Where do we start? — The Bump
LGBT Parenting

Where do we start?

My wife and I are wanting to start a family. We don't know where to start our planning! Feel free to answer one or all of my questions.

Should we go to the gyno first? How do you find a doctor who will be perfect for a lesbian couple starting a family and sensitive to our needs? What do we need to do on that visit.

I have browsed the boards and see all of these terms that seem like a foreign language, where can we decode these acronyms?

I see so many devastating posts about losses, is it common when using a sperm donor? I never saw anything online about it, but it seems to happen frequently on the boards. And I must add, I am so sorry to each of you! Lots of hugs to you brave women.

Any advice on how to start planning? What should we figure out first!

Thanks! We cannot wait to go through this journey with all of you! :

Re: Where do we start?

  • I did find a glossary, but there seems to still be terms I cannot find, like GE.
  • I did not go into a gyno office first. I did a lot of research and called/emailed offices with questions regarding alternative families. I googled questions to ask and found so many, then I narrowed down to what I needed to know. My dr specializes in fertility and one of my friends had used him before. Glad you found the board definitions. I have to look towards them ALL of the time! I am not sure that loss is common when using a sperm donor. I know there have been some losses, but we have quite a few success stories! Good luck on your journey. My wife and I had to do a lot of talking and then a lot of research to prepare ourselves. Surprisingly it is the waiting that really kills you. Make sure you have a supportive group of friends or family to help keep you busy!

    Daisypath Anniversary tickers

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

    Married to M and proud mothers to Olivia and Elise (8/19/2014) and to our fur-babies: Capone (pitbull), Jax and Atticus (cats)


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  • Thanks for responding! : I feel lost. I am not even sure what I should be looking up or researching haha. Do you have any good questions we should ask doctors?
  • Hi penguin, welcome! I'd like to try to answer some of your questions because I had many questions myself when my wife and I started looking at options for TTC (trying to conceive). There is so much to learn and it can be overwhelming, but there are some basic places you can start. At the top of the page here, there is a newbie link with FAQs that can give you some basic info.

    I'm going to try to answer your questions as there were so many knowledgeable lgbt bumpies here to answer my questions when I first came, and I'd like to carry it forward. Also, I was planning on being out on a date with my wife tonight for her bday, but I'm feeling sick. So I can sit in bed and write to you. :-) 

    Your success with TTC will depend on so many factors - your general health, your age, your reproductive health, whether you have options of one or both of you conceiving and/or carrying, and what method you want to use for TTC. There are many factors but I reminded myself in the beginning that as two women we have more options available to us, and I tried to be comforted by that.

    To start, I would definitely recommend seeing your gynecologist for a regular check up/pap and let your him or her know that your are interested in TTC. They can give you some general information on assessing your reproductive health and monitoring your cycle.

    Then it all depends on HOW you wish to conceive. My wife and I knew we wanted to use frozen donor sperm from a bank (and selecting that is a whole other process). Because we knew we wanted to take this route, we decided to see a fertility specialist (a reproductive endocrinologist, or RE) and do inseminations in a doctor's office to minimize the rate of error. Some on this board have done at home inseminations with both fresh and frozen sperm with success, but we knew we would need professional help!

    For us it was also important to use a clinic that was LGBT friendly, and we ended up choosing one that was a two hour drive from our home but where we felt most comfortable and confident in their success rates with couples like us.  

    We started out wanting to use natural (unmedicated) cycles, because I would be the one carrying and didn't have any detectable fertility problems. In my first RE appointment they did blood work to check my hormone levels, asked me about my cycle, and did an ultrasound to look at my ovaries and my uterus. Some people get what is called and HSG right away to see if there is any blockage of the fallopian tubes (I did this later after some trouble TTC). In this process, I learned a lot about my body and my cycle by reading the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and using at home ovulation tests (Clear blue digital brand is what I used). I had specific instructions from the RE on how and when to test and when to come in for an IUI (intrauterine insemination). 

    I also wanted to address your question about loss. There is no research to support that using frozen sperm results in miscarriages. However, there is extensive research that indicates that up to 25% of all first pregnancies result in miscarriage. A small percent of women experience multiple losses, and you will see evidence of this when you "lurk" on other bump boards as well. It is just a reality that some percentage of pregnancies end in a loss. It is a secret of society that I didn't really know about until I belonged to that part of society. When I "came out" about my miscarriage, many women came out and told me about theirs, ones that I never knew about, including my own mother.

