I never imagined it would happen like this…but I’ve always know it would happen. The strange and completely alien(in the good kind of way) journey into parenthood.
I’ve known I wanted to be a mother since before I knew anything else concrete about myself. Figuring out I was a dyke took nearly 25 years. Allowing myself to draw and paint, a further four. That I need to settle down, for my own sake…. let’s just say that that one’s a recent revelation. But from the time I began looking after my cousins and much younger siblings at eight, I knew that I wanted children. Being a teacher in South Korea and working with kids and teenagers in the Peace Corps just deepened the desire.
I could have started over a decade ago. I had the serious and mature boyfriend. We would have had stability, a house, two cars and two (maybe three) kids. But it was all wrong, and my gut insisted on it. Instead of marrying him, I left for Korea… I’ve been in transition ever since, transitioning from culture to culture, from a comfortable life style with all my needs met to no food or job or heat, from relationship to relationship, from despair followed by self-revelation to change. In all this time, admist the shifting lands and constant re-orienting, that goal, of one day having children, of one day having a family, has never dissipated.
It’s a very loaded word for me. from the ages of 5-17, I moved at least 8 times. One year I went to three different schools. I was volleyed back and forth between my parents, and I sometimes went years without seeing one or the other of them. Through it all there was emotional, verbal (with a couple of instances of physical) abuse as well an abundance of neglect. Every time I began to feel safe, everytime I became attached to people (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, stepfather, stepfather’s family but mostly both of my parents) they would disappear or I would be shipped off to a new living situation. my family structure was always in flux and home was an unfixed location.
so at 12, when the therapist my mother had forced my former stepfather and me to see with her asked me, “what does ‘family’ mean?” it’s little wonder (to my adult self, of course) that instead of speaking, i unsuccessfully tried to choke back the sobs and stop the thick tears that were already spilling onto my cheeks.
so since I’ve left my “family”, I’ve wandered a bit. And I’ve repeated the patterns of my childhood over and over. but bit by bit, I’ve also created my own little family. a strange but beautiful collage of people whose generous hearts, open minds and general kickassedness have showed me what loyalty, compassion and acceptance mean. The bonds I’ve forged with my chosenfamily are much stronger than those rickety DNA strands in my blood.
most importantly of all
i've found a partner. And last year, for the first time in my life, i got married. And the earth under my feet no longer quakes constantly and I no longer wish I were somewhere else with someone else doing something else. In short, I’ve settled down. And, damn, if it doesn’t feel good to finally get that huge backpack off my shoulders.
Like me, my wife has always wanted children, and like me she is ready to go in this new direction. There is stability and communication coupled with laughter and comfort and mental stimulation. She’s loving, patient and, like me, still evolving every day. She’s truly merveilleuse (ma femme française) and having children with her feels absolutely right.
Sooo… to get back to the topic indicated in my title, my froggywife and i are on the search for a sperm donor. To give you a little background, lesbian couples and single woman are not allowed, by law, to receive AI in clinics. Even buying sperm from a bank is prohibited. This puts French lesbians who want children in a difficult position. Their main options are as follows:
a) go to Belgium or Spain where there are no restrictions based on marital status or sexuality
b) have a friend or acquaintance donate and do it at home
c) find someone you don’t know already who is willing to donate…and do it at home.
Originally we wanted to go with A. but (after being inundated by waves of French lesbians with clanging biological clocks) Belgium has placed strict limits on women coming in from France for artificial insemination (600 per year with up to a two year wait…or so says the grapevine). Spain would cost $1500 or more per insemination and we’d have to buy last minute airtickets and take sudden days off work) so we’ve slowly realized that option A isn’t financially feasible.
As for B, I have several friends who have offered, and if they lived in Paris, I might consider taking them up on some of their lovingly donated genetic goo. Alas (or hélas, as they say here), this one just isn’t feasible either.
We thought about trying to find a university student who would do it for some extra cash (I mean, how many 21 year old boys wouldn’t jerk off for $60?). I think we’re both afraid, though, that the young man might someday change his mind about having no paternal rights for his biological child. And that would be our worst nightmare….
So we kept thinking about it and discussing it and looking for ways to make it work. while we were throughly googling everything related to lesbians and paris and “sperm donors”, we came across sites that help connect sperm donors with couples and single women who want children. After more discussions (and more of my wife thinking things over for a few days), we decided to put up our own ad. It was the usual, lesbian couple seeks sperm from stranger, personal.
And guess what? We got replies! But it’s late here, so I’ll have to ramble on about our donor search experience in a later post.
In the meantime, thanks for reading if you got this far. I plan to post regularly about our experiences during this period of trying to find a donor, trying to conceive….and hopefully, into pregnancy and parenthood. If you feel like coming along for the ride, please do…I have a feeling that it’s going to get interesting.