EPISODE #114

Babymaking While Queer

EPISODE #114

Babymaking While Queer

Remember Kirya from episode 59? How, as a kid, she freestyled a rap about being Black to her single white mom? Well, Kirya’s not rapping about race anymore, but she’s still thinking about race a lot. Especially when it comes to having kids. Which she knows she wants. But as a woman in a queer relationship, she’s not exactly sure how she’ll make that happen.

Kirya told us that many of her friends are in the same boat—navigating the often confusing waters of queer family planning. So we invited Kirya and her partner Steph into the studio, along with Sasha and Crystal—a couple they’re close with—to hash out their options.

Kirya holding Steph’s hand, the day they got engaged

Sasha and Crystal enjoying a sunny day in February

Tune in for a lively roundtable discussion on the complex world of modern baby-making—and how your own childhood and cultural background can deeply inform what path you decide to take.

Resources for LGBTQ Family Planning
As you’ll hear in this episode, Kirya and her pals attended an LGBTQ family planning workshop to help give them an overview of their options for babymaking. You specific options will vary depending on your location, but here are a couple of comprehensive national resources to get you started. Note: we are not covering adoption or foster care here because, while the couples we featured in this show are open to those ideas, they are hoping to first try for a child that is biologically related to at least one of them first.

For everyone: Of course, LGBTQ folks aren’t the only people seeking the help of reproductive technology, and Path2Parenthood is a resource for everyone. Their site has a find a professional search to help you find legal or medical experts in your area. They also have events held nationwide.

For LGBTQ: Gay Parents To Be has resources for all kinds of queer couples at all steps of the process from legal, to financial, to medical. They also have an events and seminars page with national webinars and local events around the country.

Are YOU trying to figure out how to start a family in something other than the “old-fashioned” way?
How does your own family history or culture play into your decision-making? Does your partner have different ideas? Help us keep this roundtable going! Talk to each other, in the comments.

Kirya top image: Tonilyn Sideco

Our sponsors for this episode are Squarespace, Madison Reed (code: LONGSHORT), Yogi Teas, and Wunder Capital. Use the promo codes at checkout for a special discount.

24 thoughts on “EPISODE #114: Babymaking While Queer

  1. Thank you for making this episode! I really appreciated hearing everyone’s perspectives and these voices are so necessary.
    I’m queer and my fiancé and I are planning on foster to adopt. I’m struggling with the feeling of difference around choosing not to carry/birth a kiddo, even though my fiancé and I have super good reasons for this as a couple and as individuals. Even in the queer community, I feel like a majority of folks are striving to make a baby. This is super duper awesome and I am excited for Kirya, Steph, Crystal and Sasha, but I am kind of at a loss for defining motherhood when my uterus is not involved. With that said, my fiancé and I are pumped to be parents and know that this is the right path for us.
    I wish all the folks highlighted on this episode the best of luck and all the happiness in parenting adventures!

    1. Hi Cait- congrats on starting your journey to parenthood, and thanks for your comment! You make a good point about creating biological babies – in the LGBTQ community – versus non-biological babies; but I think (and hope) that the more folks you meet throughout your journey, the more diversity you’ll find in how folks are creating families. Also, remember that no one can define motherhood and family for you — only you can do that for yourself.

  2. I loved this episode! I’m a lesbian currently in the middle of the babymaking process–it’s been a wild ride. I was interested in the ways childhood influenced everyone’s decisions about donors: for us, we both have poor relationships with our dads, which has actually led us to very specifically seek out UNknown donors. He’s still open but not until our children are 18. (However, the profile of the sperm donor we’ve chosen really makes me wish that we could personally get to know him!)

  3. I loved hearing about why some of them wanted to have a “known donor”. I grew up never knowing who my dad was. It was never talked about in my house. But it was also never anything that lingered over my head in anyway. Sort of like if you’ve never seen the color blue, you don’t really miss it.
    But now that I’m getting older and the conversation about kids is entering my vocabulary I’m realizing I don’t want to have kids at all. And that it’s because I really don’t know anything about half of my genetic makeup. I guess “not seeing blue” has its consequences.

  4. My wife and I have been on a five year family invisioning and baby making journey . I am currently 12 weeks pregnant. The road to building our family has had lots of ups and downs and changes of plans. My wife is a person of color and it was really important to us that our donor was the same ethnicity as she is since I’m carrying the baby. Race and family history has played a huge role in what path we ultimately decided to take. Best of luck to all the queer couples trying to figure out how to build their family. It can feel very isolating so I totally agree with reaching out for support. In Seattle we have a support group called Maybe Baby that I found helpful.

  5. I loved this episode. I’m a cis-gendered woman in a hetero marriage. My husband and I struggled for years to get pregnant and eventually had 2 awesome kids through IVF. The couples in this episode gave me such a valuable perspective on the journey to parenthood. I recall my experience with assisted reproductive technology as a time of great sadness and anger. I felt so betrayed by my body, so overcome by the “unfairness” of not being able to procreate “like everyone else.” I don’t know how capable of perspective I was at that time but listening to Kirya, Steph, Sasha and Crystal talk animatedly about making a family with zero expectation of ease was so refreshing. I wish I tell my past self to seek out the company of those who never assumed an easy path, queer, straight and otherwise.
    Also, I LOVE the idea of raising little radicals. This is my new mission in momhood.

