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Lesbian couple and mother - baby bump

How the lesbian couple Karen and Catherine became mothers – part 1

In 2016, the Danish lesbian couple Karen and Catherine (fictional names) went to a meeting at a fertility clinic. Along with them, they had a big wish to become mothers. A wish which, with the help of a sperm donor, came true in 2017 when Karen gave birth to their baby boy.

The process of having a child with the help of a sperm donor – whether being a lesbian couple, heterosexual couple or a single woman – is a process with many considerations, decisions and sometimes worries. It’s our experience, that hearing other people’s stories sometimes can lessen the number of worries, make the possibilities clearer and the decisions a bit easier. Therefore, we collect and share interviews and other personal stories with people who have had experiences that others can learn and benefit from.

The following is the first part of an interview with the lesbian couple Karen and Catherine about their process of becoming mothers:

How did you make the decision to become parents?

Karen always had the desire to start a family. In fact, so much that she wanted to do it alone if she didn’t find the right partner.

Catherine, however, did not immediately want to have children. Perhaps mainly because she could not imagine being pregnant herself. But Catherine’s mindset changed through the first years of our relationship, and over the years it actually became a completely natural thought that we would go down this road together.

What were your first considerations when you decided to have a child?

There are many considerations when you are two lesbian women who want to have a child together. For example: What is right for us? What is right for the child? Those were some thoughts that we’ve had for several years, and we now believe that we have made the right decisions – for both us and for our son.

Our considerations especially included two questions:

Should the donor be someone we know?

This idea was quickly rejected. We wanted the child to be ours, and we didn’t want to raise him with someone else.

Should it be a non-anonymous donor (also called an open donor) who our child could contact later on?

Catherine was in doubt about this, thinking if it would put a third person into the game? However, after seeing a number of documentaries about donor children and their desire to know their biological origin, we also agreed on this matter. We wanted our child to have the opportunity of contacting the donor when he grows up.

You mentioned that Catherine never imagined herself being pregnant – did that make it easier to decide who was going to carry the child?

Yes, it was the easiest decision of them all. Karen had a great desire to carry the child, so it was the right decision for both of us. However, we did think about the fact that the child wouldn’t have any genes from Catherine, and if that would mean something to the people around us. Would it affect the feeling and affection of the future grandparents? And how would the rest of the family feel? However, these thoughts were quickly proved wrong.

How did you choose your sperm donor?

We wanted to know as much as possible about our donor and therefore searched for a sperm donor with an extended profile. We once heard a single mother (by choice) comment on this subject. She said that she wanted to have the child with a donor that she could see herself fall for in reality. We had the same thought.

We looked through hundreds of profiles. The first criteria we decided on was hair and skin colour. We wanted a child that would reflect both of our appearances. We also placed great emphasis on the donor’s values, talents and interests. We didn’t look for a genius or for the most beautiful one. Instead, we looked for the donor who felt right and who appealed to us the most.

In the end, we were down to two donors. Both of them had fantastic profiles. And the childhood pictures on both profiles looked like children that could have been ours – and that was actually how it felt!

Karen preferred one, and Catherine preferred the other, but in the end, it was the nationality of the donors that was decisive for our choice. One was American, and the other was Danish, and we choose the Danish donor. We also live in Denmark and therefore it will probably be easier for our son to contact the donor when he turns 18 – if that is what he wants.

Read part 2 of the interview with Karen and Catherine here.

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