When I first started the egg donor and surrogacy program here in South Africa, I would get enquiries from gay couples and singles from overseas. Many of them would start their email with "I am not sure whether you deal with gay couples...." and the first few times I was all like "huh? What do you mean?" Of course I deal with gay couples, why wouldn't I? And then I realized how often gay couples were discriminated against. And what a tough time they had accessing the things we take for granted.
(We are very, very lucky that in South Africa we have a constitution protects the rights of ALL people - regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation etc etc. Gay people are allowed to marry, adopt, have kids etc. I guess coming from a history of atrocious human rights abuse, we make damn sure here in South Africa that it never happens again*.)
OF COURSE we deal with gay couples! We LOVE our gay couples so much! They allow us to be cyber aunties to lots and lots of gorgeous babies all over the world. I keep threatening to knit pastel coloured booties and send them to all the gorgeous babes.
Within the egg donor world, there are two groups of people - those who chose to disclose to their child that they were conceived through donor egg and those who choose not to disclose. Those who choose not to disclose do so for various reasons (religious reasons, fear of the extended family's rejection of the child, their own personal reasons etc etc). While I am firmly in the 'telling' camp (the experts say 'tell early and tell often'), I respect that each family has their own story. And it is theirs to tell.
This baby making stuff is so personal, and I become so emotionally invested in each person's story - it is impossible for me to see this as just a 'job' or just a business. I have become really good friends with many of my recipients. I love them and I love their gorgeous babies. However, I realize that for some people, I am a reminder of something they would prefer not to think about - the donor egg bit. Which means that some of the people prefer not to hear from me after they get pregnant. In fact, some people pretend they dont know me at all afterwards, just in case someone works out that if I know them, there might be a connection to a donor egg. I understand. It does feel a little ouch sometimes but that is MINOR - my feelings in this dont matter, it is all about the child and his or her family.
Having said that, it is soooooooooo divine for me when the recipients stay in touch with me after the baby is born and because my gay couples / singles are in the 'telling' camp (for obvious reasons), I get to be BFFs with them and keep up to date with their gorgeous babies. And oh my word! What beautiful babies my gay couples make!! GORGEOUS! I love how committed to parenting my gay parents are (as are my straight couples!) - these are babies that are most definitely wanted! And adored! And loved! And well raised!
I was at a family event recently and my mom said to me "tell Aunty so and so cousin's sister what you do, it is so interesting". So I started talking about my work and surrogacy and cases where both a surrogate and an egg donor is used, as if for example when it is a same sex couple and ...
"Oh, those poor children" says so and so's cousin's sister.
So and So: Well, they must be so confused...
Me: Why would they be confused?
S&S: Because, you know, there are two fathers...
Me: What is so confusing about that? They have two fathers. One of them is not going to dress up as a woman and pretend to be the mother. They have two fathers, no confusion.
S&S: But you know, two men together....
Me: The child is going to have two loving parents. Two daddies. Who are not going to have sex in front of the children any more than a hetro couple will have sex in front of the children - WHERE IS THE CONFUSION???
I know there are people out there who do not approve. Frankly, I don't give a shit. There is no 'argument' against gay parenting that comes even close to intelligent debate. Every argument against it comes from a judgemental, prejudiced point of view and I don't do prejudice. You can't use rational debate when you are dealing with the irrational. You are entitled to your views, you are not entitled to impose your beliefs and prejudices on other consenting adult's free choice. No one expects you be a gay parent, marry a gay person or be gay. You carry on being straight and they will carry on being gay - where is the confusion here people?
In my egg donor progam, I am PROUD to say that we deal with gay couples, single parents, single gay parents, hell.... we even deal with STRAIGHT, MARRIED COUPLES!! I know! Hard to believe! WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO!!
Now let me introduce you to my one of my dearest cyber families - T&A with their FOUR children!!! Yes my friends, they have four kids under 7 months! Let me not ever hear you are busy with your brood - four kids under 7 months! Now THAT is busy. Same egg donor so they are biologically related to each other - T is the bio dad of the twin boys and A is the bio dad of the twin girls. Each dad is the adoptive parent of the bio dad's twins. Aren't they gorgeous! (And the babies aren't bad either) <-forget to mention that T&A live in the USA
You are welcome to share your opinion on this, however I will NOT tolerate ANY negative comments directed towards T&A, their families or the families of any of my gay parents. You can speak about the topic in general terms, you may not be personal. Personal attacks will be deleted.
*It is my feeling that in a few years time we are going to look back at this time, as we did when looking back at slavery, at apartheid etc and say "I can't believe we ever allowed that to happen" - 'that' being the discrimination against gay people as we have it today.
A final punt for future daddies (and mommies) - these couples and singles would not be able to experience parenting without the generosity of egg donors and / or surrogate mothers - if you can, please help them out www.nurture.co.za
PS Today we spoke about circumcision in the car on the way to school. More blog fodder!