In Vitro Fertilization: Lesbians Buy a Family
“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” — George Santayana
So it all started last week with a payment of $7,300. They make you pay upfront. No refund for any reason. What am I talking about? Jeanine and I are taking the plunge and doing In Vitro Fertilization. The other methods haven’t work so we made the decision after consulting with our fertility specialist this last month. The total cost is $10,800 and this includes the monster box of syringes and medications that arrived by FedEx last week.
It’s a lot of money and there aren’t any guarantees. We’re relying on the 35-40 percent success rate published by our specialist. A young straight couple is raising money for their procedure by asking for donations on their website. They’re asking people to give $1 with the hope that 20,000 people will do so and then they’ll have the funds needed to have their first baby. It’s called Baby or Bust if anyone wants to help. It’s an incredibly expensive process and it seems people will go great financial lengths to become pregnant.
Gays and lesbians aren’t any different. We meet more and more gay men that are having children through surrogacy. If you think that in vitro fertilization is expensive, well, surrogacy is astronomical in comparison. Growing Generations is a surrogacy and egg donation firm serving our community and on its site, they advise, “Costs for surrogacy generally range between $115,000.00 and $150,000.00 which includes estimated costs for all aspects including medical, legal, psychological, surrogate fees, egg donor fees, medications, insurance, etc.”
That’s a lot of money. But our journey hasn’t been just about the money — although, believe me, money has been a big consideration. Jeanine and I have learned a lot these past ten months. There also an enormous amount of emotional stress that accompanies the process. Deborah Simmons and Alice Ottavi wrote an article for Rainbow Families that discuss the stressors of trying to get pregnant. They write, “Couple dynamics become caught up in the infertility experience because it literally takes over partners’ lives. Everything is on hold. Coping styles may differ, leading to breakdowns in communication and decision making. One person may scour medical sources and the Internet for new data on treatment, while her partner stays aloof from the process.”
In addition, “Assumptions of heterosexuality permeate medical and insurance systems. Marriage and heterosexuality are also assumed in most infertility Web sites, books, and other resources. It’s best to come out to medical personnel in order to receive appropriate treatment. For those who are less comfortable being out, leaving the closet while dealing with infertility can add to the anxiety level.”
“Financial stresses can also add intensity to the burden of grief and loss, which are central to the infertility experience. For all of its pain, infertility can also be a source of valuable life knowledge and can bring couples closer together. Communicating honestly, seeking the support of others in similar circumstances, and accessing resources are important ways for couples to deal with the challenges of infertility.”
We hope the outcome of all this effort will be a lovely little baby. As PlanetOut Families explains, “It will change your life forever.” They continue with, “This is the most common expression that one hears when querying friends and strangers on what becoming a parent is like. Prospective parents often find this annoying and somewhat pompous. As one woman said, ‘Well, of course it will change my life forever; that’s the point isn’t it? I’ve lived a full life and it’s changed many times — this will just be one more change.’ However, when she became a parent she said, laughing, I simply had no idea how having a child would change me.”
“The reality is that there are few things that are as totally life-altering as becoming a parent. It is, first of all, literally forever. Second, although everyone expects to love their children, the overwhelming intensity of the parent/child bond often surprises most people. Parenting can be completely consuming in a way few other life experiences can be, especially when parenting infants and small children.”
We can’t wait to be completely consumed. We’ll keep you posted!