Monday, 22 October 2007

Candidate # 12 - Mark (II)

The more we get to know Mark the happier we feel about having him as our sperm donor. He has a mature attitude towards life and has great faith in our parenting ability. He seems truly committed to our cause and whilst he's firm in his beliefs, he's not at all over-powering, which is just what we need.

"But surely anybody could seem pleasant after only a few weeks." I hear you think, but our first impressions are not all we have to work with. Because Mark is friends with Sarah's brother, we've been able to confirm our good feeling about him by getting opinions from mutual friends. Everyone we've spoken to seems to regard him very highly.

The example that everyone brings up when singing Mark's praises is his relationship with his sister Kim. Their mentally unstable mother walked out them shortly after Kim was born and they were raised by their father who was sadly diagnosed with cancer when Mark was nineteen. Mark suspended his university course to nurse his father and when he tragically died six months later, Mark dropped out of college to look after Kim, then 14.

Not everybody would have sacrificed their own happiness in order to prevent their sister from going into care, particularly not someone as young as Mark was when he made the commitment. He does truly sound like a fantastic person.

Let's just hope that Annie is as understanding as Mark. I can't imagine that she'd be unpleasant, otherwise what would such a grounded person see in her?

Friday, 28 September 2007

Candidate # 12 - Mark

Could we have found Mr. Right? Sarah and I have recently built a friendship with one of Sarah's brother's friends, Mark*. He's healthy, 32 and very interested in donating sperm. He has asked that, for now, we don't include too much information about him online as he still needs to discuss the situation with his girlfriend, Annie*. They haven't been together for long but obviously if Mark does donate sperm, it could have an impact on their relationship if they're still together when the baby is born so we need her blessing before we can go ahead. The fact that Annie is currently in the US for six weeks means that we have plenty of time to get to know Mark better before the process can begin. We're just trying not to get our hopes up until we know for certain how Annie will react.

*As with all the posts, names have been changed.

Monday, 17 September 2007

A website designed for people like us

Co-Parent match is a website that helps people to find suitable donors and co-parents. Naturally, we decided to take a look.

After signing up (which was pretty straight forward) we were taken to a search screen where we input whether we were single or a couple, our sexuality and type of person (or couple) that we're looking for. We were also given the option to restrict our search to a chosen location. Unfortunately we couldn't get the search to display any results.

However this was not due to an absence of users. Even though the site was only launched this August, there do seem to be around 150 profiles already. There are users who, like us, are lesbian couples searching for an active donor but also a wide variety of other set-ups, for example men wishing to donate, heterosexual couples looking for donors and single bisexual women looking for active co-parents.

With a section for us to enter a very detailed user profile, it does appear that this could be the site for us. Whilst our experiences with Scott have somewhat deterred us from meeting random internet users, members of this site are certainly more likely to be serious about parenting.

The site also specialises in selling insemination kits and home pregnancy tests, and provides vital health information for anyone considering home insemination.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Candidate # 11 - Scott the Student

Having been lured into the den of three overgrown adolescent boys, Sarah and I have gone right off the idea of finding a donor on the internet.

Scott looked alright on paper, he was a medical student in his final year, owned a flat in central London, was left wing and was completely free of hereditary disorders. He also sounded perfectly respectable on the phone, if not a little pretentious. Sarah was concerned that he might be a little arrogant like Doctor Dave but I persuaded her to let me meet him for lunch to check him out.

Ideally, I like to meet potential donors somewhere public, particularly those I've met online but Scott kept insisting that cafes near his flat were overcrowded at lunch times and told me that he was too busy with work to travel further a field. Foolishly I let myself be talked into meeting at his flat.

I was surprised when he came to the door only half-dressed, particularly as he had been expecting me and I was a good five minutes late. Still, he apologised and guided me into the living room while he went to find a shirt to put on.

"Is it true then?" a voice came from what I assume was the kitchen. I stood up and was faced with not just one, but two lazily-dressed, male students. When I say lazily-dressed, I don't mean casual, I mean unwashed and grubby.
"Is what true?"
"Are you a lesbian?" he said with a menacing wink.
"I think I'm going to just sit down and wait for Scott." I said, finding a spot on the sofa between a box set of Peep Show and an empty pizza box.

The two boys flopped onto the couch either side of me, really cramping my personal space. "So you are a lesbian then?" one of them asked again. I looked at my watch, willing Scott to appear and take me somewhere away from these irritating people.
"Not very talkative are you?" observed one of them, cleverly.

