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Who carries the child? Lesbian parents on how they answered the all-important question

Who carries the child? Lesbian parents on how they answered the all-important question

Lesbian parents have spoken out about how they came to one of the most important decisions they will ever make: deciding which partner will give birth to their child.

From finding suitable sperm, to questions around guardianship, egg donation and fertility, users of Reddit revealed the joys and challenges leading to the conception and birth of their families.

‘We had my wife’s eggs fertilized from a donor and then I carried our daughter, one user said. ‘This let both of us have a major contribution in being the mother to our child. Biologically the child is my wife’s, but I carried her.

‘We want to have a second, and want her to carry our second child so that we can both experience it, but this was the thought process behind the decision on our first.

‘The summary of what we ultimately decided on doesn’t really factor in all the conversations, debates, and arguments that lead us to that point. It took a while to get there.’

‘Reciprocal IVF (her egg, my nest) would have been awesome but also out of our price range,’ said another. ‘She didn’t care to be pregnant and I didn’t mind so I was picked. Found a friend of a friend to be the donor and a plastic syringe turkey baster did the rest.’

‘My child will be born to two legally married parents but only the birth mother will be granted guardianship, solely because of the gender of the other one,’ she added. ‘This would even be true if the child I carried was made from my wife’s egg; she would still have to legally adopt her own genetic child. At least a few states grant de facto parentage to a same sex spouse. But until they all do, second parent adoption will be the necessary step to ensure guardianship across all states.’

Some women expressed concern about how pregnancy would affect their gender identity, with others chipping in to help explain.

‘Are you a dude?’ one Redditor asked. ‘Let’s say that secretive scientists in Japan have been working on getting males pregnant in an effort to regrow the population faster. They’ve been doing it in secret trials for the last 30 years and while the womb construct is artificial (but still inside you and connected by placenta) and c-section is the only way out, the rest of it is exactly as safe as female pregnancy. Oh and some hormones to keep things balanced, but without long term effects.

‘Now your wife was just diagnosed with a heart condition that makes her unfit to carry a child. She still wants one so badly. Are you ready to carry her fetus for her? For nine months with no going back? And handle facing your friends, family, and coworkers while doing that? Seriously, consider actually being pregnant. If you’re honest with yourself, it weirds you out. And that’s probably how some masculine lesbians feel.’

It’s not just carrying the child that raises questions for lesbian couples. Deciding on how to obtain suitable sperm, through a donor or otherwise, is often a challenge.

One user explained her thought process: ‘We both have brothers who we hope will donate. Her egg, my brother’s sperm, and then remove my egg, artificially inseminate it with her brother’s sperm, and transplant it into her uterus.

‘We want our kids to be ours, not just one of ours and some dude’s DNA. This way, in a roundabout way, our kids will be related to both of us. Good emotionally for all of us but also, god forbid, should something happen between my partner and I, both our DNA is involved and it’s not so simple as "the parent" and "the other one".’

‘I’m trans and my wife is cis, and we’re both unhappy with the genitalia situation,’ another Redditor explained. ‘She doesn’t want to have to carry a baby, and I wish to hell that I could.  We both want kids, but between difficulties with conception/fertility (we don’t know if it’s her or me), we ultimately decided that the best solution was to adopt.’