“united by love and some very expensive semen”

Quite a catchy title huh? I read that in “Confessions of the Other Mother” a book I recommended a couple of posts back. Although it is humorous it also rings really true. Unfortunately for us, all the love in the world isn’t going to create a child. Science has not gotten that far. So we need sperm. Lots of very expensive sperm.

How does one go about purchasing sperm you ask. Well…first we needed to figure out what kind of sperm we needed. We needed to check our lab work so our genes combined with the donors wouldn’t create any health defects. Thankfully we can use any sperm donor with no restrictions. Now it just depends on the method in which we want to conceive.

Types of Sperm:

If we were to do an ICI we would purchase ICI sperm. This sperm is washed once to remove basically everything that isn’t semen. It is the least expensive ranging at about $740-$865 a vial. One vial gives you one try.

If we were to do IUI or IVF we would you IUI sperm. This sperm is washed twice and is the most expensive ranging about $840-$965 a vial.

What kindof Donor?:

Now what kind of donor do you want? Anonymous? Open Donor? ID Disclosure. All of these options range in price with anonymous being the least and ID Disclosure being the most expensive. Each options give you and your children different options and pathways should you want them now or in the future.

One thing you should also consider if you hope to have multiple children is do you want the children to all be genetically related. This comes into play for example if we were to use my egg and donor sperm for the first pregnancy and Krystal’s egg for the second. The children would not be genetically related if we didn’t use the same donor. Sperm runs out quickly (surprising I know) and a donor that has 25+ vials available today might have none available tomorrow. So if having your children be genetically related is very important to you then you must buy the sperm for as many cycles as you want to try. For us that magic number is six.

Costs:

So lets add all this up with a couple of hypotheticals… lets say we needed 6 vials of IUI sperm it would cost the following

Anonymous Donor $840 x 6 = $5040

Open Donor $890 x 6 = $5340

ID Disclosure Donor $965 x 6 = $5790

That doesn’t include storage. The vials you aren’t using have to be stored at the sperm bank till you are ready for them. Storage can range from $400-$500 a year per vial. So if we got pregnant on the first try and didn’t want to try for baby number 2 till the first child was 3 years old the storage fees would be roughly $8300. This doesn’t include shipping either; sperm banks have to ship the vial to your doctor in very specific (expensive) storage devices and for each shipment it is about $200.00.

So what’s the next step for us? We save… we save a lot.

Recently I have been reading a book called Buying Dad: One woman’s search for the perfect sperm donor by Harlyn Aizley. If you can stomach the constant whinning and martyrdom it does a relatively good job of showing the emotional reality of the fertility process.

ICI, IUI, IVF: What does it all mean?

I can’t tell you how many people have asked, “So you’re just going to use a turkey baster right?” If only it was that simple! There are a few options that are available to us and all vary in price and medical impact. I hope to give a brief (and not too detailed) overview of each.

ICI or Intracervical Insemination: This technique is probably the closest you will get to a turkey baster because it can be done at home or in a doctors office. ICI involves injecting the sperm into the cervix and mimics “normal” conception and has about the same success rates. Since the sperm is unwashed it has higher rates of infection (more on what this means in the next post).

IUI or Intrauterine Insemination: IUI involves injecting sperm through a narrow catheter directly into the woman’s uterus.  IUI can be done with the aid of medication and a trigger shot to pin point the exact time period in which ovulation occurs. This is a helpful procedure because it gives the sperm a head start by inserting the sperm past the hostile environment of the cervix. A good estimate for each cycle would be anywhere ranging from $1,500-3,000.

IVF or In Vitro Fertilization: IVF is a procedure that involves retrieving eggs and sperm from the bodies of a male and female (or in our case a donor) and placing them together in a laboratory dish to enhance fertilization. Fertilized eggs are then transferred several days later into the female’s uterus where implantation and embryo development will hopefully occur in a normal pregnancy. During this process the woman (or persons donating/receiving the egg) take hormones in the form of shots to increase the number of eggs produced. This procedure is rather costly and is very rarely covered by insurance. A good estimate for each cycle would be anywhere ranging from $14,000-20,000.

I am not a certified medical professional. These definitions and explanations are purely from my own research and experience. You should always go with the information you doctor has provided. The book I recommended in my last post “Lesbian Conception 101” has very helpful descriptions and overviews of each of these procedures. 

Beginning Our Journey to a Family

We are officially settled in Corpus Christi, both loving our jobs and being so close to the majority of Krystal’s family. Our lives finally seem to be out of this holding pattern of long distance, discontent in jobs, planning for a wedding, and the general chaos life brings your way. We finally feel some stability; which for two Type A people is very comforting.  We have decided to begin the process of starting a family. This does not mean (in any way) that we will be pregnant any time soon, but what it does mean is we are beginning to educate ourselves and gather information so that when the time is right we have what is necessary and feel comfortable to make decisions. As you might guess we are in need of a few components that the nature of our relationship does not require; so the process is a tad more complicated than your average heterosexual couple.

We began our journey by going to RMA Fertility in San Antonio to make sure we were both healthy and had all options open to us. If you are struggling with infertility or are a same-sex couple we highly recommend RMA. They are the only Human Rights Campaign Certified Fertility Provider in the State of Texas. The staff was wonderful and accepting never getting Krystal or I confused and never making us feel like this process was abnormal or “other-than.” We both had a sonogram which came back with a 5 star rating of healthy and I just underwent a hysterosalpingogram or HSG this past week. All tests results and procedures have come back healthy and normal. So we have the green light to begin the process whenever we are fiscally ready.

