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Adventures in Queer Fertility! Or, Weird Things To Do During a Pandemic!

Yup, we’re actively working on some queer baby making!

An artistic rendering of what it’s like trying to get pregnant as an LGBTQ couple
An artistic rendering of what it’s like trying to get pregnant as an LGBTQ couple
Illustration: freepik.com (Other)
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I’ve been putting off writing about all of this for months now for several reasons:

  • We’re in a pandemic and it feels weird to be talking about family planning and using medical resources, when they have been limited and rightfully prioritized for the caring of sick patients. Not to mention the whole idea of risking getting Covid, just to become an even higher risk, for something that can be seen by some as optional or even selfish.
  • We have been talking about when/how to tell the people in our lives first. With everything going on (see above) it’s been hard to find the right time to bring this up to people.
  • I wanted the okay from my wife to talk about these things online because the details are so much more unique for us as a trans/cis queer couple, than they are for hetero couples, or even cis gay/lesbian couples.
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Now that I’ve gotten my reasons for why I’ve been hesitant to talk about this out of the way, I can finally address them and share the all of the gory good/bad/exciting/scary details of what’s been going on with me!

When we got married last year we decided that we would start looking into trying around June of 2020. I’m 37, and lets be honest the clock is winding down on how much longer I can put off trying to get pregnant. And since it was a major point of discussion when my wife and I first sat down to talk about her transitioning, we carefully planned ahead long before getting married. We were in full agreement that we weren’t going to mess around with her hormonal levels just to try to get this done naturally. After doing a lot of research on how other couples have done it, the side effects of her going off hormones and the psychological toll it would take did not seem worth it. And I honestly could not put someone I love through being so miserable for something that I want. So she took the steps to get some vials banked right before starting hormones. Prior to transition she didn’t even know if she wanted kids at all. But after starting the process of transitioning she slowly learned that she did, she just didn’t want to be a dad.

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So we had our timeline all set, worked through all of the anxieties about starting the whole process, and then the pandemic hit. It felt horribly selfish thinking about how much I wanted to start a family with my wife during a time when we didn’t know how bad things would get with Covid. People are getting sick and dying, jobs are drying up, the total lack of PPE for healthcare workers was appalling. Articles started popping up about the difficulties other couples already going through the fertility process were dealing with, since labs and clinics were shutting down. And of course I read all of the comments about how reproductive and infertility care is selfish, and how these people were being greedy for being upset that their embryo transfer appointment was canceled due to the pandemic. Honestly, it was really heartbreaking and stressful to process. So even after our chosen fertility clinic opened up, we decided to put it off.

June was our original set date for when we’d start contacting the fertility clinic to get the ball rolling. But by then, Covid updates from the governor were still a weekly thing and we had just been living boarded up in our apartment during the George Floyd protests. My wife had started recording video diaries for our potential future child. I asked her how she was feeling about continuing with the process with everything going on, and she said oddly enough she’s actually looking forward to building our family. I think it’s good to have something to look forward to when things are as bleak as they are. So we put it off another month, waiting for news about things hopefully leveling out. And thankfully, July seemed to quiet down just a little bit and we felt ready to apply.

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I’ve discussed everything with my boss, who could not be more excited. I shared my worries with her, and she told me not to feel bad about bringing more good people into the world. It was actually quite helpful to hear. Since I won’t be able to be on my medication for my sleep disorder, she is willing to be very flexible with my needs around work and energy. Especially since, according to her, I have actually been thriving while working from home full time. I attribute that to being around plants and sunlight, things you just don’t get in a corporate cubical.

The past few months have been lots of lab tests and doctor visits over Zoom or on the phone. My egg count is slightly low for my age, but not so much that we should be extra worried. But enough to say that if I put this off any longer it will be far more difficult. This upcoming week I go in for an HSG test to see how my fallopian tubes look. The whole process sounds horrible, so I’ve taken the day off to recover from it. I figure best case scenario is that I just get a day off to relax a bit.

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We’ve been slowly telling friends, one by one, and everyone so far seems excited and supportive. Funny enough, last night we told her parents we were starting the process, and their responses were... unexpected? My FiL is happy and excited, but has just about the same level of enthusiasm about it as he did for telling us about some tobacco bugs he read about in a science magazine. Actually, I think he sounded even more excited to tell us about the UFO books he has coming in the mail soon. My MiL gave a very casual, “Yeah... I mean, I figured you would.” and then asked if we’re getting a doll for the dog to practice being around. Not that she’s not happy or excited, but her excitement level is really reserved for the dog.

So that’s what’s been going on with me. We’re taking it cycle by cycle. If it happens, we’ll be happy. But if it doesn’t, we’re still happy. That’s the great thing about being so happily married.

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