Finally Scott reappeared, fully dressed. "Sorry about those two." He said and they backed away from me a little. I smiled a little, perhaps I'd been unkind to judge them too quickly. Then Scott spoke again, with a broad grin, "So, what's it like being a lesbian?"
"Oh for heaven's sake!" I cried, rose and bolted for the door.
The last words I heard were, "You're not staying then?"

Pros: Sounded great by email.
Cons: In reality he was an overgrown fourteen year old boy.

Verdict: Unsuitable.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Candidate #10 - Greek Antonio

Sarah and I have been on holiday for three weeks but we weren't going to let a small detail such as being in Continental Europe get in the way of our donor hunt.

No sooner had we booked into a hotel in Paris had I caught Sarah gazing at the porter curiously. Under normal circumstances a lass would be jealous if she saw her girlfriend's jaw practically hit the floor when a handsome man walked into view, but not me. My own obsession with finding the perfect donor is similarly well developed.

But we didn't actually get stuck into our full-on sales pitch until we met Antonio, a dashing 42 year old Greek barman. So what if his English was exceedingly shaky, he wouldn't really have much contact with the child, what with him living abroad and everything. Of course, there would be the possibility that during a teenage rebellion, our child might decide to trace his or her donor, discover that Greece is rather delightful, and emigrate, but we put that to the back of our minds as we ploughed him with ouzo.

We rather fell in love with the idea of a Mediterranean donor because he would bring a dark complexion like Sarah's to our child, making it harder for outsiders to discern which of us was the birth mother.

"So," said Sarah, leaning in, "Have you got any kids?" I smiled to myself, recognising that look on her face.
"Five!" Antonio told us, getting out his wallet. And sure enough, there was a photo of a beautiful Greek lady and five whole kids.
"So you must really love children?" asked Sarah, hopefully.
"Yes but my wife doesn't. She want no more children so I have the snip."

And that was that idea blown from beneath us.

Pros: dishy, dark, exotic, was once highly fertile.
Cons: has had a vasectomy.

Verdict: Unsuitable.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

We DID NOT say that the mentally ill should have no children

We just received a harshly worded email from a schizophrenic man who was offended by our decision not to use a bipolar donor.

One paragraph of his message read:
"What you are effectively saying is that we [the mentally ill] should not have children. You feel that you have a right to have children even though you are lesbians yet you would dispute our right to have children."
He even went on to say, sarcastically,
"Why don't we just have routine sterilisation for schizophrenics?"
Neither Sarah nor I feel that mentally ill people should be prevented from having children and anyone who took that meaning from our decision not to use Bobby's sperm, has grossly misinterpreted what we were actually saying.

We have nothing against mentally ill people being parents, we just feel that given the choice, we'd rather that our child has no major health problems - who wouldn't want that for their children?

Neither are we saying that manic depressives and schizophrenics are any worse people than those with a clean bill of health - just that they suffer more and we don't want our child to suffer.

When you fall in love and want to start a family you first have to weigh up whether or not you're in a position to raise happy, healthy children and then if you are, you just have to go for it and make the best of what you have to work with. This is the same for everybody, gay, straight, mentally ill or healthy and it's exactly what Sarah and I are doing.

Candidate #8 - Bipolar Bobby (II)

We've decided for certain not to use bipolar donor, Bobby. Even if, as a few have suggested, there are upsides to the illness, statistics don't lie. We've read studies which show that the majority of manic depressives have attempted suicide and a worryingly high percentage have died as a consequence.

Knowingly increasing the risk that our child might suffer from such an illness would be as irresponsible as choosing a donor with a life-threatening physical, hereditary disease.

Bobby was disappointed but he understood.

Pros: attractive; smart; funny; creative; charismatic.
Cons: has bipolar disorder which can be inherited and is life-threatening.

Verdict: Unsuitable.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Candidate #9 - Doctor Dave

Last night we met the least appropriate donor yet. We went for a drink with a junior doctor who offered his help by email; we soon discovered that he was rude, disloyal, stupid and scheming.

Doctor Dave has a girlfriend who either doesn't like the idea of him donating sperm to another couple, or doesn't know. Dave kept asking if it would be possible to donate without anybody in his own life finding out. We felt that this was entirely unsuitable because it would make it harder for our child to bond with his or her biological father in the future if he or she wished to. Whilst we're happy not to publish candidates' full names here on our blog, we do want our child to have all the information. We also don't like the sound of a man who cannot be honest with his partner.

He was also unprepared to respect our views on education and child rearing, insisting that if we have a boy, he should attend a public boarding school so that he's around other males. What is the point of having children and then paying someone else to look after them for weeks at a time? The creep even offered us money so that a boy could go to Harrow like he did. What to do should we give birth to a girl however, was completely ignored.

