Diana and Andrea are raising twins conceived from donor insemination in NYC. Here’s their story.
Names: Diana and Andrea
Children’s Names: Phoenix & Dashel (Twins)
When did you decide you wanted children?
I think I always knew (in my adult life) that I wanted to have children. The first time I actually thought it was possible is when I met my wife Andrea. After several years together and her convincing me that it was never going to be the “perfect time” we decided to start trying.
How did you decide to either biologically have a child or adopt a child?
We decided to go biological because we assumed I was fertile. We didn’t know a thing about how to start, difference between IUI and IVF or how the hell we were going to pick out a donor. We just figured it out as we went along.
Did you share your journey with your family and friends? If so, have they been supportive?
Both of our parents are supportive. My parents were a little confused I guess. I’m first generation and my parents had my sister and I late in life. My dad just turned 76 and grew up in former Yugoslavia (now Croatia). I kept bringing up the subject with them saying things like “are you ready for grand kids?”, “are you ready to change diapers again?”. It definitely became real when we got pregnant – no going back and that’s when I saw a real excitement for the first time.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced raising twins as a gay couple?
We’ve been blessed so far in that we haven’t experienced what I would classify as challenges. There are several inconveniences – like having to go through the process of second parent adoption despite my wife being on their birth certificate. When we traveled internationally this past Xmas we got several looks, no rude comments and one very confused immigration agent. He asked who were the babies mother and I said “we both are”. He was polite and understood, but continued to ask me to specify. I hope for my children’s sake that these are the only types of challenges we face as we raise them. I can’t stand on my soap box and preach that we need to be viewed as a family – our society isn’t there yet…it’s getting there though. Instead I try and look at the positive, and am always prepared to defend my family.
What do you wish you would have known before you started?
That there are alternative methods. That it doesn’t have to necessarily be such a medical process.
How has your life changed during this process? Before having kids and after having kids?
Tangible changes: we have less money, drink less, sleep less… Having kids doesn’t change who you are. I’m still the same person, same sense of humor, same likes and dislikes. I feel that I have a purpose somehow now, that’s a big difference. I didn’t understand that love like this existed; I can’t wait to get home to see them, regardless of how long my day is, or if everything falls apart one giggle melts me.
How much did you budget for the process?
Unfortunately we didn’t budget. We had savings that were geared towards purchasing a home. We literally had no idea the journey we were embarking on.
Was your state/location a challenge to the process? How did it impact your decisions, if at all?
Our location was ideal – we live in NYC. I felt we had many resources at our disposable and more than anything we felt like we were surrounded by other families like ours.
How/Did/Will you prepare your children to answer questions about their donor/biological parent(s)?
This is a tough question. I don’t know this yet. We’ve been trying to connect with other LGBT families with the hopes that we can help each other answer these difficult questions. Fundamentally Andrea and I believe that our duty as parents is to try and raise our kids with as much confidence as possible – in everything they do. Confidence will establish a good foundation and help our kids in any situation. Specific questions about how they came to be and about our family will have to be handled as they come up. I don’t think there is any right answer, I just hope that we build a good foundation so that when asked they feel comfortable and confident regardless of the reaction they get.
Would you be willing to share the name of the agency/sperm bank/other resources you used and why? If so, please list them below (and if you have any notes – was your experience good, poor? why or why not?)
Columbia University Fertility Center
California Cryo Bank
We had a fair experience at both, my only advice to couples starting this process is to be ready for a very clinical experience (specific to the fertility center).
Any other advice, comments, or misc. wisdom about the gay parenting process?
This is your right and your purpose – just as much as anyone else.