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Help me get knocked up 2008-style: woman seeks info and advice on getting pregnant non-traditionally.
July 3, 2008 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Help me get knocked up 2008-style: woman seeks info and advice on getting pregnant non-traditionally.

Hey, so, the web is so big and the info is so vast that I turn to you guys to help me home in on what I need to find in order to knock myself up without a husband/partner/friend.

I'm looking for either your OWN experiences/advice/info (here or at clseace@gmail.com), or help finding stuff online.

Here's what I'd like help with:

- websites/forums on the web about the actual process of artificial insemination - the real nuts and bolts - step one, step two, step three, etc. I really don't know where to start (and I'm in Seattle if it helps).

- Info on costs of AI (the sperm, the doctor visit, etc - I am insured but my HMO doesn't offer this service so it may be totally out of pocket).

- advice on any ideas about how to go about this without a sperm bank involved and without a potential donor (in other words, finding someone to have sex with for this purpose). Craigslist? Seriously, I'd love to hear your ideas and warnings about advertising for someone to help me do this the old fashioned way without them being involved with the potential kid.

- Anything you'd like to share about your experiences and what knowledge you gained from either AI or having a "donor" with whom you worked flesh-to-flesh not test-tube-to-beaker.

This is broad, but I can't seem to find anything helpful right now online (I'm finding a lot of "i'm 15 and pregnate any guys still like girls with babby?").

If it helps: 38, single, unknown fertility status, never pregnant (and anonymous at clseace@gmail.com, I will respect your anonymity, too)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's not that nontraditional anymore possum.

You should try a specific pregnancy forum. I don't know the American specific ones, but in Australia there is birth.com and they have American and Canadian members. Lesbian families have very similar issues, so perhaps look in to one of their subsections.

Best of luck... hope that is of some help.
posted by taff at 9:02 PM on July 3, 2008


Check out this thread from the point of view of a potential sperm donor. You would definitely need to consult a lawyer to make sure the guy can't come back and claim paternity. (You may need to wait until after the baby is born before he can waive all his rights.) Similarly, there is the risk that the child (or you on behalf of the child) might claim child support. Anyway, you would need to find a local family law specialist - you can probably get a preliminary meeting to get an estimate of what would be involved and how much it would cost just for the legal fees.

An easy way to find out about AI is to just google on "sperm bank". I did this for local banks and found this one. Looks like it costs $500+ to the sperm bank plus whatever you have to pay your own doctor. They also give instructions on how to do the insemination at home.
posted by metahawk at 9:19 PM on July 3, 2008


I have very good friends, a lesbian couple, who conceived with the help of gayspermbank.com. There is a price list right on the site if you are curious about that. They got to look through a face book of donors and liked working with the folks at GSB. The sperm bank is a little unique in that it's NOT anonymous donors, you know who the donor is and are expected to maintain contact wiht them [though not familial type of contact]. Because that's the case, they are familiar with the legal issues involved in this sort of pregnancy arrangement. I would suggest calling them just to learn more about what the sperm bank angle of this would be if you went that way. They seem very approachable and helpful. My friends have a wonderful four year old son. If you'd like I can put you in touch with my friends if you wanted to ask more specific questions.
posted by jessamyn at 9:40 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seriously...it doesn't matter if your HMO doesn't cover it. GET A HEALTH PLAN THAT WILL. Sure you will pay a few hundred more dollars per month...BUT THATS WAY BETTER THAN PAYING FOR EXPENSIVE PROCEDURES OUT OF POCKET.

I always wonder about that. Why don't people up their insurance before doing something really expensive. I always hear "I can't afford the EXPENSIVE plan". It doesn't make sense. I'd much rather pay $300-500 more dollars per month for an expensive-ass PPO for a year ($3,600-$6,000 per year), rather than a $50,000 bill for something that follows me till the day I die.


As for finding a donor on CL...seriously? When I read Hunter S. Thompson, and he's talking about crazed LUNATICS or FREAKS...I see CLers at their computer posting and reading stuff...just to get laid ALL NIGHT LONG. Do you really want to advance their genes?

Even if you DO CL it...think about the kid. What if in 20 years he/she REALLY wants to know their father. You are pretty much eliminating that choice if you have anonymous sex.

Why not hook up with a friend you trust?

It seems as if you need to think this through a LOT more thoroughly...not just for YOU...but for the potential child.

Good luck...seriously.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:33 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The forums on this site (registration required) may be helpful. There are a number of women who write about their challenges in getting pregnant, including using various forms of AI.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:23 PM on July 3, 2008


I, too, would warn strongly against seeking a potential "father" via CL. This potentially spells all kinds of trouble--people tend to change their minds about parenthood/custody, even years after the fact.