    The other thing to know is that this journey is unpredictable and doesn't always go according to your desired time table. Some are lucky to get pregnant the very first try and have a take home baby, but no matter what this process takes a lot of planning just due to the fact that we can't conceive without some kind of intervention.

    My journey can be read in my "siggy" below - but basically, I had trouble conceiving after a loss via IUI and I ended up using my wife's egg for IVF. This was the best option for us in the end and I'm now in my second trimester after some ups and downs it took to get here.

    I wish you the best of luck, and start by reading some fertility or LGBT specific parenting resources (many fertility clinic websites have links) and seeing your gynecologist to start the initial conversation. Good luck to you! 

    M&K met 8/2002 married 6/2012
    TTC with RE since March 2012
    3 missed O's, 6 IUIs = 1 BFP then 8 w M/C, 5 BFNs
    (2 unmedicated IUIs, 2 clomid IUI, 2 femara IUI)
    Shared maternity/partner IVF, transfer #1 BFP!
    EDD 11/28/13
  • MK did a great job answering... and I am not sure how much more I have to add.  

    But, I wanted to say welcome.  Here is a little insight into what we did and our thoughts.  We started with our GYN for a routine exam where they directed me on monitoring cycles, had me start prenatals, did a pap, and gave me some ideas of REs in the area.  We were really lucky and have a nurse run fertility clinic in our area (St Louis, MO), since I am otherwise healthy we were able to do our IUIs at this clinic which was cheaper than a RE or doctor insemination.  We also used frozen sperm from a sperm bank and chose to do IUI to have better timing and accuracy in sperm delivery.  You can see below how our IUI journey went below in my sig.  I am currently 18 weeks pregnant and we consider ourselves very lucky to have had the fairly smooth journey that we have had so far.  

    Same sex couple, Married 8/6/11
    Baby Oliver born 11/27/13

    TTC stats with donor sperm...
    IUI #1 with trigger, 1/4/13 - BFN
    IUI #2 with trigger, 2/1/13 BFN
    IUI #3 with tigger, 2/28/12 BFP EDD 11/21/13
  • imagemwagner25:

    MK did a great job answering... and I am not sure how much more I have to add.  

    Ditto this...welcome penguin!

    We started out with a midwife practice that specializes in alternative insemination, then moved on to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) at a fertility clinic after 4 failed IUIs.

    Married my wife 8/2007 ~ TTC #1 since 7/2011
    9 IUIs = 9 BFNs
    IVF October 2012: 22 eggs retrieved, 17 fertilized, 5 frozen
    ET #1: 1 blast = BFP; Blighted ovum discovered at 7w5d; D&E
    FET #1: 1 blast = BFP; Missed m/c discovered at 9w5d; D&E
    Karyotyping: normal ~ RPL Testing: normal ~ Hysteroscopy: normal
    FET #2: 1 blast transferred 10/25; BFP 10/31!
    EDD 7/13/14 ~ Induced at 37w4d due to pre-eclampsia ~ Born on 6/28/14
    *Everyone welcome*

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Thanks for all of the encouragement. When we finally decided we wanted to start TTC, after 5 years of saying we never wanted kids, it now seems like too much to think about. I have so many stupid questions it seems. We are alone where we live, our families live out of state. We moved to Maryland from Texas to make our marriage legal and also to be more condusive to raising a two mommy family.
    I am currently using the mobile site, so I cannot see everything mentioned, but I will get out the laptop and look this week.

    We are both off a day this week and wanted to start with our first dr consult. We aren't ready today to conceive bc we need to get healthier, take vitamins, lose weight, and save up lots of money, but we want to start seeing the options and find out HOW this works! Haha

    What is the difference in gyno and obstetrecian. I am thinking we see the ob since we are wanting to get pregnant. Or should we see the gyn? let the stupid questions begin!

    On another board, I found great reviews on a fertility clinic here in MD. How can you tell if they are lesbian friendly? I found nothing online saying if they are/aren't.

