Co-parenting

What No One Tells Gay Men About Sperm Donation

No one tells you how difficult it is to aim your ejaculate. You will be sitting there in one of the strange jerk-off rooms at a donation clinic, and you will have to get the cup (a small, plastic cup like a urine sample container) in the right position and squirt in a precise yet still orgasmic way that you probably have never done before. It’s not easy at all — unless, maybe, you have done porn. They will probably have a lounge chair set up for you. Often this chair will be covered in butcher paper. I found that very un-sexy, and discovered the best position for me was to jerk off while on my knees, holding the cup below me like I was asking for change on the street. Maybe this will work for you too.

No one tells you that these donation clinics you go to will have no gay porn. That’s because gay men aren’t really allowed in these facilities (more on that later). You will be relying on old wrinkled Hustler magazines and porn DVDs with names like “Sorority Scandals” and “My Boss’s Daughter.” The porn offerings will often have very long “lesbian” scenes of women eating each other out. Other scenes will consist of a woman with a tongue piercing and thick contoured makeup pretending she is a teenager or in a college dorm getting fucked by a douchebag straight porn actor who often has a ponytail and wears black front-pleated pants.

Hopefully, like me, you will learn to like straight porn. Straight porn guys turn me on because they are always horny and seem less perfect than those groomed, perfect geldings that trot through gay male porn. You see gay porn stars in Provincetown or on Instagram, swaggering around, stroking their eight-packs, beaming out their beauty like you will never stand a chance. Straight porn actors are, ironically, more attainable, and that makes them hot.

No one tells you that you can, of course, smuggle in your own porn into these clinics. But you should make it a DVD (and have a computer with a DVD player) or you will have to ask the staff for the WiFi code.  I couldn’t bring myself to do that because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. The reason is (no one tells you this) that you and the female friend you are trying to make a baby with need to portray yourselves as “active sexual partners” because you are doing “fresh” insemination as opposed to frozen, and fresh insemination can only happen (at least in clinics in NYC) between “active sexual partners,” because, I guess, that way the clinic can’t be sued if you give your active sexual partner an STD.

All this is to say that a gay man and a lesbian coming here to have a baby is not really condoned. Gay men aren’t really allowed in clinics. Sperm donation, essentially, is inherently homophobic.

No one in these clinics really monitors this, though. They are too busy and have seen too many other people that day to care about you and your personal situation. Still, you and your lesbian friend will feel like you don’t want to make waves and, when you enter the clinics, you will pretend you are active sexual partners just to make sure you don’t stand out.

No one tells you how, when delivering your sperm in the little cup to the lab downstairs from your jerk-off room, that you will feel this sense of accomplishment. And when your friend goes in to get the sperm squirted up her, (the woman you are doing this for who you love and want to make happy, even though you are gay and she is a lesbian and she and her girlfriend will be the parents and you will not be a primary parent) the sperm technician (or whatever you call them) told her, “This is an amazing sample! Great motility! A dense concentration!” and you will feel like a stud, like you are one of the gladiators in “300.”

No one tells you that before you donate, you will make rules for yourself, like “Okay, I won’t have any sex while I am donating.” If it doesn’t take the first time, after a month or two this rule will change to, “Okay I won’t have any sexual intercourse in my mouth or butt” and then after three months it will change to “Okay no butt sex,” which will then, after five months, change to “Okay butt sex but of COURSE with a condom and no orgasming during penetration!”

No one tells you that you will re-examine your sex life. You will look into how guilty you feel all the time for the gay sex you are having. And you will feel horrible about yourself, like the diseased lowlife that mainstream culture views gay men (who aren’t shiny and married and monogamous). You will begin to realize how much you identify with your sperm.

No one tells you that sperm, that stuff you have seen come out of you hundreds of times (oh god maybe thousands?) suddenly becomes more an essence of you than you had thought. It becomes a definition of your life — your virility, your health, your diet. For us single sexually active gay men, it also becomes the sexual secret you have been hiding, the part of you that you keep hidden from everyone else. Because when your sperm goes into the vagina of your lesbian friend, no matter how safe and careful you may have been, you think: Oh god, what if I gave her syphilis?

No one tells you how much of an emotional journey this act of donating sperm will be. You will meet some guys who just donate and move on with their lives and you are impressed by their ability to separate themselves from the child they created. Some even have families of their own. But you, you single gay male who never ever thought you would be a father or parent or child-bearer of any kind, will feel things you haven’t even felt before, or allowed yourself to feel before. And, if you aren’t the primary parent, you will even begin to question: how much am I allowed to feel?

No one tells you that after all this, when your friend is pregnant and you “come out” to your friends as a sperm donor, countless people will ask you these two questions: “Are you going to be involved?” and “What are you going to call yourself?” You will have your answers for these relentless questions, but, gradually, you won’t feel like you need to define who you are to other people. If you are lucky enough to have a very tough, cool sister in law, you will be put at ease by her when she said, “Who the fuck cares what you call yourself? You are Mike! And you are an awesome “Mike,” and that’s enough!”