"without them being involved with the potential kid."

Not possible. A father has a right to know about his kid, and after a year, two, or several, he may decide to exercise that right.

I would also warn against just having sex (with a friend, stranger, ex, whatever) and simply not telling the potential father of your intentions - it's not honest or fair (I know you did not suggest this approach at all, but because I've heard many male friends voice their strong fear about a "trap" situation (and who could blame them?), I felt it needed to be said within the context of the discussion.

I would, however, suggest OPENLY talking to some of the awesome men you know - a very good, longtime friend, an ex that you still like as a friend/get along with well, or someone else close to you who you think embodies some of the qualities you would like to see in your child. If you know the person really well (and are therefore much closer to the old-fashioned way than, say, AI or a sperm bank), AND if both of you are on the same page (I agree with Metahawk: consult a lawyer) regarding custody, it might be a healthy and happy option for you, because this is a person who will likely want to remain part of your life--and by proxy, your child's life--while respecting the boundaries of your agreement.

Also, have you considered adoption? I have many friends who were adopted, who absolutely worship their parents (and by parents, I mean their adoptive parents, who they automatically consider to be their PARENTS--the people who raised them and cared for them). Another possibility to consider.

However you decide to proceed, I wish you all the best and I hope you realize your dream of parenthood - kids are amazing. :)
posted by parkerama at 11:48 PM on July 3, 2008


States have varying rules about the legal issues surrounding donation. In some cases, a "medical transfer" of sperm is required in order for the donor to terminate parental rights (ie. you cannot have intercourse, or that person is deemed a "father") and in some cases, even with medical transfer, the state will not recognize a one-parent birth certificate if the donor is known. You need to consult with a lawyer to determine how to protect your rights, your child's rights and the donor's rights. The advantage of going with an unknown donor is that the legal situation is pretty straightforward. In some states, some sperm banks have what are called "willing to be known" donors, which, at least in California, would go into effect when the child turns 18.

For resources, the most well-known organization is Single Mothers by Choice, and there are a few other organizations as well. To your questions about how insemination works, most sperm banks explain that pretty well on their web sites. You'll probably also want to read some books like "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" to really understand the process.

Good luck!
posted by judith at 12:27 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


"without them being involved with the potential kid."

Not possible. A father has a right to know about his kid, and after a year, two, or several, he may decide to exercise that right.


A father, yes. Someone who is simply and only a sperm donor? No, not really. The law varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in real terms: if all you're doing is beating off in a cup, you are no more a father than the test tube is.

Please consider adoption. There are so, so many unwanted and broken children out there that need the love you want to give.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:17 AM on July 4, 2008


My son is gay and lives with his partner in an up-to now stable relationship. They were approached by a friend "Jill" who was 38 and wanted a donor. My son obliged and Jill now has a baby boy.

It was understood that my son was to have no further part in the "affair" (probably bad choice of words?) but I have seen a photo of him and the baby, where he holding the baby and a bottle.

I wonder where it will end and could there be tears on all sides later?
posted by lungtaworld at 5:24 AM on July 4, 2008


[comments removed - please do not turn this into a thread about adoption, thank you]
posted by jessamyn at 6:14 AM on July 4, 2008


advice on any ideas about how to go about this without a sperm bank involved and without a potential donor (in other words, finding someone to have sex with for this purpose). Craigslist? Seriously, I'd love to hear your ideas and warnings about advertising for someone to help me do this the old fashioned way without them being involved with the potential kid.

I wouldn't do this. Since you're talking about unprotected sex with someone interested in casual unprotected sex, you'd need a full blood work-up, and I wouldn't be happy about the lead-in time before HIV tests become effective.

Googling "Seattle sperm bank" pulls up stuff, but what you should really do is go to your HMO provided MD and ask for a referral directly to a sperm bank or to an infertility specialist. Since infertility is couples is frequently the male's problem, sperm sources are something that they know all about.

It's better for everyone to not meet them in person. You get a catalog and lots of data. When it's someone that you know, which is tempting to some people, all kinds of emotional stuff gets involved. Google around lesbian fertility, pregnancy, artificial insemination, sperm donor etc. The lesbian community has the most concentrated AI experiences; for most other people they're the only ones that they know.

I used to donate; I'm told by the people who work there that a great part of their "selection" is medical and graduate students who want the little bit of extra money (I got $25 twice a week, which is pretty good if you think of the hourly wage).