    Thanks! :
  • I agree - MK did a great job answering.  I would also like to say welcome (I'm new to the board too, but not new to TTC)!  I would also like to second MK's advice of reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  I read this book several months before we knew that we would actively TTC and I was amazed and how much I didn't know about my body.  Even if you want TTC soon, it will still likely be a few months away as you do all the initial consultations, blood tests, etc.  Charting for a few months will give you and your OB and/or RE of a clearer picture of your cycles.  For instance, from charting I learned that while I ovulate most months, I didn't every month. And, I learned that when I ovulated, my luteal phase (LP) was on the short side.  Both of these pieces of information played into the ultimate approach we took.

    In regards to finding an OB-GYN and RE that are friendly to GLBT families, the best bet is to ask your friends if they know an OB-GYN that they trust.  That's what we did when after years of seeing a doctor who was a GYN only, I needed to find an OB's office.  I found a wonderful practice of OBs/midwives that I love and our 100% supportive of us.  If you don't have any friends in your area that can offer suggestions, perhaps your city or the biggest city near you has a gay yellow pages?  If neither option is available, then having a face-to-face meeting with a potential doctor will be even more important so that you can explain your situation and a get a feel for how supportive that particular doctor will be.

    If you want to read more about my experience, I wrote a long introduction about a week ago (appropriately titled Long Introduction).  I'll also note that my loss was a result of a chromosomal abnormality.  Although we ultimately terminated the pregnancy at 13 weeks, many women who conceive babies with chromosomal problems miscarry early.  Although we'll never know for sure, my RE told me that it was likely my egg, not the sperm, that carried the extra chromosome - she explained that it is less likely that an unhealthy sperm would "win the race" and inseminate the egg.  So, again, would just like to emphasize MK's point that, unfortunately, losses occur for so many reasons, and our loss had nothing to do with using frozen donor sperm or the method of conception.

    I too had so many questions when I first started and, like MK, am happy to pay forward any words of advice/comfort I can.  It is a daunting process, but with many happy endings.

    Good luck to you and welcome! 

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • MK did really do an awesome job at a welcome and some great general information! I'm so glad you found this board because there is a lot of wisdom about many different routes to take.

    I'll add my two cents in as well. Reading is paramount, and really helped us get prepared. But since I am not legally married and depending on the status of your relationship with your family, and also if you are thinking about using KDknown donor sperm, I suggest seeing a lawyer as well to draw up any necessary paperwork to protect you and your wife. You can check out my siggy below as well, and I definitely feel blessed with our journey. We weren't lucky right away but overall out experience was positive and although at nearly 27 weeks I still have fears about loss, we have been so appreciative for our baby.

    I was lucky enough to have a long term internal medicine doctor who referred me to a gay friendly OB. I definitely suggest doing this, goong on prenatals, etc. They both referred me to the same RE, so that's who we went with. We were unfamiliar with all the drugs and intervention, etc until meeting with the RE. Find someone who is comfortable with your level of comfort when it comes to drugs. We also initially chose only to use a trigger of HSG, which you will find helps a lot with IUI timing in an office. We had a lot of bloodwork done because my clinic required that we both be tested for lots of things, STDs etc. but like MK, we were not going to do the HSG until after our 4th cycle, which was successful.

    I would also check with any clinic you use about any sperm bank limitations. We were limited to choose from 3 banks, which really helped us narrow down donors a lot quicker than it would have gone otherwise.

    These next few months will be really exciting and full of lots of info you never knew before. Enjoy it with your wife and welcome.
    DP and I have been together since 1/2007 and had a wedding ceremony 5/11



    IUIs - natural cycle, one cancelled, 2 w/50mg Clomid


    IUI #4 - 5mg Femera, ovidril Jan 2012 BFP!!! Beta 13DPO= 41, 15DPO = 123; 1st u/s at 6w4d HB 132!; 2nd u/s 8w4d HB 179


    EDD 9.26.13


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  • I know every situation is different, but how much money did each of you start out with in your fertility fund? Like 1,000, 5,000, 10,000? Was it enough?
  • imagepenguin122308:
    I know every situation is different, but how much money did each of you start out with in your fertility fund? Like 1,000, 5,000, 10,000? Was it enough?