Dave also felt that I should be doing a dull, well-paid job rather than the satisfying part-time work that I currently embark upon. I personally don't think it's any of his business so long as I'm making an honest living and that we have enough money to give our child a good start in life, which we have.

We told Dave we'd go away and think about his offer but Sarah and I both knew he was unsuitable. We later vocalised our decision over the phone and though he seemed surprised by the rejection, it didn't seem to overly bother him.

Pros: intelligent.
Cons: arrogant; rude; dishonest; wants to keep baby a secret from his girlfriend; wants to interfere with child-rearing; doesn't respect us.

Verdict: unsuitable

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Is genetic perfection obtainable? Is it preferable?

A reader suggested that Sarah and I should spend less time focussing on genetic perfection because "child birth is a lottery." He felt that we should check for critical genetic predispositions but beyond that, should primarily focus on bringing our child up well, otherwise we could "spend too long looking and not enough time enjoying!"

This brings me to a point that has been troubling me recently. Nobody has the perfect genetic makeup and by seeking that, we could be turning a blind eye to some donors with real potential. You only have to look at the difference between our views of bipolar disorder and those of the candidate Bobby and commentator Tom Wootten, to see that our narrow-mindedness may have already lead us to reject a suitable donor. Whilst Sarah and myself felt the condition would only hinder our child, the two manic depressive men felt that bipolar disorder can be a blessing.

I'm also concerned that in looking for perfect genes we are making judgment calls that we have no right to make. To discern the donor with perfect DNA, we essentially have to rank subgroups of the population - something we feel strongly against.

So far we've been aiming to give our child the best possible start in life by trying to reduce the chance that he or she will suffer from a health condition. However perhaps we're ignoring the fact that many people living with illnesses have successful and very satisfying lives. The problem for us is that to check the extent to which a health condition is manageable, we would have to do extensive research and it may be easier just to pick a healthy donor.

Your thoughts on this matter would be greatly welcomed.

Candidate #8 - Bipolar Bobby

Sarah and I thought long and hard about whether or not to use a donor with bipolar disorder. Bobby, who we met through this blog, is almost everything we would want in a donor - he's attractive, he's smart, he's funny, he's creative and he's charismatic. The only problem is that he suffers from manic depression.

A website suggests that children with a bipolar parent have a 10-15% likelihood of developing the disorder. On the plus side, neither Sarah nor I have any mental health problems so our DNA must be quite strong in that respect.

Whilst we want to give our child the best possible life, we do feel uneasy about seeking a "perfect" donor. Straight people with hereditary illnesses reproduce and have happy, functional children so why shouldn't Bobby? The same goes for our diabetic mate Andy.

Bobby, who takes medication for his illness, claims that manic depression is at worst a bearable inconvenience and at best a blessing that increases his creativity but we're not so sure that other sufferers have such an easy ride. We'd like to hear from people who live with bipolar disorder - how hard is it?

Pros: attractive; smart; funny; creative; charismatic.
Cons: has bipolar disorder.

Verdict: Undecided.

Friday, 10 August 2007

7. Handsome Henry (II)

As planned, leading candidate Handsome Henry came to dinner. Having passed the preliminary testing stage (lunch with me) it was time for round 2, meeting Sarah.

I'd briefed her on his mild nature, handsome looks, suitable age and clean bill of health. What I'd forgotten to mention were his political leanings.

"Why didn't you tell me he was a Tory?" hissed Sarah when I nipped to the kitchen for a cork screw.
"Well he can't be that right wing if he wants to donate us sperm!" I argued,
"He's a member of the Tory party!"
"I didn't know that!"
"What? You didn't check?"
"No Sarah, I was too busy checking for hereditary traits."
With the biggest scowl I've seen since I refused to remove a particularly ferocious spider from the bath, she tossed her hair and returned to the dinner table.

Although the remainder of the dinner was polite, it was clear that Sarah had already made her mind up and no amount of stories about Henry's mother's homemade jam were going to make any difference.

"Sorry" I mouthed, as we showed him to the door. He looked at me and gave a disinterested shrug. Perhaps he wasn't quite as sensitive as I first thought.

Pros: in good health; handsome; happy to help; appears not to have own agenda.
Cons: conservative; Sarah doesn't like him; doesn't look much like Sarah.

