Who Needs a Man to Make a Baby?
I never thought I was allowed to have kids. I’m a lesbian, and I came out during a time when gay people didn’t have kids. We had cats, maybe a dog, and if we were lucky, a summer home on Fire Island. But marriage and kids were worlds we were shut out of, reserved for straight people with grown-up jobs and mortgages and extended families.
Then everything changed. Federal marriage equality made tying the knot possible, and I suddenly found myself vying for a future that entailed more than beachy summers with rotating girlfriends and overpriced cocktails.
I met a woman who rocked my world. Just days before the Supreme Court ruling recognized same-sex marriage, I put a ring on it in front of our nearest and dearest.
The prospect of having a perfectly normal life and getting to do the things that everyone else does, including have kids, suddenly seemed possible with the social shift. Baby strollers were clogging the sidewalks in the lesbian-centric neighborhood of Park Slope in Brooklyn. Online queer mom groups were cropping up like Starbucks in a gentrifying neighborhood; my Facebook feed was filled with images of my lesbian friends trading in Coors Light bottles for ones filled with formula; happy hour invites were replaced with baby shower ones.
My wife was older and always wanted kids, but thought her window had closed because of her age. I was a bit younger but still no spring chicken and was nearing the dreaded threshold for what health insurance deemed old uteri. But nature takes no prisoners. My biological clock suddenly kicked into high gear, its ticktock deafening until I had a singular focus: Make a baby.
So we decided to go for it, to try to have a baby. There was only one problem. We were missing one big part — something only a man could provide.
As a feminist lesbian, every fiber in my being was opposed to relying on a man to expand our family. I’m by no means a man-hater; I just tend to prefer females. I don’t have a man in my bed, my home or my life (other than family and co-workers and acquaintances), and I certainly didn’t want one in the picture when embarking on the most intense and emotional experience of my life. Clearly, that posed a challenge (since, if you’re not aware, you need something that only a male produces to make a baby).
That’s when I realized it was 2017 and one actually could procreate without a male in sight. I made the conscious decision to employ an army of just women to make our baby. I found a female doctor at a fertility clinic, a female acupuncturist, a female doula and a female obstetrician. Who better to know how a woman’s body works than another woman? I actively refused men between my legs in my social life; why invite them in for this most important venture?
The wonderful team of women who helped me become pregnant, stay pregnant and deliver our baby served as an empowering alternative to the male-dominated medical profession. They were stoic in their care, caring in their stoicism, and were much gentler with my most sensitive parts.
As for the tricky male part of the equation, we decided to use an anonymous donor, so we essentially Amazon-style online-ordered sperm. It was like picking out a shirt for a work party — I looked for the qualities that would make the sperm a good fit in writing on a website and considered the whole purchase more a commodity than a person. Not unlike shopping for a new article of clothing, I thought about where the sperm came from and how it was made and of course the cuteness factor. A few clicks later, our product was in the mail and on its way.
I felt both traditional and trailblazing in this new world order, where two women could make a baby without a man. As I was stepping into the oldest role in the book as a pregnant woman and impending mother, I was simultaneously helping to pave the way for a new paradigm, one where male fathers and male doctors didn’t play a significant role in the creation of a family story.
While I was able to control having all those wonderful, badass professional females to help us conceive, as irony and fate would have it, I was surprised (and blessed) weeks ago with a little boy.
You'd better bet the little guy will be a feminist.