    Partly, it will depend on your insurance coverage. My insurance does not cover fertility treatments or drugs, but does cover diagnostics such as the HSG and blood work.

    Sperm is the most expensive part. My wife and I chose to buy 9 at once. We know we want at least 2 children and there would be no guarantee that th same donor would be available later. Many people just order 3 to 4 at a time. The benefit of buying in "bulk" is that some of the cryobanks we used Fairfax offer deals, such as buy X and get one free, buy X get free shipping, buy X get free storage. I think we spent 5500 or so up front, but that included 1 free vial, free shipping, and 2 years free storage luckily, there is a Fairfax storage site in Austin where I live. It was a good deal if you can afford to make that investment up front. On the other hand, some women switch donors after a few cycles if they haven't had success early on. You'll just have to figure out what is right for you. IUIready vials vary ours were 675/vial.

    Each cycle cost us an average of 700 or so. It varies depending on how many ultrasounds you need and whether you need to go in on the weekends my RE charges 20 extra on weekends. The U/S and IUI were around 200 each a little less. The Meds I took were cheap, but a trigger cost about 100.

    So, I would try to start off with at least 5000.

    I'm sure these costs vary depending on where you are, and, of course, what course of treatment you take. Hope this gives you an idea, though.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • ManadaManada member
    imagepenguin122308:
    I know every situation is different, but how much money did each of you start out with in your fertility fund? Like 1,000, 5,000, 10,000? Was it enough?


    We started with about 4000, it wasnt nearly enough. At last count we were at 11,000, we are now headed into IVF which will be another 10,000....

    If you can, I would save 10,000. If you don't use it all you will likely need the money for childcare or to cover a leave....
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    queer couple - 32 (me) & 33 (my love) years old - donor sperm,

    Our IF/TTC journey since Nov 2012.

    Me: dx of DOR in Nov. 2012. Low AMH, AFC - 6, Normal FSH, SS-A (RO) Antibodies (Autoimmune issues), tubes clear, Sono (November 2013) NORMAL! <p>

    7 IUI's - December 2012-September 2013.  Medicated, Injected, Triggered.... all BFN.

    My Love:  (the amazing @Healz413)
    Normal AMH & FSH, AFC ~27, blocked tube dx'd via HSG in 2012.   Hydrosalpinx & ovarian cyst dx'd in May 2013.
    dx of Stage IV Endo & bilateral salpinectomy in June 2013.  

    image

    Partner IVF#1a- December 2013 - H's eggs, my Ute - CANCELLED due to low response
    Partner IVF #1b - February 2014 - H's eggs, my Ute - ER February 4 (10 retrieved, 3 fertilized), Transfer Feb 7 of one Grade 1 and one Grade 2 day 3 embryos.  1 - Day 3, Grade 1 frosty saved.   BFP - 6dp3dt via FRER, Beta #1 - 110, Beta #2 175, Beta #3 - 348, Beta #4 - 2222!, Beta #5 - 4255.  Ultrasound (6w1d) - 2 heartbearts!  

    We lost our beautiful Twin baby girls on June 18, 2014.  Tavin Sara and Casey Elizabeth were born at 21 weeks gestation and were absolutely beautiful, precious, amazing babies.  We miss our daughters every day and love them with all our hearts.

    image

  • It could take years to save 10,000. That seems discouraging. Any ideas how to make money, or even cut costs? I realize raising a child is costly, but the getting pregnant part seems impossible to me. Yes, im crying and discouraged now. Sorry to vent, but you are my new friends and I am sure understand better than anyone.
  • Hi penguin, I echo what the ladies have said above. Because I needed more medical intervention than I had planned, I ended up paying about 5000 out of pocket and my insurance has paid over 11000 for all the procedures. Again it is dependent on your situation. I have friends in a nearby city who used a friend, aka known donor, and got pregnant the first time with zero cost. The fact is though that they are young and healthy at 26, and may end up paying lots of legal fees down the road to secure adoption rights to their child and prevent the bio father from seeking custody. This was a hassle we didn't want to deal with and decided it would be better to pay up front for the no strings attached frozen sperm. And yes it can be costly.
    M&K met 8/2002 married 6/2012
    TTC with RE since March 2012
    3 missed O's, 6 IUIs = 1 BFP then 8 w M/C, 5 BFNs
    (2 unmedicated IUIs, 2 clomid IUI, 2 femara IUI)
    Shared maternity/partner IVF, transfer #1 BFP!
    EDD 11/28/13
  • I wish it wasn't this hard. When we first looked online it was so fairy tale. Pay 500 for sperm, do it at home, a cute baby comes! I actually thought it would be that easy and the hardest part would be organizing my Pinterest boards I have filled!! Now I am scared it will take so long that it will be hard to conceive due to age, which will cost more money! LOL Once we said we wanted TTC, everyone is pregnant and babies are everywhere. Every moment we aren't starting the process, I am depressed. I feel like each day is one less day with a new baby.
    Sigh.... I am also PMSing so sorry for the sudden outburst of emotions on my first week as a bumpie! Haha
  • I know it can be discouraging. Just keep reading on these boards and get encouragement from others who have been there. Just take it one step at a time!