Verdict: Not suitable.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Candidate #8 - No-Go Nathan

It is hard, when planning a family with your lesbian lover, not to end up involuntarily assessing the donor potential of every sperm carrier man that you meet. For example this week, Sarah has determined that Max, her boss, has Crone's disease, Toby the admin assistant had to have years of dental work to avoid looking like a walrus and Gordon the technician really is as hairy as he's rumoured to be.

However, the man who's really got us talking this week is Nathan, lean, dark, handsome and painfully charming Nathan. He's only 21, which is far younger than ideal but his DNA does sound absolutely delicious. We found Nathan at Sarah's cousin's wedding and jumped when we discovered that he's not a blood relative.

The seating plan dictated that Sarah and myself be kept as far away from Sarah's conservative ancestors as possible, which meant being plonked next to a couple of distant cousins and two slightly bawdy friends that the groom met at university.

Small talk was banished early on and half way through the main course we were already exchanging lewd stories about the practicalities of sex in halls of residence. We bonded over anecdotes about the tunes our noisy neighbours had used to try and mask sex noises. Everything was going well until suddenly, half way through dessert Sarah asked, "So Nathan, any nasty hereditary diseases?"

The table fell silent. She'd meant it as a joke but the solemn undertone that was perhaps intended only for me met every ear on the table. There was an embarrassed silence. Finally I chipped in with, "Come on Sarah, we don't want those ears!" and we were saved. The conversation quickly turned to library sex (surprisingly satisfying, I'm told!)

Later, while a barman was preparing our drinks, I made Sarah promise to stop assessing the guests. "Sure," she agreed and turned to the barman, "Are those your real teeth or did you have braces?"

Pros: handsome; athletic; dark.
Cons: too young; inappropriate timing.

Verdict: Unsuitable.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Psychological Evidence Supporting Same Sex Parenting

It's been a bit of a blue couple of days. I've been allowing some narrow minded internet users get to me. Thank goodness for Sarah and her unwavering optimism.

Whilst I know rationally that we will make great parents, I've allowed myself to become troubled by accusations that without a father, our child will grow up to be a disturbed. We have carefully selected two 'god'fathers to play an active role in our child's life and thus provide male role models but is it enough? DavidX, who attacked us in a Usenet forum, believes not:

"It's a proven fact that a child (particularly a boy) needs the male influence of a father, particularly at the crucial stages of development up to age 5 (and of course beyond) in order to develop normally. By setting out to bring up a baby yourselves, you are preparing that child for an abnormal childhood, which is likely to lead him or her to developmental difficulties, and potentially to a disturbed adulthood. There's nothing radical about this - it's standard text-book child psychology. You don't have to believe me - you can read it almost anywhere."
- DavidX
Was he right? Could our child suffer without a father? Where were these text books that DavidX talked about? If the evidence is indeed, anywhere, then why did a quick browse of Google Scholar uncover the following:

"The body of literature generally concludes that children with lesbian and gay parents are developing psychologically, intellectually, behaviorally, and emotionally in positive directions, and that the sexual orientation of parents is not an effective or important predictor of successful child development."
- Fitzgerald (1999)

"There are no data to suggest that children who have gay or lesbian parents are different in any aspects of psychological, social, and sexual development from children in heterosexual families."
- Gold, Perrin, Futterman and Friedman (1994)

"More than two decades of research has failed to reveal important differences in the adjustment or development of children or adolescents reared by same-sex couples compared to those reared by other-sex couples."
- Patterson (2006)
With decades of evidence on our side, I suddenly felt much more positive about our child rearing potential.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Candidate #7 - Handsome Henry

Finally a candidate with potential. I've just got home from a very promising lunch with a guy called Henry - don't draw conclusions from his old-fashioned name - Henry is actually 33 and refreshingly dishy.

He had a way of putting me at ease that suggests that he has a gentle and amiable nature - family studies suggest that personality can be inherited. He also seemed calm and generous, reassuring me when Sarah called to say she couldn't get away from work and insisting on paying for lunch at what was certainly not Soho's cheapest restaurant.

Another thing that I liked about Henry was the fact that he seemed to be prepared to help because he supports what we're doing and not to fulfill an agenda of his own. Whilst we don't object to people with their own reasons for donating per se, we are concerned that men with few other fathering options may find it hard not to interfere once our child is born.

Unfortunately Henry looks nothing like Sarah - he's blonde and blue eyed whilst she has a darker complexion and deep brown eyes. Ideally we would like to have a child who resembles both Sarah and me but that is obviously not as important as other aspects such as health.

Sarah hasn't had a chance to meet Henry yet, having been busy with work, but I spoke to her on the phone earlier this afternoon and we're planning to invite Henry to dinner later in the week - could he be the one?