AI is very inexpensive; the expensive fertility treatment is IVF. It's literally sperm in a turkey baster.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:44 AM on July 4, 2008


I would, however, suggest OPENLY talking to some of the awesome men you know - a very good, longtime friend,

Be careful with this. We had a great guy for a donor, a really good friend whom we had known for years. Very shortly after we got pregnant, the shit hit the fan for him in some other way and he became such an incredible asshole that, in hindsight, we are glad we miscarried because at least now we don't ever have to see him again. Yes, that bad.

Because of this situation, when we do try again, we will NEVER go with a friend as known donor. Nothing could convince us.

Also, with a known donor, although you can fill out a donor contract (and we did, all legal-like), the courts are under no need to respect that contract. Simply put, you cannot bargain away the rights of a child. So, even if your friend is the best guy in the world and is sure he doesn't want anything to do with the kid, if that ever changes (or if his future partner ever convinces him, or his parents, or whatever - SO many things can happen!) your contract is out the window and you are screwed.

Save yourself the heartache and all the unknowns. Go for an unknown donor / AI.
posted by arcticwoman at 6:47 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd love to hear your ideas and warnings about advertising for someone to help me do this the old fashioned way without them being involved with the potential kid.

I see a lot of warnings here that the man involved might decide he wants to know his child, that it wouldn´t be possible to keep him from never being involved.

I think if you went on vacation and had a little fling, possibly with a different story about where you are from and what your name is if you really want to make yourself hard to find, that the man would have a difficult time tracking you down to even realize that he had a child, let alone go to court to assert his parental rights. The downside is that your child would never know their father, but if you are considering an anonymous donor I think the implications would be much the same. You would have to decide whether to take any photos of the man to save for your child. Of course there´s also the STD risk -- you would want to check into the exact statistics on this, and probably get tests for everything once you are pregnant, as there are several that pose a risk to the child.
posted by yohko at 7:04 AM on July 4, 2008


I think if you went on vacation and had a little fling...

Also keep in mind that even if all your bits are in perfect working order, you only have about a one in four chance of getting pregnant each cycle.* So, if you plan to do something like this, you better to prepare to spend a week on vacation in Tahiti every four weeks for several months.

Also, think long term. What do you want to tell your kid about their origins when they grow up? "I had some doctors help me make you because I wanted you so much" or "I slept with some guy I met over the internet. Well, a couple of some guys because the first one didn't take."

*I don't remember where I heard this stat, but I did a TON of research on fertility back in 06 for my own (mis)conception, and it was one of the things that was mentioned from various sources.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:21 AM on July 4, 2008


I have known three lesbian couples who had a child via donor. Two of them used a lesbian-friendly sperm bank in the Bay Area, the third couple found used a brother as the donor. In this last case, an actual legal document was drawn up stating that he had no parental rights/responsibilities; such a document would probably NOT hold up in court. This is the biggest stumbling block with using a known donor--not only is he always on the hook for child support, he may be able to become the custodial parent of the child down the road (say if his political/religious beliefs shift and he decides to "save" the child). A sperm bank is much safer and really not that expensive (I think it was less than $500/attempt in than mid-ninties).

If that is not covered by your HMO and sounds too expensive, you might want to reconsider. I can tell you that raising kids is a very costly proposition!
posted by OlderThanTOS at 9:00 AM on July 4, 2008


Also keep in mind that even if all your bits are in perfect working order, you only have about a one in four chance of getting pregnant each cycle.*

The advice given to heterosexual couples in our neck of the woods is that you don't have to even think about worrying about fertility issues until you've been trying for at least a year. So yes, the standard method of getting knocked up is not especially reliable.
posted by rodgerd at 5:55 PM on July 4, 2008


Have you asked your current OB/GYN? Many Women's Health offices do inseminations. It might be worth a shot.

If you have asked your OB, what did he/she say?
posted by drstein at 7:30 PM on July 4, 2008


I've read some articles recently about women traveling to India and other poorer countries for inexpensive fertility treatments. If you have to pay for it out-of-pocket, look into that. There are lots of foreign clinics in poorer countries with US-quality health care for bargain prices. (Not all clinics in the country, of course, but the top ones.)
posted by Jacqueline at 12:34 AM on July 5, 2008


if you plan to do something like this, you better to prepare to spend a week on vacation in Tahiti every four weeks for several months.

The OP wanted to follow this plan (not that I´m saying it´s what she should do, there are obviously pros and cons), I think she can probably manage to do it without going all the way to Tahiti. An hour drive for a weekend trip may well take her to a place where she is not known.
posted by yohko at 12:26 PM on July 6, 2008


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