    It really seemed unfair to me, having always been with women and I thought getting pregnant would be super easy! Since I started TTC, I have learned from doctors and friends that it is harder than I thought. My re said it takes hetero couples with no fertility problems 3 to 12 months to conceive, and most fertility specialists won't see a hetero couple until they have been actively trying for at least a year. We are lucky we can walk right in to an RE office when we decide we want to TTC and get professional advice right off the bat.

    I used to think that everyone around me was getting pregnant with no issues until I realized those people were either very young or I didn't know for a fact that they werent having issues. After a year of struggles I opened up to some straight friends about TTC and found out they had had trouble too, like experiencing miscarriages and needing to go on fertility meds.

    This is the world you have entered and if you are serious about giving your energy, and yes your money and time, to this process then hold on to your seat and stick with us. All my advice could be worthless in the end bc you may just do a home insem and get a cute baby 9 months later. You never know!

    Please please read TCOYF and then you will know getting knocked up is truly a miracle and requires many factors to perfectly align. Having more info will help you and you will feel less lost.
    M&K met 8/2002 married 6/2012
    TTC with RE since March 2012
    3 missed O's, 6 IUIs = 1 BFP then 8 w M/C, 5 BFNs
    (2 unmedicated IUIs, 2 clomid IUI, 2 femara IUI)
    Shared maternity/partner IVF, transfer #1 BFP!
    EDD 11/28/13
  • I know it's overwhelming, but you are in good company.  We've all been there. Before you get discouraged, read up and meet with an RE.  It may turn out that you require very little intervention.  And, at-home insemination is definitely a cheaper alternative, though the success rates are lower than IUI.  One step at a time!

    Oh, another tip - if a flexible health spending account is available through your job, you can check to see if fertility treatments are allowable expenses.  I was able to use my HSA to cover some of my costs. 

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • KH826KH826 member

    Welcome Penguin!
    It looks like you have gotten a ton of really helpful support and answers from some of the super knowledgable ladies on this site already!
    I just wanted to chime in to say welcome.

    In terms of my experience, I am still TTC.
    I just had my 4th IUI last Thursday, so I am 4dpiui (4 days post IUI) today.
    Cost has been a huge concern for us, since I have a TON of student loans, and even though I make a good living, my loans are as much as our mortgage payment every month, so saving for TTC is difficult.
    We started with a nest egg of about $7k (which included money from our wedding last August, and the end of year bonus that I got from my employer last year).
    This is my 4th cycle, and that money is now gone.
    My insurance also does not cover anything fertility related, except for initial diagnostics.
    I had a pap, bloodwork and an HSG test at my first visit to my RE in February, and that was all covered by insurance, but since then, everything has been out of pocket for us.

    We initially bought 3 vials of frozen donor sperm (from Fairfax Cryobank) at the recommendation of our RE. That was about $2200 with shipping and fees. After our 3rd failed IUI last month, we were faced with having to buy more. We found a new bank NW Cryobank that offered frozen donor sperm at 1/2 the cost of what we paid at Fairfax, so we paid $1096 for 3 vials from a new donor. The decision to select a new donor was tough, but we decided to go that route since #1 our original donor was double the cost and #2 we thought it might improve our chances of success with a new donor.