Pros: pleasant personality; in good health; handsome; happy to help; appears not to have own agenda.
Cons: doesn't look much like Sarah.

Verdict: Possibility.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Candidate Backlog

Sarah and I have been overwhelmed by the response from men offering to donate us sperm. We hadn't expected to find any potential donors at this stage of our search yet we currently have a backlog of fifty messages to respond to - hopefully our perfect donor will be among them.

We're also delighted by the amount of support we've received from people of all sexualities and ages, including many people who are gay parents themselves and one or two people who were raised by same-sex couples.

Thank you for all your messages and apologies to those we have not replied to - as you can see, we've been inundated.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Is it selfish for gay people to have children?

Countless people seem to be attacking us on Usenet with the assumption that we're thinking about ourselves and not our child. Interestingly enough the ones who've said this don't seem to have read our blog and discovered the degree to which we've thought this through.

If we thought there was any chance that our child would wish that he or she hadn't been born, then of course we wouldn't go through with our plans but as it happens, we know that we can raise a happy child who's loved and cared for.

Perhaps there will be a little name calling in school but kids really will latch on to anything if they want to tease somebody. You don't see parents with big ears or acne-prone skin withholding from having children do you?

It's the very people who criticise us for wanting children that could potentially make their lives a misery, not us, the open-minded, thoughtful and loving parents.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Can you choose your sexuality?

After reading an ad we put on Usenet, some people have been arguing about whether or not people can choose their sexuality, something I touched upon in this post.

Below are some highlights from the argument:

"I believe that people growing up had difficulty mingling with the so called "normal" people, and perhaps may have been rejected by the many of their classmates, hence leading them to mingle with the huge minority, that be the gay population where they would most like receive some friendship and perhaps love." - Devil's Advocate

"I don't think you understand, no-one CHOOSES to be homosexual." - Clint and Tammy

"That is a crock of shit........everyone chooses if they want to be homosexual. For chris sake, you don't think people are born to be gay do ya?" - Devil's Advocate

"Homosexuality is not social or chosen it is whom you are, as much as some behaviours are gained as social skills, your sexuality is not." - Clint and Tammy

"nobody chooses, it it pre-decided, do a bit of research on it and you will see" - Jamie

"you choose your sexuality, youre not born with it. From what I remember about being a 5 year old girls were gross, but I certainly don't feel that way now!...
...if my kids ever remark something about being gay I'll smack the shit out of them." - Crocop

"As you stated when you were five you thought girls were gross, and now you don't feel the same. Something inside you more powerful then choice and logical thought instilled in you felt drawn toward the opposite sex. Knowing this you still think homosexuals/bisexual wake up one day and say hell I know all the suffering it may cause me but sure I think I want be gay/bi. They feel the same as you do but toward the same sex. Same feeling different sex, nothing more!" - Clint and Tammy

Whilst the jury is out on what makes some people straight and others gay (genetics, hormonal changes, environmental factors) of one thing I'm certain, you can neither choose nor change your sexuality.

Likewise there is no evidence that your parents can pre-choose a sexuality for you, even (and perhaps especially not) if, as Cropoc worryingly suggests, they smack the shit out of you. If it was as simple as parents picking a path for their offspring, there wouldn't be the many gay people out there who have been rejected by families because of their sexuality.

I can only profile two groups of people who could honestly believe that sexuality is a choice:
1. heterosexuals who have never felt the need to try to change their sexuality
2. homosexuals who have decided to renounce their true feelings in favour of belonging to the majority group

I would be quite resentful towards practicing homosexuals if I had chosen to repress my true feelings. Given the intensity of some of the negative reactions in this discussion, I'd say that at least a couple of the more bigoted participants belong to the latter group.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Candidate #6 - Grinning Graham

With it being the weekend, Sarah and I had the rare opportunity to go out for lunch together. Just as we were about to leave the house we got a call from Graham, a potential donor who we've been chatting to over email. Graham is leaving the country for three weeks tomorrow, so we really wanted to find out whether or not he's a possibility before he goes abroad. This meant that we sacrificed our tasty pub lunch for a few sips of scolding coffee and half a muffin in Starbucks.

When we got there we met a man whose smile actually met from ear to ear. He made no effort to hide it. Nor was their any mistake as to the nature of the smile. It was not the expression of a long wannabe father or an excited left wing charitable type, it was the gawp of a man with a fetish for lesbians.

"Are you Graham?" Sarah asked, with the slightly hopeful chirp that only someone as optimistic as her could muster.
"That's me" he grinned. Our hearts sunk.

