Wednesday, December 31, 2014

LesDonor: All Eggs and No Sperm...Where Do We Begin?

Basic science dictated that Tommie and I did not have the proper materials to make a baby, so we had to have "the talk" about the donor we would select.  Although my first instinct was to breed a future Olympian, and I was therefore only interested in donors taller than 6'5" who had earned full athletic scholarships, Tommie helped me to focus on the most important factor- the donor's health.  We wanted to bypass any potentially harmful traits and also avoid ones that were just plain silly (we found a donor who had been born with webbed toes).  We also figured we should select someone who was relatively intelligent.  Who really knows the answer to the nature versus nurture debate?  We also had to choose a cryobank.  We dabbled in Fairfax Cryobank for our first go-around.  Let's just say that the friendly, nurturing phone operator pictured on their website is not exactly what we got.  We did order some vials from them, but after dealing with Nurse Ratched on the other line, we switched to California Cryobank.


The website for CCB was much more user-friendly and they had a larger selection.  Their prices were comparable.  The bottom line is that there is no way to get a bargain when you are shopping for sperm!  With shipping, I believe we paid around $750 per teeny tiny vial of swimmers.  We also paid hundreds of dollars to view all of the donors and to see their full profiles.  There were a number of "ooooooooh" and "aaaaaaaah" moments while meticulously selecting our potential child's donor: some were pictured with mini- guitars, strumming away at age 4, and others wrote about saving the whales or helping an elderly lady across a busy intersection.  After previous failed attempts with IUI inseminations, we went for the donor who had already produced "more than 10" pregnancies.  We were not taking any chances. Although I have not read it, Experiences with Donor Conception is supposed to be a good introduction to this world of donor selection.

Other than the health report, we found that the most insightful portion of the donor's profile was the section in which a member of the staff described him.  You can read right through their subtleties!  "Warm, caring, and loving personality" really translates into "Not so good looking, but your kid will be really nice."  "Unique sense of humor" is actually "This guy is a total weirdo, but he is willing to earn $50 for a vial of his DNA."  "Stunningly of the staff's favorites" means "He's a complete hunk and we all want to have his babies; in fact, we're stealing his sperm from the storage room right now."  It's also amusing to see the donor's look-alikes.  We chose someone who looks a lot like Tommie, with high cheek bones and full lips that will likely be shared with Eggbryo.  The future baby will look nothing at all like me, but I do not care because (1) I'm not very good looking and (2) the goal here is a healthy pregnancy.  Our donor's doppelgangers are: Cillian Murphy, Tom Welling, and Tyson Ritter.  See below.

   Image result for Cillian Murphy Image result for tom wellingImage result for tyson ritter model

His SAT score was above 1450.  


We also contacted other people who used this donor through the Donor Sibling Registry.  We thought this would be helpful in investigating the wellbeing of their offspring, just to make sure Murphingritt (Mur-fing-rit) was indeed a healthy guy.  Some of these couples even sent us photos of their children, and WOW, they look just like the donor's baby pictures.  California Cryobank has their own registry too, but you cannot use it unless you are officially pregnant.  Since we are so early (now, 6 weeks), we have not reported the pregnancy yet. After our first sonogram, we will.  

Saturday, December 27, 2014

LesIdentities: Hidden

So, here we are.  (That really is the two of us at a restaurant.)  Nobody knows that our wives are in the early stages of pregnancy, so we want to keep this undercover for now.  Next up is Les Donors.  We will describe how we chose ours and will provide some things to consider as you do the same.


LesDecision: How do Lesbians Decide to Have a Baby?

I never wanted to have a baby, and being a lesbian made that easy.  I was not susceptible to the dreaded "whoops moment."  I knew I would never need to drive feverishly to Walgreen's for some Plan B.  Despite the minor complications of being a lesbian- parental shame, lack of equity, institutionalized biases- this was a big bonus. Luckily, my maternal instinct was absent (or hiding).  As a college athlete who had invested tons of time into my physique, I could not imagine what a baby would do to it.  I refused to battle the stretch marks and cave to abs- not-of-steel.  My future did not hold muscles that would be loosened and softened by an alien that would invade my body for almost a year...a year!  My vanity was not the only impediment.  I had the fortune of hearing a family member talk about giving birth and "pooping on the table."  I was forced to listen to her birth story from the first stabbing contraction to the ripping of her...well, you know.  That was enough.  I would enjoy my gay lifestyle.  I imagined trips to Provincetown and South Beach, dressed like an L-Word character in a tailored white summer suit and $400 designer sneakers.  I reveled in how it would feel to bathe in my disposable income. I threw my head back and dreamed of driving a sexy Jeep, outfitting my ultra-modern apartment with framed canvases and Bose surround sound, and finding that special someone who would join me- sans child- in these escapades.

Then, I had an epiphany.  Actually, she found me and, honestly, did not like me much at first.  For the purposes of this blog, I will call her Tommie.  We met at a bar.  She had just returned from a year of military service in a combat zone.  She was in love with someone else.  I guess I grew on her.  Time passed and we started a life together, and it was good.  It's been almost exactly ten years since that January 4th night in the bar and a lot has changed.  For example, we just found out that we are (hopefully) having a baby in August.  How do lesbians decide to have a baby, you ask?  That is the crux of it- we decide because we must, and for us, this was a very calculated decision.  We don't have accidents and the condom just doesn't break.  

We actually decided to foster teenagers before the process began.  I volunteered to be a mentor for True Colors, LLC and we met our foster children through them.  These adolescents showed me how to be a parent; they led the way, and I learned to be reasonable and to listen.  As co-parents, Tommie and I were "on the same page" about many things.  I started to think that we could do this.  I hit 30 and I yearned to be a mother.

Like many bookish lesbian couples, we began to read a lot about "les babies" before we embarked on this sometimes crushing journey.  We visited our favorite book store, Everyone's Books, and stocked up.  Where else could we find an entire section devoted to lesbians having babies or tree houses for adults?  Tommie and I gathered what would be our lesbian baby bibles: Homebirth in the Hospital, The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception and Birth, The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians, and the quintessential Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  Some of these are now absent from our bookshelves.  At each baby bump in the road, I decided to engage in a ritualistic purging of any items related to baby-making.  It was just too hard to have them around.  I am sure I misplaced or donated at least three baby naming books.  We talked endlessly about a potential birth plan.  We watched The Business of Being Born.  When lesbians decide to have a baby, it can be grueling.  We partook in online sperm shopping.  It's basically a very expensive version of  We tried some swimmers from Fairfax Cryobank.  We naively thought we could make a baby at home.  "Fuck the statistics," we shouted with glee!  We experienced several unsuccessful tries.  

We broke down and looked for fertility doctors.  We had few choices.  There were the boutique-y ones who operated out of single, but sometimes, unsuccessful practices.  Also available were the Eli Whitney assembly line-type establishments.  We tried both and each had its share of inconsistencies, i.e., a shaky, 70-year old doctor prying open my cervix with a cold, torturous metal set of clamps with handles because the catheter "just wouldn't go in."  When it came down to it, though- the business of having a baby- we chose the place with the highest success rate: UConn's Center for Advanced Reproductive Services. We purchased some new contestants (#12881) from California Cryobank.  We made the most of our health insurance and jumped to two cycles of IVF.  And here we, that's not a Rorschach Test.  It's...

EMBRYO (AKA "Eggbryo")




We are basking in this new bliss and so are two of our friends!  That is how this blog was born.  Two of us, the non-birth mothers, decided to capture and share our stories.  I am Belle.  My blog co-parent is Schneider. Welcome to our new and growing world.