    Our IUIs are $480, and that includes the sperm wash (they have to wash the specimen after is defrosts prior to the IUI).
    Ultrasounds are $266, and we have one of those per month prior to ovulation to measure follicle growth and see how many eggs I will release, the size/quality of the eggs, and how close I am to ovulation.
    Some women have monitoring bloodwork at this point in their cycle as well (to measure LH levels, estrogen, and a few other things). At this point, since bloodwork would be a few hundred more out of pocket, and since I ovulate on my own and my initial bloodwork was good, we have decided to forego that extra expense.
    That might change for us soon if we continue not to have success.

    I started out doing natural cycle IUI (unmedicated), but I started taking medication for the third cycle, including a trigger shot to time ovulation.
    If/when you are ready, let us know... there could be a whole other post just about meds, I am sure! There is a lot to know...

    So anyway, that is my journey so far.
    I thought I would share since I am still in the middle of TTC, so my perspective is a little different.
    AND I can so relate to the financial concerns.
    We have 2 more vials of sperm, should this 4th attempt not be successful, but we have depleted our TTC savings account that we started with in February, so scraping together the funds for IUIs and meds for two more rounds, if needed will be tough. We will make it work, but it will not be a walk in the park.
    We have decided if after we use of this round of sperm (that would be 6 IUIs in total), that we will take a break and reassess our next steps. We will need the break financially, emotionally, and physically...
    But who knows, maybe this will be lucky #4 and we won't have to think about that!

    Me - 30, My wife - 31 , Together for 10 yrs - Married August 2012

    5 medicated IUIs w/ RE (March - July 2013) = BFN

    Fresh IVF Cycle in September 2013 resulted in 18 mature eggs, 16 fertilized, 12 made it to day 5. Transfer of 2 Grade A blastocysts on 9/15/13, and 10 embryos in the freezer!

     

         *****BFP on 9/25/13 - betas: @10dp5dt = 232; @12dp5dt = 465; @15dp5dt = 1,581

     

    *********William George born June 4, 2014*********

  • Welcome! 

    The cost of doing this is very expensive, unfortunately we dont have the luxury of an "oops I'm preggo"!

    A and I paid $1700 per IUI with our RE....It didn't take until the 7th try.... so that's 11,900. That also doesn't include the consult, blood work, HSG or other tests they ran. I would say all together it cost us about 15k-16k to have our son. 

    And.....even though it feels overwhelming now, I'd pay it all over again 10 times to have him!

    Good Luck!

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Welcome!  Lots of great information already, but I want to add more.  When we were first starting to think about a family, we got a few books, but my favorite by FAR was "The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy and Birth."  It basically walks you through pretty much everything you need to know.  I've heard that it isn't sold in stores anymore (?) but you can find it online. 

    As for how much it can cost ... it depends on what you want.  My fiance and I don't have a lot of money, so I can totally relate to that.  We decided that we wanted a Known Donor (not because of cost, just because that felt like the right decision for us).  It was hard to come up with a list of friends that we would feel comfortable with, and even harder to actually ask, but we talked about it before as to what we wanted from our donor, the biggest was if he would be involved with the baby.  We would be okay if the donor was involved, but not as a parental figure.  It turned out that the donor did not want to be involved (but in our contract we agreed that it would be left open if he wanted to change his mind).  THAT all being said, our donor was kind enough to do it for free.  We did at-home insemination, which was also free (although if you go to a doctor's office to inseminate, it is better if/when you do a second parent adoption).

    I know I'm not the only one that's done an at-home insemination on this board, and plenty of others have experience with an RE and IFV, it comes down to preference and your fertility health.  Wishing you luck!  Also, it took us one year to the month from when we REALLY started planning (making lists, asking friends, writing a contract) to getting pregnant (mostly because we were somehow lucky enough to get it in the first month of trying).  Make sure you are tracking your cycles!  Start now, because the more data you have, the easier you can see patterns.  We just used a period tracker app that showed fertile days.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker


    BabyFetus Ticker
  • Finally had some time to make it to the library.... ironically enough there are not very many Lesbian parenting books! haha

     I did get a chance to see the FAQ for our LGBT section, which all in all wasn't that helpful. You guys have done a magnificent job helping us and pointing us in the right direction though. So as the moment, we are going to start working out a budget to start saving all of this money, start our health and fitness plans, and start charting ovulation! At the moment, we are not entirely sure which one of us would carry. So we will just both be prepared and see who is more able when the time comes.