I was reluctant to leave Sarah with the creepy man while I went to the counter to purchase coffees for us all, but as I glanced back, they seemed to be making polite conversation. Sarah, like me, can find something to say to anybody, but unlike me, she can remain polite and calm in the face of rudeness.

When I returned they seemed to be talking about model railways - not a subject I had expected to be discussing today. As I sat down, Graham's voice trailed off. He looked at me and the perverted grin returned to his face. "So..." he begun, "Which one do I get to do it to?"

Sarah spat coffee across the table, splattering my white vest top. I looked aghast. "We did mention that we want an artificial insemination."

"What does that mean?" he asked.

"It means no doing it to!" I explained, angrily.

"Not even her?" he asked, gliding his hand towards Sarah, who cowered away. I have no idea what he meant by even her and we didn't wait around to find out. Rapidly, we grabbed our jackets and hurried out of the shop, making the polite goodbye noises that only British people would bother with.

It wasn't until we got to the tube station that I realised we'd left two perfectly good muffins almost entirely uneaten. "Nevermind," said Sarah, "We are not going back!"

Pros: keen; apparently healthy; comes across well by email.
Cons: wants a natural conception; seems creepy in person; going abroad tomorrow.

Verdict: Unsuitable

Homosexuals want to raise homosexual children?

"I believe that heterosexual couples aim to raise heterosexual kids (just like you as a lesbian couple would perhaps aim to raise homosexual kids)," - Devil's Advocate (Usenet forum)

This displays complete ignorance about the gay culture. We are no more in the business of trying to make our children gay than we are in the business of trying to "turn" the people around us into homosexuals. We are not about spreading homosexuality! We just are gay and want to live that way.

Should I give birth to a girl and find out in 16 years that she is a lesbian, I won't be shouting "That's ma girl!" I'll be concerned that she may be subject to the same prejudice and abuse that we've had to suffer. Obviously we will accept her, whatever her orientation and do our best to prepare her for adult life.

Sarah and I are not going to tell our child that gay parenting is superior to heterosexual parenting and that he or she should replicate our home situation; our offspring will be aware that there can be many different family setups, of which ours is quite rare, but no less effective than others.

The controversial discussion we sparked on Usenet

An interesting discussion has occurred on a Usenet forum in response to a post I left adverting for a donor. You can read the full discussion here but below is a summary of key points that were made and my responses to each:

"In my opinion, that's just wrong. I don't think people think about the effect that will have on the child. I think that should be illegal." - Brunswick
As pointed out by Neil Bolt, there is no evidence that children raised by lesbian couples are any worse off then children raised in more traditional families. The most important criteria, as Kwhela points out, is that a child is loved and respects, which ours will be.

"I feel if you want to be homosexual, that's part of the deal, you don't get to make kids." - Brunswick
If you want to be homosexual? I don't think you'll find that anybody chooses their sexuality - it chooses you.

"God made rules and that's one of them" - Brunswick

"There you go again, the existence of God is also a debatable subject. Where exactly is this rule that your God made? I'd like to see reference to a rule that says a homosexual couple isn't allowed to raise a child." - Neil Bolt
Being atheists, Sarah and myself are not too bothered what God has or hasn't got to say on the matter. However we have gay Christian friends who belong to a church group that fully accepts their lifestyle.

"I'm allowed to have my own opinion...
..This is a public news group, and if you post something that controversial here, you can certainly expect some difference of opinions." - Brunswick
Brunswick is quite right, we all have freedom of speech and I'm happy to hear a variety of opinions, even from people who I completely disagree with.

"Wouldn't you think that a gay female couple would perhaps encourage lesbianism?" - Devil's Advocate
Why would we do that? We're all about freedom to live as you are whatever your sexuality - we certainly wouldn't try to influence a child to be anything other than what felt natural to him or her. Besides of which, I don't think it's possible to nurture sexuality - if that was the case then how do you explain the many parents who aimed to bring up straight children and found that their offspring preferred same sex partners?

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Selling Sperm? No thanks!

Half a dozen readers have expressed an interest in selling us sperm; to those I say thanks but no thanks.

Even if we were morally comfortable with paying a donor (which we're not) we simply don't have the finances for it. We want to use what little savings we have, on giving our child the best possible start in life. By which we mean placing a deposit on a larger property, moving to an area with a better school or purchasing baby equipment, but not spending money on semen.

Generosity is an important quality in a donor. We would like to meet an altruistic person who wants to donate because he feels for our cause and supports our right to have a child, not someone who stepped in purely to make a bit of cash.