  6. Thank you so much for doing this episode! As a QWOC it is amazing to hear our perspective on this how-do-we-become-parents topic. When my wife and I were thinking about having a baby, it felt like there were so few stories and resources out there from queer parents, let alone people of color.

    Anyway, one of the couples mentioned thinking about conceiving using sperm from a brother-in-law or other relative. That is how we conceived our daughter! I’m obviously thrilled with the decision because it gave me the most perfect baby ever, but there are definitely pros and cons. I would be happy to talk them out with the couple considering that option (or anyone else) because it does have interesting familial ramifications!

    1. Hi Jen- thanks so much for offering your thoughts! I would love to chat further about this, and I’m sure Sasha, Kirya & Steph might also be interested. I’ll reach out to Abigail to see how we can connect offline!

  7. At one point someone suggests that trump voters shouldn’t have children. How can we claim open mindedness if we don’t practice it ourselves?

    “It’s not a race thing… it’s more like a like minded thing.” This is a demonstration of ignorance from a community which prides itself on individualism, self-education, and personal struggle. I would say that this statement is radical but I’d like to keep that word associated with positivity. This statement is serious and should be treated as such. I’ll make no leaps to sterilization, but similar ideas have resulted in such acts.

    Much love and support from your non-Trump supporting, test tube baby of Trump supporting parents.

    1. That’s not what she said at all. She didn’t say Trump voters shouldn’t have children. Just as the topic that lead into that statement wasn’t that white people shouldn’t have children either. What she was talking about, and what she said was that she liked the idea of adding more people to the world who are like-minded to her and share her values. Which of course, there’s no guarantee a person’s kids will always share their parents views (like yourself :) ), but that’s what she was talking about. Nothing wrong or radical about that.

    2. Hi Caryn- I believe you’re referring to a comment that I made, which was in response to being asked about making and raising babies – as LGBTQ folks of color – given the current (political) climate of explicit hatred and discrimination against people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ-identified folks, women, etc. The context of my statement was in direct response to Steph’s feeling of not wanting to raise babies in this sort of environment; and my comment was that we (see the list of folks above) should be the ones making more babies. It was more about affirming the choice to raise kids in a world where you can almost guarantee adversity simply based on how they look or who their parents are, and not about limiting the choice of Trump supporters – or anyone, for that matter – to also create their own families. (Hopefully we’ll be able to continue to make these family planning decisions legally, but even that is yet to be determined.) Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

  8. I really appreciated this episode — as I always do. Especially this one as my wife and I are starting a family at this moment. I wish there was a LST group in Brooklyn to meet people!!

    1. Hi Anna- we’ve actually been talking about meeting with other LGBTQ folks who are at various steps along the path to parenthood (including those who are already parents). And…we’re in Brooklyn! Will see how we can connect directly. Thanks!

  9. Crystal mentioned being concerned about caring for her mother with a baby. My 89 year old grandmother lives with me and my husband and we just had a baby last April. Her problems are mostly physical but there is definitely cognitive issues going on as well with her. I have to make all of her meals do her laundry clean her room basically take care of her almost as much as my baby. I found that it was very difficult at first to adjust because honestly it really does add a lot of additional issues that you don’t think of with the baby. I’m always on the lookout for her pills on the floor. I had to get small little ramps to go on either side of the baby gate so that she didn’t trip over it coming into the living room . It’s very difficult because most of the caregiver resources assume that you are an older person caring for a parent when that’s just not the case with us . However it can definitely be done it’s a lot of work but having the baby has really brightened things up around the house especially for my grandmother who loves seeing her. She’s her first great grandchild and I’ve found that really it’s just preparing me to have a toddler and a baby for when I have my second child. I wanted to tell Crystal to not let that stop you. It seems daunting but it can’t be done. If you ever want someone to talk about it I would gladly give you my contact information and we can chat.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Linnea! I really appreciate your insights, and feel encouraged by your story. I know it will certainly add to our stress and responsibilities, but my mother also really opens up with children, so that’s something that I look forward to is all experiencing!

  10. Such a great episode! As a woman in a same-sex relationship, I am a big fan of all the episodes about queer families and family-making. I first started listening to LST when my wife was pregnant with our son, and it seemed to me that many of the early episodes focused on biological parents and the issues that come with giving birth. This was all incredibly helpful information for me as a parent-to-be, but I felt as if adoptive parents had less of a place in that world. It’s so important to tell other stories, especially stories of the extra work that goes into making queer families. Legal agreements, marriages, decisions about donors, and complicated relationships with grandparents are just a few of the extras, and I was thrilled to hear a discussion of those topics here. I also really enjoyed the conversation about the ethics and reasons for bringing children into the world in the current political climate. Precisely these questions are on my mind as we think about having a second child, and I was so grateful to hear the different perspectives of some other queer folks.

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