I’m sure you could spruce that up and avoid disparaging those who have different beliefs from the story’s subjects.

    One final thought. I am a doctor. I am also Catholic. I believe deeply in the values that my church teaches. I neither use nor prescribe contraception (although my husband and I have very successfully used Natural Family Planning to space our children in a way that is healthy for our family). I do not turn away any patient; I simply refer those who are requesting things that I cannot provide to other doctors. I have faced discrimination and pressure to prescribe contraception, and I have been accused of not standing up for women’s rights because of it. As you may imagine, this is both hurtful and anxiety-provoking. In a society that strives more and more to be inclusive, those with my views and practices are being told that we have no place. I would hope that, in the future, this show will be more careful – to continue to model inclusivity of diverse views, lifestyles, and beliefs, including religion.

    1. As half of a same-sex couple, I was surprised at how much the comments by this poster (the Catholic doctor) resonated with me. My wife and I have a son together, but really struggled with many of the issues that this poster raised, and I was also disappointed that this podcast didn’t handle lesbian family building with the sensitivity and nuance that I’ve come to expect from the LST. This lack of nuance also suggests that these decisions are easier or more straightforward than they actually are for most of us.

      For example, I was also surprised by Hilary’s comment about a religious family “giving shit” to a prospective donor. My own religious family also was concerned about the prospect of two women bringing a child into the world. I’m very close to my family despite our differences, and can’t simply dismiss their concerns as giving me shit. I would’ve liked more discussion about the decision-making process here, since otherwise it reduces the real people in this podcast to a collection of reproductive organs who don’t think about anything except the mechanics of getting pregnant (and LST was strangely coy about that too).

      Similarly, I thought that Hilary didn’t push K and J to be as self-reflective as she might have been if they were a straight couple. For example, I thought their definition of a “dad” as primarily a sperm provider was strange, and I would’ve liked more probing about why it’s any better to have a known “dad” who explicitly doesn’t want to be a parental figure (which is itself a kind of rejection) than to have an unknown sperm donor.

      Again, as a lesbian, I’ve clearly made a choice not to have a conventional dad in my own child’s life, but I also recognize that this is a choice that I’ve made for my child that isn’t aligned with the “average” family structure in this country. Like the Catholic poster above, I think that all of this can be discussed honestly and factually without privileging either straight or LGBT couples or religious or non-religious people, and I would’ve liked to see more of that nuance here. To suggest that K and J’s conclusions about family building should be accepted as inherently “correct” without pushing them on some of these issues seems unfair to both a diverse listening audience and to K and J themselves.

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