The Challenges Faced By Gay and Lesbian Parents
Deciding Who Will Be the Biological Parent
If you have a partner and you want to use assisted reproduction, only one of you can be the child’s biological parent. If you are lesbians, it is possible to use one parent’s eggs and the other parent’s uterus so this is an option you can consider that allows both of you to participate in the pregnancy. If you choose this option you will need to use a fertility clinic and there will be more expenses than if you use only donor insemination.
If you are gay men you do not necessarily have to decide who will be the father. A mix of both your sperm can be used to inseminate the eggs and you could choose to never find out which one of you is the biological father. Note that if you choose adoption and one of you has HIV it will be simplest for the other partner to adopt first with the HIV infected partner becoming a parent by a late second parent adoption process because health is an issue in adoptions.
Once you have decided what avenue you want to take to have a child you need to consider how you will afford the costs.
Organizing Your Finances
Choosing to have a child will bring with it new costs and financial responsibilities. Adoption and assisted reproduction bring added costs to the family building process. You may have savings you can use or you may be able adjust your spending so that you have funds available.
If you are using assisted reproduction find out what payment options our clinic has available many have payment plans available that can make the process easier. If you are considering adoption you will need to think about the varying costs of different types of adoptions.
International Adoptions Are Expensive
International adoptions are the most expensive and domestic public agency adoptions are the least expensive. Your employer may offer adoption expense reimbursement and you will also qualify for a tax credit with the federal government if you adopt.
You can also apply for special adoption assistance loans. If you are creating a family with a partner this is also the time to consider your health insurance options. If you each have your own health insurance policies you need to compare them to determine which offers the most favorable family policy. Once you have a child you will want to place the child on the policy that offers the best deal. If you are permitted you will probably want to include your partner on that policy as well.
All About Donors and Donated Sperm
Donors donated sperm allows lesbian singles or couples to have a family with very little involvement by other people such as agencies, social workers, or fertility clinics. When you decide to start a family this way you do not need to deal with waiting periods. Insemination can happen in a doctor’s office or at home.
The sperm is directly placed in the uterus in a doctor’s office to increase their chances of becoming pregnant. Should your state adopt same sex marriage and you get married then consider insemination you will need to find out if your state requires that a married partner consent to the insemination. Many states now require a husband in a heterosexual couple to consent to the insemination because the child is legally his.
Advantages of Known Donor
The sperm may be to a known donor so that you know exactly where they came from and you know what the persons traits and his personality. You can have ongoing contact with him after the pregnancy so that the child can someday meet him in the future. He can also become a male role model and be involved in the child’s life which is important to some women. Another advantage of post pregnancy contact is that you will have access to any medical information that comes to light after the insemination-for example if the donor is diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease.
Disadvantages of Known Donor
The disadvantages of a known donor are the emotional complications that can ensue. If the donor is a family member close friend you could come to resent his presence in the child’s life or the donor could come to feel resentful about his small role in the child’s life. You might have different expectations about his role and connection to the child which only becomes evident as the child grows no matter how closely you have tried to sort it out before the pregnancy. If you were friends you risk the possibility of your friendship changing because of the insemination.
It is very important that even though you know the donor his sperm be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Testing for HIV takes up to six months. Some women are willing to take the risk with a close family member or friend.
Options for Gay Parents
Biological Parent and carry own child
Biological Parent providing own sperm
Trying to Conceive
If you cannot conceive and you are under the age of thirty four and have not been able to conceive after a year of trying you or your donor may have a fertility problem that will resolve only with help from infertility specialists. If you are of this age or older and have not been able to conceive a inseminating for six months, you should consult a list.
You will have to decide whether you want to pursue the lengthy invasive and expensive infertility procedures. Generally speaking if you have the financial resources to explore all options it will take approximately one and a half years to complete the full range of medical procedures. If you are thirty four or older and have decided to adopt or foster parent if you cannot conceive begin exploring adoption and foster options as you start the infertility work.
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Parenting for Lesbians
Unique Lesbian Families
Not only are lesbian mothers conceiving children, changing diapers, and checking out elementary schools we are also attending graduations visiting colleges and planning weddings. The children of the early lesbian baby boom are now preparing for and taking their place in the world and having their own children and grandchildren.
Many women still need to hide their lesbianism for fear of losing custody of their children their jobs or even their safety. Fortunately more and more lesbian mothers can be out without fear. Regardless lesbians continue to have the dual tasks of parenting and protecting our children and ourselves from prejudice in the world.
Lesbians typically have to educate other parents and legal institutions about our families and our legal and moral rights. This requires taking the risk of showing themselves and letting others see them for who they are not. As children become adults there are new levels of coming out and being out for instance to children’s prospective in laws and partners.
In our coming of age, lesbian families illustrate even more clearly their rightful place in the world and their contribution to the evolution of human consciousness. Gays and Lesbians have demonstrated that parenting do go together and that they can enrich each other.
Having Children Will Alter Your Life Forever
Whether you choose to be a foster parent or adopt a child or simply to become an aunt to a friend’s child you are linking your life to a youngster opening your world to hers or his.
You will never be the same. Perhaps you have already worked through the pros and cons of having a child in your life and have a list some of questions gays need to address when considering becoming a parent.
Do You Want a Child or Do You Simply Like the Idea?
Spend time with children and with parents as you consider this question. If it is the fantasy of having children and not the realities of child rearing you will find out quickly as you spend time with children and their parents.
Volunteering can give you opportunities to be around the very young or older children may be particularly helpful if you are planning to foster parent. You may find an age that is a great match for what you have to offer a child. Hospitals often want adults to come in and hold infants who have no family or to spend time with children whose parents cannot visit during the day.
Most towns and cities need people to coach manage and administrate youth sports teams and organizations. Schools want tutors and volunteers to help children who need more attention than their staff can manage and some universities and colleges have offices that match volunteers with a variety of youth programs.
The Story of Gay Foster Parents
You do not have to be a parent to have relationships with a child. You can use the opportunities above as your testing ground to discover whether you want to have your own children or as a way to be with children.Your work can be an ongoing gift to your community whether or not you have children. No matter how you use this time with children it can be one of the highlights of your adult life.
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