Being a lesbian mom means navigating a unique set of challenges and joys. Knowing every journey is different, here is some of what you might expect.
One of the inevitable parts about being a lesbian mom is that you’re going to get a lot of ridiculous questions—some of which will make you giggle, and others will make you fume.
“Who’s the REAL mama?” and “How did this happen?” May we say: 😡😥😡😥
While hetero couples with babies are seldom asked how they conceived their children, queer couples tend to be.
Yep, we don’t think it makes for great dinner-time conversation either.
On top of this, as much as we’ve made advancements in terms of LGBTQIA+ rights, stigma is still prevalent.
And queer parenting often means running into a whole lot of uncalled-for judgment around your child’s well-being.
As if the task of parenting weren’t challenging enough, this means that being a lesbian mom may come with its fair share of preaching and teaching.
(If you need cheat notes, head here for an overview of 79 scholarly articles that all agree that queer parenting does not harm children in any way. Not only that, children of LGBTQIA+ parents appear to do better in school.)
We’ll do what we can to help.
We’ll start by taking you through your options of becoming a lesbian mom and then talk through some ways to navigate being one.
(Hint: you don’t have to do it alone. Community is everything.)
Let’s dive in.
In this article 📝
- TTC as a lesbian mom
- Adoption resources for lesbian parents
- Being a lesbian mom
- Resources for lesbian moms
TTC as a lesbian mom
Once you decide that you or your partner want to become pregnant, it’s time to explore your options.
While no two journeys will be the same, here are the basics of what this might look like.
1. Fertility tests
The first thing to do is visit your doctor to check out where your reproductive health’s at.
They will run tests to determine your fertility levels and give some indication of your chances of carrying a pregnancy to term.
If you choose, both you and your partner can undergo these tests to help you decide how to proceed.
They may check:
Your FSH levels
FSH is your follicle-stimulating hormone, and, as it sounds, it stimulates your ovaries to grow follicles to release eggs when you ovulate.
Your doctor can test your FSH levels through a blood test.
If you have high levels of FSH, it may mean low egg reserves.
Low levels could mean that your body is no longer producing eggs.
Both of these may make it more of a challenge to get pregnant.
Your LH levels
LH is the luteinizing hormone.
An at-home ovulation test detects the LH levels in your pee.
You can also test this hormone through a blood test at your doctor’s office.
If your levels are too high or too low, it could mean that you are having trouble ovulating.
Your estradiol levels
Estradiol is an important form of estrogen—a key sex hormone made in your ovaries.
Checking your levels can help your doctor determine your body’s ability to produce eggs for ovulation.
AMH is the anti-mullerian hormone.
Knowing the levels of this hormone will help to determine your ovarian supply and the possibility of you becoming pregnant.
You can learn more about the hormones that are important for fertility here.
Another test your doctor could do is an HSG or hysterosalpingogram.
This is an x-ray procedure that looks at your uterus and fallopian tubes to see if there is any reason they may impact your ability to get pregnant.
2. Choosing a fertility treatment
The good news is there are many options:
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
You may have also heard this referred to as AI, or artificial insemination.
As the name suggests, it involves placing sperm directly inside your or your partner’s uterus using a catheter.
The hope is that one of your eggs will be fertilized by the incoming sperm.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
In this procedure, eggs are collected from your ovaries, fertilized with sperm in a lab, and then transferred back into your uterus.
What is known as Reciprocal IVF is a way for both partners to be physically involved in the process.
Here, the eggs are taken from one partner’s ovaries, fertilized with donor sperm, and then placed into the other partner’s uterus.
Both of you are physically involved in the process.
Another option is IVF with INVOcell, which also allows both partners to be physically involved.
In this method, after the egg is fertilized, it is put back in the partner’s body where it came from.
They incubate this “INVOcell” for about five days, after which it is transferred into the carrying partner’s body.
Important to note that these treatments can come with high costs, so it’s good to talk money right upfront.
We’ll take you through more details on fertility treatments here.
3. Consider who you would like the sperm donor to be
You have the choice between a known sperm donor—a friend or family member—or an anonymous sperm donor, who you would find through a sperm bank.
If you go with someone you know, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney to ensure that you have all parental rights outlined from the outset.
If you opt for an anonymous donor, you won’t know who the person is, but you will be given information on certain key characteristics, like their family history and appearance.
Anonymous donors are also screened for infectious diseases and genetic risk factors.
And, if you need this study in your toolbox to ward off the naysayers, sexual orientation does not affect the outcome of fertility treatments with donated sperm.
Also, if you run into any hurtful language, we feel you. It’s time to get rid of the terms that have caused pain rather than provide care.
That’s why we’ve brought out our #RenamingRevolution glossary.
Terms like “incompetent cervix”, “geriatric pregnancy”, and “inhospitable womb”? Yep, we’re pretty sick of those and know that it’s time for them to go.
The TTC journey can be hard enough.
This may come in the form of friends and family, healthcare professionals, your Peanut community, or a combination of all of the above.
Adoption resources for lesbian parents
If you would like to consider adoption, that’s also an incredible way to become a mama.
Child Welfare offers this comprehensive resource to get you going.
And the government provides this resource for LGBTQIA+ adoptions.
We also have a special space on Peanut to support those wanting to adopt, are in the process of adopting, or have adopted.
Being a lesbian mom
In many ways, being a lesbian mom is just like being any other kind of mama.
You still have to ensure that this tiny being is fed, changed, and housed.
And as they get older, you still have to navigate the complexities of guiding a little person through life.
The one major difference? Navigating stigma.
Even in supportive communities, this is pretty much a given.
And while we don’t know your exact set of challenges, we do know the importance of boosting support networks.
Resources for lesbian moms
Know that you’re not alone on this journey. There are so many awesome lesbian moms out there doing their thing with pride.
Here are some ways to connect with others on your path:
- Peanut. Connect with other mamas and mamas-to-be through us.
- Social media accounts of mamas living the dream: team2moms and livingrosa are two of our favorites.
- National Center for Lesbian Rights. This awesome organization supports and enhances lesbian rights by offering free legal advice and conducting community education.
- GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, is out to “rewrite the script” for LGBTQIA+ acceptance in the media.
- Lavender Health offers reliable health-related information and resources to the LGBTQIA+ community and to healthcare professionals, educators, and policymakers.
- The Child Welfare Information Gateway offers this list to help you find the necessary resources in your community.
We wish you all the best on this journey.
A lesbian mom and child team is a formidable force. ❤️
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50 Parenting Quotes to Remember
16 Children’s Books About Diversity
10 Life-Changing Mom Hacks From Peanut Mamas
13 Pieces of Advice That New Moms Need to Hear
How to Find Mom Friends in Your Area
20 Must-Know Pregnancy and Motherhood Acronyms
Pearls of Wisdom from LGBTQIA+ Parents
Know Better, Do Better: Raising Anti-Racist Children
What is Gentle Parenting?
7 LGBTQIA+ Couples You Should Follow ASAP
How to Relax When TTC
TTC Meaning: The Language of Trying to Conceive
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