However we are grateful that you took an interest, thank you.

Candidate #5 - Sarah's Father

A reader suggested Sarah's father as a sperm donor. He's not an option that we would give more than a moment's consideration, not least because he's a cantankerous old homophobe who doesn't know that his daughter is gay. Added to which, using Sarah's father as a donor would make her the mother of her own biological half sister!

Pros: shares 50% of Sarah's DNA.
Cons: homophobic; wouldn't agree to it; we'd have to come out to him; I don't want to give birth to my girlfriend's sister.

Verdict: Extremely unsuitable.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Homophobic Preachers Not Prepared to Listen to Fair Discussion

In the last few hours I've stumbled across two examples of blogs whose writers have chosen to speak out against homosexuality yet have disabled public comments thereby hindering feedback and fair discussions of they views. If you're going to attack a group of people then you should allow them a forum in which to defend themselves.

The first culprit is professional ex-gay Stephen Bennett whose blog needs no further explanation.

The other is Mass Resistance, a blog written by people who think their kids are at risk of being turned gay by homosexual activists in schools and want to save them through obnoxious writing. One post claims that articles such as one posted in The Boston Parents' Paper, in favour of gay parenting are anti-heterosexual propaganda. They claim that people are already well educated on homosexuality then follow with one of the most ignorant descriptions of gay parenting that I've ever seen. The paragraph that particularly offends me reads:

"But who are the "parents"? One assumes the two men partake of anal intercourse. If they were habitual smokers, or drug users, what would the PP say? Would they hold them up as model "parents"? Yet it is medical fact that anal intercourse and other typical homosexual sex practices are inherently unhealthy, even if the couple is monogamous and "committed." And the boy will of course accept it as normal, and perhaps be drawn into the very unhealthy and dangerous GLBT world."
1. The percentage of gay men who partake in anal intercourse is surprisingly low.
2. Anal sex can be a perfectly safe practice if precautions are taken.
3. Why is the word "committed" in quotes?
4. The GLBT world is not inherently unhealthy and dangerous.
5. If children's sexuality reflects that of their parents' then why do so many straight couples have gay children?

I would go so far as to say that the writers of Mass Resistance are vulgar, ill-informed, oppressive bullies who want to take away our human rights, and if they want to object, I'm more than happy to take comments on the matter.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Elucidating Clues to Character

In her article "Never too old" Ruth Mavin Webster writes, on picking sperm from a catalogue:
"Random, unprotected sex with a complete stranger (to loosely quote Austin Powers) would be less of a crapshoot than this. At least sex in the parking lot at closing time is personal. You can see how he holds his beer, can see if he twitches or swears; you may determine what car he drives. These are much more elucidating clues to character than a nameless, faceless stranger on a form. In fact, no photo or video of the donor is provided -- to protect his anonymity."
Whilst we're not planning on random sex, the way a man holds his beer and whether or not he twitches and swears are just the sort of elucidating clues we want to see when evaluating whether or not a man would make a suitable biological father for our child.

Candidate #4 - Geriatric George

When a professor from Cambridge responded to our advert on Gumtree, Sarah and I jumped with delight. He gave us an indication of his build, skin tone and superb medical record. What he neglected to tell us was that he was well into his seventies! You can imagine our faces as we sat in a bar nervously waiting for a man who could potentially father our child, when in walked a man old enough to be my grandfather.

Granted, a clean bill of health at 79 is even more spectacular than still being able to get it up at that age, but Sarah and I had envisaged ourselves finding a donor who was at least below 50. Granted, sperm is sperm but by the time our offspring is old enough to consider tracking down his/her biological father, George may well no longer be the lively Willy Wonka figure that he is now.

George's story was rather sad. He fell in love with a girl when he was in his twenties and she died whilst carrying his baby. He then married a right old witch who divorced him after eight years. After that he was bitten by the travel bug and never found a part of the world where he was happy to settle down.

Although George is very keen to pass his DNA onto future generations and even offered to provide for our child in his will, I just didn't feel comfortable with such an elderly donor (let alone accepting money from him.) I knew instantly that Sarah wasn't keen either and George must have caught the brief nervous glance we exchanged because he seemed to know we wouldn't select him even before we even had a chance to really get chatting

Pros: great long-term health; probably won't interfere with child rearing (because he'll be dead)
Cons: old enough to be my grandfather; might die before our child has a chance to meet him.

Verdict: Unsuitable

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Whose baby is it anyway?

