This post is about being in a same-sex relationship and wanting to start a family…
I’ve had a rubbish few days. On Sunday, I spent the evening trying to hold back the tears. I was half way through some pyrography work, whilst drinking wine, when I received a text message and a Facebook message from a friend of mine.
This friend I’ve known since 2006, and we have become very close. At one point, I was told I was his soulmate, then years later seen like a little sister. A friend who would listen to be and care for me.
I’d always joke about wanting his “babies”, when in all seriousness, that would have been nice!
My Wife and I have wanted to start a family for some time now, and especially as I am currently off work and still having therapy, we felt that this would be the best time as I would not need to worry about work, and I would have support from professionals too. My friend, also a close friend of my Wife has agreed to be a donor for us. We just needed to discuss the legalities of such a decision.
We’d been looking at alternatives for a sperm donor, such as the sperm bank or websites which offer free or paid for sperm, but the cost of these are so pricey and simply not affordable for us especially when it isn’t guaranteed.
My GP is aware of us wanting to start a family and he sent a request to our local fertility clinic, but they don’t offer free IVF in our area, but they are happy to do the rest of the tests to see if, you know, it’s actually possible for me to have kids. (Pretty scary thought really!)
So all the while this has been happening, we decided to speak to our friend who’d said he would be happy to do it for us. We explained to him the cost of everything otherwise and he said that he’d like to because of his connection and affection towards me. We discussed with him what we knew, and then when it come to sorting it out, his only request was anonymity. This raised concerns for us, particularly myself in terms of my own mental health, I’d find it extremely stressful keeping such a huge secret away from a child asking questions when our friend is in the picture. I decided to explain why it would be impossible to remain anonymous, and it got overlooked.
After saying we’d been sorting things out, (I’d even contact solicitors, and written up a brief contract), I received the message, on Sunday…
He didn’t want to do it anymore.
This immediately tore my heart in two. We were so close to having everything ready, and suddenly dreams are shattered and I suddenly felt the immense loss of a friendship and trust.
I battled my way through the tears and tried to continue with my work. My Wife said he’d messaged us, and I said I knew but I wasn’t going to respond. She could see I was upset and my lack of talking was also an obvious sign that I was distressed.
We finished off the bottle of wine and I’d finished the work I was doing. I binged on an entire box of Roses chocolates and sank into deep depression.
I had to get myself out of it, and the only way I was able to, was to relieve myself of it with anger. I chose to respond, and of course without thinking about his feelings was harsh in replying and agreed with him saying that he was a hypocrite by saying he never wants kids, yet his girlfriend has a child (different father).
So, what was I supposed to think?
I knew this could potentially make things worse with our other friend, who just so happens to be his girlfriend. I sent her the messages of what he’d said about not wanting a family. I’d also been honest about how I was feeling. She was saddened that this decision had happened and swears she didn’t know anything about it, which I do believe, but it is hard for me to get her to see that being with him isn’t the right thing if he doesn’t see family, because that’s technically what they are!
My Wife and I tried to explain to him that the anonymity would have been impossible but that doesn’t mean he’d have anything to do with the kid. But it was being overlooked and it was as if he stopped listening to us.
I spent Monday in tears at my 1-1 appointment with my Care Co-Ordinator. I’d discussed the situation with her. I said that it would be difficult to discuss this issue in a therapeutic group, and that I felt that 1-1 therapy would be best for me in the future (I’ve been having doubts about the other group for some time now.)
My Wife also tried to make me understand that just because this is the decision doesn’t mean to say it’s the end of the world, it’s over, its never going to happen, because there are ways around this. It just might the longer.
And this is where I get angry and frustrated. There are so many people out there who don’t deserve to have children, there are so many in foster care and up for adoption. I’d love to adopt, but our housing wouldn’t be suitable for a child, and unless it all happens “naturally”, then we won’t be entitled for a bigger place. Plus, the adoption scheme takes forever, having mental and physical health may prove difficult (not saying I’m completely uncontrollable!) and then there’s the whole same-sex debate that we have to tackle.
Why is is so hard for same-sex couples to start a family? It shouldn’t be this way.
On Tuesday I tried to discuss the situation, cryptically in the group. I didn’t want to cry, and I didn’t because of that, although I did cry most likely because of the heightened emotions. And then yesterday (Wednesday), I decided that having since calmed down and had a chance to reflect on the situation, I needed to work out where the friendship was going. Was it make or break?
I wrote out a heartfelt letter, which I’d like to share with you so you can understand the situation more clearly:
I felt it was best to send you a message a few days after, now that things have “calmed down”. It is understandable that in the moment of hearing this change of heart, that emotions were high from both parties.
I’d like to try and clear the situation up by trying to explain to you what should’ve happened, as I felt that you were shutting us down from explaining what should be a simple discussion.
