Alana’s husband had never donated sperm before. Although the mother of three had contemplated egg donation from time-to-time, her husband had never considered the opportunity to help a family in need, both before atheir marriage and after. But when the couple’s friends Jennie and Susan watched yet another sperm donor fall through, Alana and her husband decided to present them with an offer.
Two years ago after Alana welcomed her third child, Jennie and Susan were approaching the year mark of a struggle to get pregnant. Many legal barriers prevented the aspiring mommies from even getting married, let alone becoming parents — a predicament that deeply touched both Alana and her husband.
After consulting a lawyer on waiving all parental rights, the couple approached Jennie and Susan with the chance to use “their” sperm.
“They were surprised and grateful because the area where we lived is very conservative and most of our mutual friends were either neutral to their struggle or privately against it,” Alana remembers.
The ladies didn’t just hop at any sperm sample though. Only after some questioning about her husband’s health and family medical history — which included no major genetic diseases — did the two mommies greenlight the idea. An anonymous sperm donor had never appealed to the couple and the idea of reaching out to friends who shared similar values greatly interested them. A sparkling family medical history and Alana’s three healthy children ultimately had the two women consenting to expand their family with her husband’s sperm.
She describes Jennie and her partner as being “very open” to both Alana and her family having limited involvement with the hypothetical child, hashing out potential visits and the routine sending of photos.
The “crunchy, natural lifestyle” ladies were adamant about attempting a more “organic” method for conception before going the IVF route. Upon removing heterosexual sex from the table, the soon-to-be mommies decided on at-home insemination and asked Alana’s husband to deposit a sperm sample in a sterile cup at their home. Within the next hour, the couple used a sterile medical syringe, similar to what is used with infants, inside Susan. Although the couple was prepared to go through five rounds of at-home insemination before trying more conventional approaches, the mothers conceived on their second round — a rarity for their preferred method. Susan and Jennie eventually welcomed a baby girl.
Alana and her family ended up moving about 1000 miles away for her husband’s job, but they have met the child once with intentions of meeting her again. Although the little girl is still too young at present to comprehend how she came into the world, her mothers intend on being truthful with her.
“Jennie and Susan are two of the most loving, awesome people we have ever met and if anyone deserved to be mothers it was them. My husband and I both feel honoured and touched that we could be a part of helping them realize their dream of being parents,” Alana tells Mommyish. “But in the end they are her mommies and my husband and I are just family friends.”
Despite the geographical distance and waived parental rights, Alana maintains that she and her husband very much consider Jennie, Susan, and their daughter as family and hope to continue a relationship with them.
“I think the physical distance between our families has changed the original dynamic we had envisioned but we all plan on being completely honest with our kids and letting them figure out their relationships as they get older,” she says.
Alana’s eldest daughter, aged nine, is already very much aware of the situation, although still a bit hazy on the details. Having both an “open” family and a gay aunt has already revealed to Alana that families can assume many forms.
But amidst all the curiosities and questions that Alana and her husband receive about their decision, the inquiry posed most often is about a potential second baby.
“It has been discussed but right now they don’t plan on having another child,” the mother answers.