It's our baby! We will be parents equally, regardless of which one of us gives birth. However, due to me being slightly older (31 to Sarah's 27) and Sarah's career just starting to kick off, we've decided that I'll give birth to our first born. Hopefully, in a few years time, Sarah will give birth to a new brother or sister for him/her.

Candidate # 3 - Our Mate 'Big Brian'

We've only known Big Brian for ten months but we've become really good friends in that short period of time. Brian is a 45 year old man and who's really keen to have biological children but probably won't due to being gay. He's a decent bloke with quite a lot of money which he's willing to give us in child support. However, we do not want financial support from a donor. We want our child to be our child and that includes providing for him or her ourselves.

Although Brian says he understands that Sarah and I would be the baby's parents, we just get the feeling that Brian's determination to have a child of his own is so powerful that he would end up wanting more involvement than we're happy to allow. We feel bad for Brian because we of all people understand how it feels to desperately want children but at the end of the day, we have to think about what's best for us and what's best for our child and we want to avoid foreseeable parental conflicts.

Pros: willing and able; really wants kids.
Cons: was a 10 stone baby; could be a backseat parent.

Verdict: Unsuitable

Candidate # 2 - Our mate Andy

At first Andy seemed like the perfect donor. He's handsome, he's got a PhD in mathematics and, while we'll always be friends, he's moving to Spain is a few months so he won't be hanging around trying to tell us how to raise our baby.

Ever since we've known Andy we've all joked together about one of us having his baby. He's unlikely to raise his own children because he just can't see himself settling down but he'd happily be a donor for a couple he knew would love and cherish their baby.

So why aren't we doing our thing with the turkey baster? Well, for one thing, Andy is almost entirely bald (at 23), but more importantly, he has Type I diabetes. Whilst, as far as we can work out, this only leaves Andy's offspring with a 4-8% chance of developing it, that's significantly more than the base rate of 1-2%. Were I in a relationship with Andy, it'd be a risk I'd be willing to take but given that we have the option of hunting for another donor, that's what we're going to do. Andy completely understood.

Pros: bloody gorgeous; trustworthy; prepared to allow us control.
Cons: type I diabetes; male pattern baldness

Verdict: Not suitable.

Candidate # 1 - Sarah's brother Jamie

Aside from the film "El Favor", I've never heard of a lesbian being inseminated by her partner's brother and have to admit, I find the idea a tad disturbing. Nevertheless, a frightening majority of the people we've spoken to about this suggested Sarah's brother Jamie as a donor so we didn't want to be too quick to dismiss the idea.

Having known I prefer women for many years I've more or less resigned to the notion that I will never have biological children with the person I'm in love with, yet when I considered a donor who shares Sarah's DNA, I felt surprisingly excited. Being related to Sarah, Jamie is funny, smart and incredibly good-looking. If we chose him as a donor then the baby may well have looked a little like both of us.

However, whilst Jamie fulfils the criteria that our child would be able to get to know his/her genetic father if he or she so wished, having the donor so close to us could cause the parental roles to blur. We want to establish that our child has exactly two nurturing parents, Sarah and myself. The donor may play a minor role later in life if the child wishes it once he or she is old enough to understand the facts of life. Having an uncle as a parent could well confuse our offspring.

The other obstacle here is Jamie's wife - a conservative, Christian fundamentalist. Whilst Jamie is reasonably open-minded, his partner is not. She has many reservations about Sarah and myself raising a family and would certainly not consent to Jamie helping us out as a donor. Jamie and Anna already have one child (a three year old girl) who they are raising according to Anna's religious principles. I'm not sure that I want our child to have a sister who's brought up to believe in things that we stand against, for example that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality and that abortion is wrong under any circumstances. We believe in freedom of choice and expression.

We have not discussed this with Jamie because we felt it would create an awkward atmosphere. Perhaps if we felt more positive about the idea we would have done.

Pros: shares 50% of Sarah's DNA; can be trusted.
Cons: uptight wife; too close to us for us to define distinct parental roles.

Verdict: Not suitable.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Could you be the perfect sperm donor for us?

We, Sarah and I, are a young lesbian couple who've been together for seven years and we're hoping to start a family soon. We feel that sperm banks are too impersonal for us and would rather find a donor that we can get to know and vet for ourselves. We're not looking for someone to fill the role of a father, in fact we'd prefer a silent donor, but we do want someone who our child can contact later in life should he or she feel the need to investigate his or her genetic origins.

Although we do have some preconceived ideas about what we're looking for in a donor, we're not expecting to know exactly what we're after until we find it. We'd like to hear from any man who feels he has a strong, healthy genetic make-up and the strength of character to fill the role we need.