One thing we loved about RMA is they require a mental health screening where you meet with a professional (or skype like we did) who gives you TONS of information, resources and also provided us with an excellent lawyer that specializes in second-parent adoptions. Although the financial spectrum was enough to make us choke on our own spit; all of these tests and processed have educated us and allowed us to really think about what family is to us and how we want to go about making it.

If you are looking for books for your own future family or simply out of curiosity here are a few we bought off of Amazon that were very thought provoking and provided a lot of helpful information. We have several others we are still reading and will post once we have read them in their entirety.

Lesbian Conception 101: An easy-to-follow, how-to get started guide for lesbians thinking about getting pregnant tomorrow or in a couple of years By Kathy Borkoski

In this practical (and sometimes hilarious) guide, Kathy Borkoski of LesbianConception101.com walks you through your options and helps you decide what is best for your situation. By giving you all the information she and her wife learned over a year of insemination, ultrasounds, and questions to their patient doctor and lesbian mom friends, she shows you how to get started on your own path to pregnancy. In this how-to guide, you will be given: A glossary for all the confusing processes and jargon, Easy-to-follow steps to get you started, Questions you should be asking each other to make the tough decisions, Cost estimates so you can plan for the real expenses of lesbian babymaking, and Stories from real lesbian moms about their journeys.

Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All! By Harlyn Aizley

This candid peek into a previously unexamined side of lesbian parenting is full of stories that are sometimes humorous, sometimes moving, but at all times celebratory. Each parenting tale sheds light on the many facets of motherhood, offering gay and straight readers alike a deeper understanding of what it means to love and parent in the twenty-first century.

 

 

For those of you that require a quick education on same-sex conception and lesbian conception in particular here is your lesson for the day.

Second – parent adoptions: Although Krystal and I are legally married and our marriage is both recognized on the state and federal level neither of us would be assumed the parent if we had not gone through the actual pregnancy and labor. So for example if Krystal were to carry the baby and give birth, I could put my name on the child’s birth certificate but this act alone would not guarantee or give me any parental rights. Which is where the lawyer becomes necessary. I would need to go through the process of a second-parent adoption and legally adopt the child before having any legal rights over the child. Should a death or divorce happen, if I had not legally adopted the child that I conceived of with my wife I would have no legal rights. This is even the case if we were to do reciprocal IVF where Krystal were to carry a child that is biologically mine, because I did not give physical labor to this child it is not considered mine in the eyes of the law. This second parent adoption process averages up to $5000 and includes lots of paperwork and a home visit as well.

Wedding DIY

Mailbox

The mailbox came out of the Sampsons garage like so many of the decorations did. I had seen a couple of ideas and with a couple of cans of spray paint and a few

minutes on my CriCut our mailbox was born. But of course no DIY project is complete without LED lights; so once you opened the mailbox it literally glowed… your welcome. We are hoping that at some point we can use it as our actual mailbox.

 

Wagon

Since our flower girl was too young to walk we figured we’d have her escorted in style. Let me just tell you Facebook Market Place is the best thing since sliced bread. I found not only the wagon but the skirt to go along with is, with a  little fabric, some signs (with lights of course), and just a tad faux fur Lyra was escorted in style down the isle.

 

 

Chalkboard

The chalkboard came from Mintage Designs while we were prepping for our Engagement party. It served double duty and welcomed our guests to the ceremony. It took me about 2 hours on the Sampson’s living room floor to do the design and it still hasn’t been erased I just can’t bear to erase it.

 

 

Our Wedding Video

We are so happy to share our wedding video with you. Lately it has been my little way of reliving the day and all those special moments that were crammed into such a short amount of time.

A huge thank you to Josh from JWayne Productions for all his hard and beautiful work.

A New Adventure

As many of a you are aware, Krystal has been looking for new opportunities in regards to her career. As a search for a new path began we were very narrow minded in the possibilities a new job could mean for us and or lives. As the search continued we allowed ourselves to branch out and consider new cities, and even new careers. This resulted in many applications in the Houston and San Antonio area and two applications in the Corpus Christi area.

As fate would have it months after a application to a job in Corpus an interview came along and then another and then another. As of a few weeks ago Krystal was offered a job at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi. Krystal and I mulled over this offer, talked every aspect through, went to the people we always go to for advice our family and friends and have decided to accept the offer. That’s right, we are moving to Corpus Christi!

The part of leaving our dearest friends and family behind is gut wrenching. The part where I have to leave my students, my kiddos, brings me to tears instantly as I think of not seeing them everyday. However, there is so much for us to look forward too, living close to Krystal’s family, living closer to my Dad, Mother and Grandparents, having to many babysitters to count for the dogs and hopefully our future children. This is a new adventure and journey for us or as my Dad would say a new season. A season of which we are very excited and sad about, but one that will bring with it new challenges and joys.

What does this mean? Well, Krystal and I will again be doing long distance once she starts her position at the end of February. The wedding will still happen in Houston on April 15. We will spend our first few months as a married couple apart (I don’t want to think about that yet). I will move to Corpus after the school year ends in June. We will begin the process of moving our things and renting our house after the wedding. (Any volunteers to help or reference to the house would be greatly appreciate)

We thank each of you for the support and encouragement you have already showed to us and the friendship and love you will show to us in the future.

To new Adventures!

Krystal and Madison