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:

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

Ever Consider Having Kids With a Female Friend? This Single Gay Dad Says It Was His "Greatest Decision"

Jeffrey Walker had two children with a female friend in what he calls a "leap of faith." He doesn't regret a thing.

Meet Jeffrey Walker, a 56-year-old Communications Director for a large nonprofit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Over a decade ago, he made the "greatest decision ever" and became a proud single dad to two incredible daughters through an intentional co-parenting arrangement. Here's his story.

Keep reading... Show less

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

Gay Dad Life

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

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out.

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.

Keep reading... Show less

'Life Is Amazing': Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Recently Grew!

Help us congratulate gay dads on their recent births and adoptions last month!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded in the last month or so a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

We Gained a Son Through Foster Care — He Didn't Lose his Family

Foster-adopt expert Trey Rabun writes a moving essay about his own experiences as a parent in the foster care system.

My husband, Phil, and I talked about having children since out first date over 11 years ago. Like many other gay dads, we waited to start the journey to become parents until we felt secure with our careers, finances, and home life. This meant we didn't start the partnering journey until 2016 when we were eight years into our relationship.

When we first met, I was completing my graduate studies in social work and subsequently started a career working in foster care and adoption. This made our decision to pursue foster care-adoption as our path to parenthood a fairly easy one. In fact, I can't recall us discussing other avenues to parenthood, but I'm sure we briefly discussed them before solidifying our decision to become foster parents.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

In the Philly Area? Attend 'Family Pride' On October 5th!

Philadelphia Family Pride is hosting their 10th Annual "Family Matters" Conference on October 5th for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, and their kids!

Guest post by Stephanie Haynes, the executive director of Philadelphia Family Pride

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, Philadelphia Family Pride will hold their 10th Annual Family Matters Conference from 9am to 3:30pm for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and their kids of all ages at the University of the Sciences in West Philadelphia. The theme this year is "Telling Our Stories." Registration is now open!

In an interactive keynote, Anndee Hochman, author of the Philadelphia Inquirer's weekly "Parent Trip" column, will share highlights from her work as a journalist and memoirist. She'll invite conversation about the stories that shape us—what tales do we share? who does the telling? who is left out?—and how those stories, added up, are changing the world. Read her bio.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Adoption

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for Your Home Study

Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network lists the 5 things gay men should keep in mind when preparing for your home study

The homestudy is the first step in the adoption process. In every state the homestudy is done a little differently, but all of them have the some combo of paperwork, trainings, and interviews. The homestudy can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months to complete. Without it, you cannot adopt.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse