Becoming a parent can be a long process, but with a joyful ending. In quotes from interviews and from BabyCenter's own community group, here's how some LGBTQ parents describe their big moments.
Even before we got married, we knew we wanted to have children. Adoption was never off the table . but like many couples, first we tried to figure out if we could have a child biologically. Emily had always known she wanted to get pregnant and give birth. I wanted to have a child, but being gay, I just never knew what that would mean for me.
— Kate, mother of two
As I got older, I thought I might get married, might be a mom someday. My wife, on the other hand — while she's wonderful with our daughter, she never had the desire to be pregnant.
— Teri, mother of one
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My mother has just us two, and my brother is also gay, so she had given up on the idea of having grandchildren. When we told her we were trying to adopt, she was overwhelmingly happy. She started crying on the phone.
— Pierre-Luc, father of one
Choosing a sperm donor
Selecting the donor was fun, but it's also a weird process — like online shopping or dating. We probably know more about this guy than we know about each other. Kate made a binder, and then came up with a scoring system and gave each guy a certain number of points.
— Emily, mother of two
Although we used an unknown donor, we know nearly everything about him except his name. We even have three childhood photos. We now have a beautiful 2-month-old little girl and couldn't be happier. It was by far the best decision I have ever made!
We used an unknown donor. My husband (he's trans) picked one with similar coloration so our little one would have a chance to look like both of us. I used a fertility clinic, a digital ovulation tracker, and Clomid, but no other interventions. I caught the first time, and our 10-week-old daughter is sleeping in my lap right now!
We did the insemination ourselves. It took several attempts, and we tried both of us. We had a known donor, though, who was willing to supply as much as we needed. I was the one who wound up getting pregnant.
People ask us who the father is, and I think that's natural. We tend to be very open and patient about details. I'd rather have people ask me than wonder or whisper. If you talk about things openly and honestly, there's less chance of weirdness.
I really did want to know the donor, so that my son could have a relationship with him right away. I didn't want my child to have to wait all those years (until age 18) to meet him. I interviewed a couple potential known donors, but ultimately I felt more confident going through the sperm bank. I really liked that safety net with all the screening and no legal ties. I got to meet our donor when I was 20 weeks pregnant.
— Meghan, mother of one
For me, biology was not destiny. So having a child that we made was less important than having a child. We considered surrogacy, but it seemed kind of wasteful to be making a new life when there were children who needed parents.
— Kipp, father of two
Our heterosexual friends were starting to have kids. We did a lot of research, we read books on gay parenting, and we warmed up to the idea. We decided to adopt. We worked on paperwork for six months! But we are the poster-child example for adoption, because in only a month, a birth mother contacted us. Now our daughter is 3 years old.
On being an LGBTQ parent
One thing that's unique is having to come out repeatedly. Oftentimes when people see a parent with a kid, they make a general assumption that there's another parent involved. Maybe a heterosexual single parent doesn't feel so compelled to share information. Usually I'm game to tell people when they ask – there's an education and a social-justice component to being a queer intentional solo parent.
As far as being transgender, the big difference is that when I'm with my son, I'm seen as female. So perhaps the experience of having a child is inescapably very gendered. Having been pregnant and giving birth, the most difficult thing [for me identity wise] is that I'm always seen as female. I had been taking testosterone, and then I had to stop it before trying to conceive. So it can be a little upsetting being identified on the street as female.
— Morgan, parent of one
I'm the bio mom, but my wife definitely is the one who does more. We both work, but she is the one who cooks, cleans, packs lunches, puts our son to bed, etc. But that's just how the dynamics play out in our family. I'm the fun parent, while she is the one that makes sure he is clothed, fed, and clean.
Aside from the newborn/super infant stage while I breastfed, and before going back to work/school, my stay-at-home-mom wife did, and does, just as much, if not more, than I do. My wife and my daughter are BFFs and I can honestly say my kid would not be as advanced and just incredibly wonderful if my wife wasn't her caretaker.
I guess we were not very prepared for when we walked down the street. People see a stroller with two babies and assume that just one of us is the mother. They might think one of us is the nanny . they even ask us, "Who's the mother?" We both are.