No one tells you any of this. So, I am telling you this now. I hope it helps make your donation adventure easier.

Illustration by Braulio Amado


Read More About Known Donors:

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So far in our podcast, we mostly interviewed dads who had their kids either through surrogacy or adoption. But there are other ways in which you can become dads. In this week's episode we look at two ways that are often overlooked: Known Sperm Donor, and Co-Parenting.

David Dodge, managing editor at GaysWithKids.com is a father of two children, who he had together with a lesbian couple. Though he has no legal rights with his daughter and son, they still call him 'papa,' and his parents go to visit their grand children even when he's not around. In our interview, David sheds light on being a Known Sperm Donor.

In our second interview we had Bill Delaney and husband J.R. Parish on a Skype call from San Francisco. They are co-parents of two girls together with a lesbian couple. In the call they discuss this carefully planned (and amazing!) arrangement.



During the episode, we count the ways* in which gay men can currently become dads:
1. Adoption
2. Surrogacy
3. Men who come out of straight partnerships and marriages
4. Sperm Donation (known or unknown donor)
5. Co-parenting




*If you would like to add to or comment on this list please write to us at hello@daddysqr.com

Our Family Coalition

Our Family Coalition (OFC) is based in the Bay Area but is the largest state-wide advocacy organization for LGBT families. They've contributed to varying degrees to everything from marriage equality court cases, to getting LGBT inclusive curriculum added to CA's public school system, to achieving the multi-parent legal recognition that was mentioned on our interview with Bill and J.R.

Episode Credits:

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen

Guests: David Dodge GaysWithKids.com, Bill Delaney & J.R. Parish
Music: Hercules & Love Affair, "Leonora" buy here
Articles referred to in this episode:
Putting the 'Known' in Known Sperm Donor (David Dodge, The New York Times)
The Known Sperm Donor (GaysWithKids.com)
Top Three Benefits of 'Intentional Co-Parenting' for Gay Men & Couples (Bill Delaney, GaysWithKids.com)
11 Steps Gay Men Should Take Before Co-Parenting With a Female Friend (Bill Delaney, GaysWithKids.com)





For any questions, comments or advise, please do not hesitate to contact us at hello@daddysqr.com or on Twitter @yanirdekel

J.R. and Bill with their daughters

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The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

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Photo credit: https://eliseabigail.com/

Nate Wormington had lived much of his life not being true to himself. He had a beautiful baby girl, was married to his best friend and soul mate, but there was still no doubt in his mind that he was gay. Still, he chose to stay in a heterosexual relationship lifestyle, and it was making him incredibly depressed.

"For some that may be a sustainable life, but denying a core value of myself began to take its toll on me, and I had to own up to my own truth to salvage my life and my relationships with the people I love." Despite the difficulties in doing so, he eventually, he came out. Today, he's co-parenting with his ex-wife and they're still best friends. This November, he's getting married to the man of his dreams. But most importantly, he's proud to be a positive example to his 7-year-old daughter.

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I often joke that the best thing about co-parenting is that we can have both kids and a life. It's certainly easier to maintain a non-child-centric social life with scheduled child-free days, but that is the least of the benefits of sharing parenting responsibilities.

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This Gay Couple Was Inspired to Become Foster Dads Thanks to the Show "The Fosters"

Matthew and Brian say they used to feel like "unicorns" as gay foster dads. They're happy to see more LGBTQ couples take the plunge into the foster system.

Matthew Hamparian and his husband Brian Lawrence have been together for over 18 years and live in Columbus, Ohio. "We had talked about children for a long time," shared Matthew. They were inspired by the show "The Fosters," and watched it regularly as one of the staffers of the show was a friend of Brian's. In one of the episodes, Matthew remembers a conversation between a foster child and the biological child of his foster parents. The foster child asks if he was okay with the fact that he had to share his home with foster siblings. He responds that he is okay with it, because he and his family have enough of everything.

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Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Learn How These Dads Used Social Media to Find Their Surrogate

In the latest "Broadway Husbands" vlog, Bret and Stephen discuss the rather unconventional way in which they found their surrogate: through a Facebook group.

In this, the Broadway Husbands' sixth video, Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna discuss the rather unprecedented process they went through to find their surrogate. The lucky couple also chat about winning an "Intended Parents" competition, which granted them the free services of a surrogacy agency who is now helping guide them (and their new surrogate!) on their journey.

In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

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Gay Single Dads Defend Andy Cohen's Right to Be on Grindr

After the Internet rushed to judge Andy Cohen for signing onto Grindr a couple of weeks after welcoming his newborn son home, fellow single gay dads rushed to his defense.

Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Well, suffice it to say that this judgment from people who are presumably not single gay dads of Andy Cohen certainly struck a nerve with our gay dad audience! We received well over 100 comments on this post on Facebook, the vast majority of them coming to Cohen's defense. We caught up with two fellow single gay dads to find out why the story struck a nerve.

"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


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