I never wanted kids…until I met my wife. Lindsey has been the only person I’ve been with who I could envision building a family with. Little did I know, this would prove to be a struggle for us. We began trying to conceive in 2019. We chose a sperm donor from a sperm bank- someone with Lindsey’s physical characteristics because I want to carry- and with extensive genetic testing and a healthy family medical history. When we began the process of choosing our donor, I was weirded out- is this Gattaca? But, once you see the price tag (around $900/vial), you don’t feel so bad about getting picky. We’ve now gone through three different donors in our process.
We began with at home IUIs with a midwife. I tracked my cycle using basal body temperature testing and ovulation test strips. We did 5 cycles and 6 IUIs at home with no success. At that point, I needed a break. The heartbreak of negative test after negative test became too much. About 6 months later, we found our fertility clinic and began medicated IUIs with clomid. Our second cycle, we finally got a positive test. But, I was naive to think that once we got that positive test, the stress and anxiety we’ve been holding for the past year+ would just melt away. That was what we were waiting for, after all-the positive test. We’d seen so many negatives. But, when the HCG numbers started low, were increasing but not at the rate they should, and test after test was still positive, but not where it should be…we were told to be “cautiously optimistic” then, eventually, that it didn’t look good- it was *agonizing.* We didn’t get to celebrate. We didn’t get to feel excited. Eventually, we were told that the pregnancy probably wasn’t viable. A blood test later put it on paper, and our first positive test, wasn’t. We were devastated, heartbroken, exhausted, and really, really sad. This miscarriage ended up being quite a pain, literally and figuratively…but after a couple months of medications, procedures, and blood tests, we were given the go ahead to try again. Our third IUI was also unsuccessful. We have decided to make the switch to Letrozole and try again. After the next IUI, we’ll regroup with our fertility team and discuss our next steps, possibly moving on to IVF.
This is not where I envisioned our journey leading. But the struggle has brought so much about queer fertility to light for me. It’s become something I write about, do guest spots on podcasts about, and will continue to advocate for long after our journey is done. There is very little queer and same sex representation in fertility literature and research. You’ll mostly find success rates and other information for IUI & IVF for women in heterosexual relationships experiencing infertility. Research leads to knowledge and with knowledge comes advocacy and with advocacy can come changes and possible laws and legislation that can help queer folks with the cost and burden that creating a family can bear. The extreme financial burden that falls on queer families and the lack of a federal fertility insurance mandate with LGBTQ+ inclusive language is something we must fight to change in the United States and has become a passion that runs parallel to our own journey to Baby Palmer.
My name is Tracy and my wife is Lindsey. We have two dogs and 3 chickens. We live in Portland, Oregon where fertility insurance is not mandated, and we have paid out of pocket for 100% of our fertility procedures. We don’t have a baby yet. But we will get there. And, in the meantime we hold hope. Hope for us and hope for the other queer families fighting for their babies.