The Romance of Reproduction
Science, propelled by the desire of individuals and couples looking to grow their families, is taking us into an amazing new era of reproductive options. However, whenever you move forward, there are inevitably some things that get left behind.
For heterosexual couples struggling with infertility there has always been a kind eye, sympathetic ear, and understanding head tilt to the process of grieving that might be associated with letting go of “traditional” or “natural” means of growing one’s family. And while there is definitely a differing set of complicated emotions that go along with being a LGBTQ individual or couple starting out on the pathway to parenthood, the impact of relinquishing long held scripts should not be underestimated.
Even if your logical brain has long understood what the biological growth of your family might (and might not) entail, there is a separate emotional process that goes along with finding peace in the fact that having children will be far from a private intimate act of consummation and creation between yourself and a loved one.
It’s important to be gentle with oneself about this but also to understand the potential complications of refusing to relinquish attachment to romance. In this new age of family building where science, culture, and law aren’t always in step with each other it’s important to protect one’s family by understanding how different options (ex. home insemination, using a related egg donor/surrogate, traditional vs. gestational surrogacy, laws regarding marriage/partnership, etc) can affect how the law does and doesn’t protect your family. I would also like to posit another view about this process that doesn’t rest solely on necessity/protection.
LGBTQ individuals and couples have always been at the forefront of changing the script on how we understand love and romance. Whether meaning to or not the community has been an invaluable force in taking “reproduction” out of romance and sexuality– valuing romance and sexuality in and of itself! It might be our same path forging community that teaches culture how to understand the removal of sexuality from family building.
This doesn’t mean the romance will be completely gone– after all there’s nothing more powerful than the love you have for your children. However, there are worse things than having your pathway into parenthood be a journey that is well thought out, organized, and supported by a strong professional team as well as by an extended family. It might take a few additional steps to get there, and your journey through assisted conception/reproduction might not always feel romantic, but it will be a process entered into with consciousness and clarity!
So, Happy Valentine’s Day! While this day can often bring up different reactions for different people I encourage you to celebrate the love in your life as well as the love you might be searching for, planning for, or already be in the process of creating!
Third Party Reproduction LGBT Coordinator
Traci’s academic background is in Gender Studies with a focus in Sexuality and her career background is in counseling and diversity education. She believes in the strength of families of choice and is passionate about offering affirming options for egg donation and/or surrogacy to the LGBT community looking to grow their families.