What do children need above all? Exactly, a loving upbringing. And it doesn’t matter whether the child is raised by two women, two men or a man and a woman. The American study conducted since 1986 proves exactly what rainbow flags and demos have been proclaiming for years: there are no significant differences between the development of children from homosexual or heterosexual families. A free pass to start a rainbow family? Unfortunately, not by a long shot. Despite scientific proofs and artificial insemination, homosexual couples have a hard time having a child..
Children for all?
Although the adoption regulations for homosexual couples have been relaxed since October 1, 2017, with the “Marriage for All”, authorities and hospitals are often unconcerned about the desire for children. Thus, there are hardly any practices that perform artificial insemination for lesbians. And even if gay partners are allowed to adopt a child together nowadays, the authorities prefer to choose a heterosexual couple. Here it becomes clear, a child with same-sex parents has only one disadvantage: discrimination. And this is obviously a problem that society has to work on, not the homosexual couple.
High costs, psychological ordeals and external hostility: Many gay or lesbian couples have to put up with all this on their way to having a child. Nevertheless, every second married gay couple has plans to have children. But to what extent is it even possible to have a child?
Artificial insemination: Insemination (IUI)
Insemination, also called sperm transfer, is a method of artificial insemination. Sperm is injected into the woman’s uterus using a syringe. Normally, this procedure takes place in a fertility clinic, but since homosexual couples are often not approved for the treatment, we show you here how it can also be done quite simply at home.
Lesbian Couples: Home Insemination
To conceive a child, female and male sex is required; however, sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is not.
In home insemination, the woman inserts sperm into her uterus. This can be done either with a plastic syringe or with an insemination cap. Since insemination caps are relatively expensive, a menstrual cup can simply be used instead. It has the same shape and works just as well as the cap. Both are filled with semen, folded at the top and inserted into the vagina up to the cervix. Now the cup returns to its original shape and sucks on the cervix. The sperm is thus directly in place.
Who donates the sperm?
Wait a minute, sperm? Of course, there is no magic way for lesbian couples to produce it. That’s why they have to rely on a sperm donor, and therefore on the donor’s genetic material. If you are planning to perform home insemination, this is a question that will keep you busy for a longer time.
On the one hand, there is the possibility of finding a personal sperm donor. However, this is a challenge because a good friend is often too close to you to give up any claim to the child or feels obligated to his or her own family.
Biological father and additional parent?
Often gay men team up with a lesbian couple to fulfill their desire to have children. However, if they are single, they often want to become part of the family themselves and raise the child together with the women, called co-parenting. This may be difficult for you to imagine if you want to have a child as a couple.
Because home insemination is done without medical assistance, you will need to work out issues about child support and father-child relationships privately. The agreement between the sperm donor and you is therefore based on trust alone. You must be able to rely on the person. In addition, you should ask yourself: To what extent do we want the biological father to participate in the upbringing? Do we want the child to have contact with his biological father?
Anonymous sperm donation
If you answer “no” to both questions, a sperm bank is probably the right option for you. This may sound quite bizarre and scary to some at first, but it is a great way to get closer to having a child. Sperm banks offer clear rules for contact between the child and the father and guarantee infection-free, high-quality sperm. The sperm bank collects the donor’s data. From the age of 16, the child has the possibility to contact the donor. Anonymity is usually maintained between the expectant mothers and the donor.
How does sperm donation work?
But how does sperm donation work? After you have decided on a donor, usually via the Internet, you arrange a meeting on the day of the planned insemination. The timing is important because the sperm must still be fresh when it is introduced. The meeting place can be your home or a hotel. There you should offer the donor a relaxed atmosphere so that he can masturbate in peace. He can squirt the sperm into a glass or plastic cup. After you have said goodbye to the donor, the actual insemination can begin.
Two Women, One Mother
However, there is one question you should have clarified in advance: Who will carry the child? This decision is so important because the pregnant woman usually also takes on the role of mother. She breastfeeds the child and will probably also develop a closer bond with the baby in the beginning. The other of the two of you is thus assigned the father role. This may create a competitive situation with the donor, or you may be jealous of the bond that mother and baby have formed through pregnancy and birth. You should discuss and clarify this beforehand. For some couples the mother is clear in advance, for others it is a big challenge.
Home insemination procedure
Insemination must take place when the mother is fertile. Therefore, before the procedure you must observe the cycle and determine the ovulation exactly. Once you have the sperm on the right date, all you have to do is insert the menstrual cup or the syringe. Even if all this doesn’t sound romantic, it should be a nice, sexually exciting event. First, you’re about to take a crucial step in your relationship. And secondly, the more stimulated the future pregnant woman is, the higher the chance of fertilization. When aroused or even having an orgasm, the sperm gets into the egg more easily.