I understand and appreciate the difficulty in your decision. I would like to say that those who offer as a donor are often those who just want to help others and don’t want to have kids of their own. This is what would be the case with us, if you were to have gone ahead with helping us.
At no point would you have anything do do with the child. As we would be doing it by ourselves, you wouldn’t even be on the birth certificate and it would be impossible to ask anything of you, which we never would do anyway.
The anonymity in this day and age is quite impossible. There are so many children born via donor trying to chase biological donors to piece family history, medical history etc together and it can sometimes affect their own mental health with them not knowing.
If you weren’t in our life as a friend, then it would be easier to keep distance and the secrecy of the child. However, by being a friend it would be hard on all of us to keep the donor situation a secret – something which should have been clear from the very beginning.
If you were to go ahead, we simply would have wanted to say that a friend had kindly helped us out, and that they can find out when they are older who, and then it would have been appreciated if at an appropriate age they could ask questions which they should rightfully know; and even just to thank the donor.
By being a donor, you would have been giving something incredibly special, a gift which is invaluable and would have actually made our friendships and bond much stronger.
Your message about not being bothered about the legalities of the situation, because as far as you saw it was that my wife and I would be the parents – IS the case. You would not, and never would have existed in that context, which I think you seem to be misunderstanding by this anonymity situation. Just because it would be “known” does not make you a parent. As as stated above, it wouldn’t be told who until they were older, and know a special friend gave us a special gift – But only when they started asking questions. It’s not like we would be shouting from rooftops about you being the “father”, because you wouldn’t be.
Your comment as well about handing the child back, and being a hypocrite by being with your girlfriend– Well, by handing her child back, we presume that things between you both won’t be serious because, although you say about it concerning ‘family’ and no plans, well, that means no future for the relationship because you wouldn’t be able to move in together, and what if, just what if your girlfriend fell pregnant? What would you do? You cannot hand a child back to their mother if you are with them. Whereas, if you were donating then you wouldn’t be having the child at all, because the child is mine and my wife’s responsibility. We wouldn’t be asking anything of you.
I am really hurt by your comment “You’re right, I never WANTED to help but I was GOING to help because of my connection to and affection for you. When I realised the only condition I requested was going to be ignored no matter what that was when I realised that I could no longer help. I know you have a low opinion of me and I’ll have to live with that. Don’t for one moment think that I’m happy about any of this situation and it’s ramifications to our friendship.”
This is because – 1. Stating you never WANTED to in capital letters shows just how much you never wanted this to happen in the first place, and secondly, saying GOING to help because, makes it sound like we were forcing you to. This was most definitely not the case. 2. The only condition you requested had not been ignored. In fact we had tried to explain to you why the option of anonymity was impossible, but for some reason, again you seem to assume that means you would have to be a father – which again, you would not have any right because you would not be on the birth certificate and there would be no legal attachment whatsoever. The reasons for it being impossible are because of the friendship. We would know about it, but it doesn’t mean the rest of the world need to know about it. I think you unfortunately weren’t willing to listen to our reasoning thus bypassing the fact we were trying to respect your wishes, and explaining to you that it simply wouldn’t be possible.
For the final 2 sentences of that message – I’d just like to say that my opinion of you isn’t low. I, in fact am hurt that you could not be honest and straight with us in the first place by saying that you never wanted to have kids, and then we could explain that you wouldn’t be. It would be me and my wife who would be. If we were a same-sex couple, it is without a doubt that we’d have had a kid by now. What has made the friendship complicated now is where to go from here, and that is most likely going to be made with the decision after your response to this.
If I was to be truly honest, I’d wish you would reconsider. However, I feel that there would be repercussions of this because I fear you will bail out again. We were preparing ourselves for the situation, and explaining to you all we knew. As you know by previous messages, I’d even been contacting people to find out the legal side of things to ensure that things could not get messy. We would be simply saying thank you for the rest of our lives. I just wish you hadn’t given us false hope when you knew deep down you couldn’t do it. We now need to find the funding to had a child which is something we cannot afford outright, and we also wanted to do it whilst I’m still at the “appropriate” age before it becomes more difficult. I wish you could understand how incredibly difficult it is for same-sex couples to start a family. It is something we never would have taken for granted and the friendship, as I have already said, would be unbreakable to to the bond all three of us would have.
Anyway, I think I have said all I wanted to say for now. I guess I’ll wait for your reply to decide the future of our friendship.
And that was it. I have yet to hear a response, but I’m scared as to what it might be. Was I fair in my message? What should I have said differently?
I knew right from the beginning it seemed too good to be true… And as the heading of this post goes – it probably is…
And because it was, it broke my heart and destroyed me inside. I will find a way of mending these broken pieces. I cannot hold it all together forever. I’m not that strong. If there’s an update on this, I’ll let you know – But I have a feeling I won’t get a response for a while…
Thank you for reading this one. I know it’s a difficult read, particularly if you or anyone have also had difficulties conceiving or starting a family.
Speak again soon,