    Can I find out, if not too personal, average ages? I am 30 and T is 26. We think she will be more likely to carry since she is younger, but I am prepared just in case!!

    Thanks for the support. Even though we are at the VERY beginning stages, we still need help and direction.

  • imagepenguin122308:

    Can I find out, if not too personal, average ages? I am 30 and T is 26. We think she will be more likely to carry since she is younger, but I am prepared just in case!!

    I'm 35; I was 33 when we started.  If you think both of you might ultimately want to carry, I would suggest starting with you since you are older.  Some people have no trouble conceiving in their mid-30s (and there are 20-somethings with fertility problems), but in general younger is better.

    Married my wife 8/2007 ~ TTC #1 since 7/2011
    9 IUIs = 9 BFNs
    IVF October 2012: 22 eggs retrieved, 17 fertilized, 5 frozen
    ET #1: 1 blast = BFP; Blighted ovum discovered at 7w5d; D&E
    FET #1: 1 blast = BFP; Missed m/c discovered at 9w5d; D&E
    Karyotyping: normal ~ RPL Testing: normal ~ Hysteroscopy: normal
    FET #2: 1 blast transferred 10/25; BFP 10/31!
    EDD 7/13/14 ~ Induced at 37w4d due to pre-eclampsia ~ Born on 6/28/14
    *Everyone welcome*

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • I agree with B&C.  If you think you want more than one child and are both interested in carrying, I would start with you.  I was 32 when we started (33 now and will be 34 by delivery) and my RE considered that "young."  It's great that both of you are open to the experience, though!  My wife in no way, shape, or form ever wants to be pregnant, and I sometimes felt the pressure of it all resting on me!
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  • Hi Penguin,

     

    I can't answer all of your questions but I can try to answer a few.  My wife and I have an amazing, healthy, 3 month old daughter who 'cost us' a grand total of 1400 dollars to conceive (two tries, two vials of sperm per try, at home insem).  We also had a late loss of twins which 'cost us' 700 dollars to conceive.  So our 'total' was pretty low.  We used Northwest sperm bank, which is pretty inexpensive, has great customer service, and is happy to ship to your home without the intermediary of a doctor.

     Okay, on to your questions.  First, you asked about loss.  Using donor sperm does not make loss more likely.  In fact, it may make it slightly less likely (in that donors are really well tested and tend to be healthier and less likely to have a family history of genetic issues than your 'average dude'.)  Why do you hear a lot of loss stories?  Because loss is very common for all pregnancies -- unfortunately, a sad fact of life that people don't talk about much (though we should).  The fact that loss scares you is okay -- it is scary.  It is okay to have a healthy, realistic, fear of loss through the ttc process and during pregnancy, as long as anxiety doesn't take over your life. 

    Second, you asked about costs and keeping them down.  If you would like to go the most inexpensive route, you may wish to look into using a known donor.  This will be pretty much free (unless you need to pay travel costs for your donor).  The second most inexpensive route is the one my wife and I took which is an at-home insemination with donor sperm.  I could write a book about this, but an at home insem is a great, inexpensive option with a very high chance of success especially when there are no known fertility issues and the person who is going to carry has a good understanding of her fertility and cycles.  This may mean taking six months or a year and doing tons of research, charting, using ovulation testing strips, and really nailing down how your partner's cycles work, how regular she is, whether she ovulates (not just menstruates) each month.  Understanding her fertility really well could make the difference between it taking two tries and it taking ten (or more!) = $$$ in your pocket.  Another thing to check on is whether her insurance will cover basic services of a reproductive endrocrinologist.  Even if you have no fertility coverage, many (most??) insurances will cover some really basic stuff like bloodwork to look at hormone levels.  Bare minimum, she should have her PCP check her out well and do all bloodwork/tests that are covered.  For example, thyroid testing, insulin levels (to check if she is on the PCOS spectrum) and so forth.  If these reveal any issues, they can be improved/fixed (if possible) now, saving you lots of wasted time and $$ later.  One thing to beware,  repro endocrinologists tend to be super aggressive in terms of determining what 'problems' a woman has that could impact fertility and in pushing things like medication and IUIS when they are not necessary.  For example, my partner was told she had a 'bad ovulation' (I think progesterone was low?) and would need clomid the month before she concieved twins *naturally* (we said no to the medication and decided to try on our own).  Looking back, they really fed us some bullsh** about her supposed lack of fertility (clearly not since in three tries, we conceived three babies) and need for their services.  So be careful -- get tested and checked out and then do your own research and make your own decisions.