Therefore, it is best to stimulate your partner after or during insertion. This way, the moment will be especially memorable for you and you can actively participate in the pregnancy.
Like heterosexual couples, you must expect that it will not work immediately and may even require several attempts. Because of the effort involved, it can be quite nerve-wracking, but the work will certainly pay off….
Gay couples: CO parenthood.
There is no possibility for gay couples to jointly father a child with their own genetic material. Surrogacy is prohibited by law in Germany. However, the so-called queer family offers a way out. Together with a lesbian couple, a child can be conceived through home insemination. Sometimes a single lesbian woman can be found who is open to starting a family. This should not be confused with a love triangle. Here, too, the child is conceived by insemination in which one of the men initially acts only as a sperm donor. On the basis of mutual agreement, a joint upbringing follows afterwards. The difference to a rainbow family is that in a queer family all family members, including the sperm donors, are homosexual.
The concept of the “Queerfamily” is practiced in Berlin by an initiative for gays and lesbians. As more and more homosexual couples want to have children, the idea is now spreading nationwide. If this is an option for you/you, you can meet like-minded people via “www.queerfamily.de” and possibly also the right fathers/mothers for your future baby.
Queerfamilies cannot fall back on old role models. It is not yet automatically clear who will carry the child, who will pay child support and much more. In addition, the child may have four parents who all want to be involved in decisions. Therefore, many things need to be clarified in advance and there should be a certain sympathy between the joint parents. So far, this social construct has proven itself and who knows, maybe one day it will be as commonplace as a mother-father-child family.
For lesbian couples there is even a medical possibility to actively participate in pregnancy together: The ROPA method. First, the eggs of one woman are removed and fertilized in the laboratory with a donor sperm. This is similar to in vitro fertilization, which is also used in Germany for heterosexual couples. Afterwards, however, the eggs are not reinserted into the biological mother, but into her partner. In this way, both contribute a part to the pregnancy: One partner her genetic information, the other the birth.
In Germany, however, the ROPA method is prohibited due to strict legislation. Those who wish to fulfill their desire to have a child with the help of the ROPA method must travel to other European countries, such as Spain, to do so. However, even here there is no guarantee of success, which is why the whole thing can be quite expensive.
Become foster parents
When it comes to adoption, homosexual couples often have a hard time getting through the selection process, but they are in high demand as foster families. The reason for this? Foster families have been urgently sought after in Germany for years. The difference to adoption is that the children maintain contact with their parents. The birth parents continue to make major decisions for their children and can sometimes even “reclaim” them. This makes it difficult for homosexual couples to establish a true parent-child relationship. In addition, most foster children come from difficult family homes, making parenting challenging.
But the most annoying thing is that the child can only be taken into the foster family after many applications, appointments with authorities and meetings with the biological parents. So behind this kind of family formation is a lot of patience and a lot of paperwork.
Adoption is often difficult, but not impossible. When gay couples apply for adoption at the youth welfare office, they are usually rejected. The fear of this unknown family form is too great, and since there are only a few children up for adoption anyway, they prefer to choose the classic straight family. The situation is different when heterosexual couples adopt children from abroad. However, this procedure is quite expensive: After registration with an international adoption agency, the adoption procedure in the child’s home country must first be completed in court. This usually takes several weeks. Back in Germany, another adoption procedure must be gone through, and only then are both partners legally recognized parents. Costs for lawyers, flights and accommodation must be borne by the parents themselves.
If one of the partners brings a child from the old relationship, there is also the possibility to adopt it. However, this must be done with the consent of the natural mother/father and may not be carried out until eight weeks after the birth of the child.
Criticism of the rainbow family
A few years ago, coming out meant refusing to have children. But due to the mature medical possibilities, more and more homosexual couples are starting a family. Unfortunately, society still turns its back on them. Many people are skeptical of rainbow families because it is something unknown, untested. But the accusations that children need a mother and a father have not been confirmed. The rumor that all children from homosexual families have no choice but to become gay or lesbian has also been proven false. Just as many children from straight families become homosexual as from same-sex families.
It is therefore important that these stereotypes are cleared up. We have long lived in a time in which family is much more than father-mother-child. From patchwork to single parenthood, it’s all here. And in “classic families” things are at least as chaotic as in rainbow families. At the end of the day, it’s all just people trying to be happy.
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