Robin Hopkins and Jaimie Kelton are co-hosts of the podcast If These Ovaries Could Talk and authors of the book If These Ovaries Could Talk: The Things We’ve Learned About Making an LGBTQ Family. They’re both moms, they’re both lesbians, who are married to other ladies, and they each have two kids. Here they are with “5 Tips For Making An LGBTQ Family.”
Jaimie Kelton and Robin Hopkins are just… the best.
1. It’s hard and expensive. But then again, sometimes it’s easy and cheap.
As LGBTQ intended parents, we have to plan, plan some more, and pay a lot to make a family. When you need sperm or eggs or surrogates or adoption agencies to make a baby, you’ll quickly realize those needs come with hefty fees. As queer folk, it can feel like we’re constantly charging our credit cards instead of cozying up to our loved ones in order to make a baby. But we persevere, we make spreadsheets, we see doctors and lawyers, and make some really beautiful, loving, and intentional families along the way.
But the good news is it’s not always hard. We’ve heard stories of lesbian couples who used free sperm from a friend along with the low-cost, at-home insemination method and it worked the very first time. We’ve talked to gay men who adopted a baby in less than 3 months. We’ve even heard a story from a couple who were left a whole lot of cash by a neighbor they never knew was wealthy. That money allowed them to create their family through surrogacy – something they never thought possible.
What we’re saying is prepare for the work, but remember that sometimes the Universe lends a helping hand.
2. Follow your gut because your instincts are never wrong.
Whether it’s knowing when to change doctors or change your insurance or even wholly change directions with your fertility plan, it’s crucial that you listen to your gut instinct. Fertility doctors can be slaves to success rates – those pesky numbers are reported, after all. They may want you to quickly go from unmedicated IUI to IVF. But that comes with added expenses and more medical intervention, which may or may not be right for you. Only you know what’s best for you and your family.
We know that once you make the decision to have a baby, you want that baby right away. But, it’s ok to take a moment to make these decisions. Go to your calm place, whether that’s meditation or margaritas, and figure out what’s right for you. After all, once that baby arrives, you’ll be knee-deep in diapers (but not showers), and all these choices will seem like a distant memory.
Turkey baster FTW!
3. Get your posse together. Don’t go it alone.
The process of making an LGBTQ baby can be especially hard. In the beginning, there are lots of choices to make. You’ll need to find doctors or adoption agencies or surrogacy agencies (hello, GoStork!) But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. There are many of us out here who have done the research, made the spreadsheets, found the pitfalls. Inherently, we gays and queers and trans folk like to share the wisdom that we’ve learned from our journey. To pay it forward. So, find those people in your community. They’ll be happy to walk you through what they learned along the way.
That’s in part why we wrote our book, so we could share what we learned in our personal journies as well as from interviewing hundreds of LGBTQ families. And that’s why we love GoStork too. They’re doing important work, gathering up all the info you need to make these tough fertility decisions. And at the very same time, they are forcing transparency in an industry that hasn’t been transparent to date.
So, ask friends about their path. Buy our book or listen to our podcast and hear about loads of LGBTQ families and their journies. And click ‘til your heart’s content on GoStork. We’re all here for you.
4. Don’t overthink it
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times. Making an LGBTQ family involves a lot of choices and options. It can be wonderful because it frees us up to create families in all kinds of nontraditional ways, but it can feel like a mountain you need to hike while carrying a backpack filled with rocks. And it’s especially hard if you’re a person who struggles with making decisions.
So here’s what we say, “Chill out, dude.” Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Take it one step at a time. Set small goals each week and move them forward. “This week I will call two doctors.” Or, “This week I will read three egg donor profiles.” Before you know it, you’ll have that doctor picked out, eggs on ice, and in no time at all, a baby on the way.
Jaimie and Robin’s incredibly helpful and inspiring book, “If These Ovaries Could Talk: The Things We’ve Learned About Making an LGBTQ Family”
5. Our families are just like every other traditional family out there.
Sure our families are different. We aren’t your traditional mom and dad with a white picket fence. But we work very hard to create our families. We are intentional at every turn. And despite the fact that we almost never get to make our families the “old-fashioned way,” we build them from love.
It’s all the same. It’s all family. You’ll never regret it. Well, you might once or twice, but for those moments, there’s wine. Now go make yours.