     

    Third, how to find a doctor that will be aware/sensitive to your needs as a female couple.  Honestly, we never once encountered a health practitioner that appeared to have issues or be non-supportive.  IMO a bigger issue is that sometimes if pracitioners don't have a lot of contact with the queer community, they are incredibly stupid about  'how we make babies' (like a lot of our practitioners assumed we did IVF ... like ... sure, we *could* have done IVF I guess but there is nothing about being lesbians that necessitates such interventions any more than with straight couples.  All we need is some sperm and a vagina ;) )  Repro endocrinologists in particular are a mixed bag -- often they are very knowledgable about how to treat people with fertility issues.  But lesbian couples don't necessarily go to the endo because of fertility issues -- often times they just need to get checked out or maybe get an unmedicated IUI.  So repro endocrinologists can be VERY heavy handed with lesbian couples.  This can be bad because it drives up the cost HUGELY and also brings some risks with it.  For example fertility meds increase risks of multiples, which in turn increases the risks of loss, prematurity, and bad outcomes.  So moral of story, use the 'big guns' (repro endo) if necessary but walk cautiously.

    Best of luck in your journey -- I"m so excited for you!

  • We are just starting, too, although our situation is very different so I'm afraid I am not much help. Just wanted to pop in and wish you luck! Yes
  • Hi Penguin,  Welcome to this board and to kick starting your TTC journey.  It is such a crazy adventure but worth it (like parenthood - lol).  SO much great information here in this thread alone. I won't add much except to say that we had to read a lot and talk things over and over with our friends and family, and eventually figure out the path that worked best for us financially, emotionally, etc. We ended up using a known donor (something I thought I'd never do initially) but after trying the "turkey baster" method with frozen sperm and IUI's, using a known donor was the next right step.  We're looking at repeating that step for baby #2, and maybe trying IVF with my wife's eggs for #3 but we have to save up for that AND I have to convince EV that 3 kids is the right number for us...


  • I agree that if you are both interested in carrying children, you should start with you. S and I are 5 years apart and the RE definitely suggested that to us, but S definitely did not want to carry so tht wasn't an issue for us. We started actually ttc when I had just turned 31. She basically told me that if all the conditions were right at the peak if my fertility at around age 21, I would have had a 30 percent chance of conceiving. At 30, when I started, my glances had gone done to 10 percent chance and then followed that up with you're healthy and have no known fertility issues. "You're going to get pregnant". Which may not have been super wise Of her but she was right. That's also why we moved quickly to drugs to increase my odds.

    As far as budget, check wih your clinic and insurance to get an idea of cost. I think every insem was around 350 for us including the thaw and count charge. The sperm is most expensive and we initially bought 7 vials at 750 a piece plus shipping and of course a storage fee at the clinic. Our donor sold out and in feb we got a call that we could purchase some more, so I purchased 4 more to use for other siblings, so that's a pretty penny. In both cases I actually used a credit card with a zero percent offer for 12 months which have us some wiggle room for cash flow. I called and asked for it and they gave it me. Clomid is cheap but the femera was over 200 dollars because it wasn't covered if I wasn't using it for cancer treatment. We've since paid off the sperm and have only used 4 of the 12 vials we've purchased. It's definitely an investment up front but totally worth it. I would also agree that a 57 thousand dollars would be a good starting place and if it ends up taking one time at home then you have a nice neat egg for baby prep which I have found is also expensive. Lol.
    DP and I have been together since 1/2007 and had a wedding ceremony 5/11



    IUIs - natural cycle, one cancelled, 2 w/50mg Clomid


    IUI #4 - 5mg Femera, ovidril Jan 2012 BFP!!! Beta 13DPO= 41, 15DPO = 123; 1st u/s at 6w4d HB 132!; 2nd u/s 8w4d HB 179


    EDD 9.26.13


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