A Lesbian Walks into a Bar

By: Lex Jacobson

When the lab at my fertility clinic had to close down suddenly for contamination reasons, I realized how little control I have over the process of conceiving a child. After hanging up the phone and getting over my initial shock that we would not be able to inseminate this month, and that we may have to go somewhere else next month, it hit me just how much I have to rely on other people – and other institutions – to make my dream come true.

Yes, I could get sleep with some random dude that I meet in a bar to get pregnant. This is what straight people like to tell me anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “You know you can get that stuff for free?” or “Why don’t you just get drunk and sleep with a hot guy… it would be so much easier.”

Sure. Easy. But also incredibly hard. If the tables were turned and it were my partner that wanted to carry, I can’t say I’d be super supportive of her sleeping with a man just for this purpose. Not because I have some intense fear that she’ll enjoy it and leave me for a man, but because she’s MY wife. Why should I have to share her? Also, we’re lesbians for a reason: We are not attracted to men. And after thinking I was straight for years and sleeping with a good amount of men and not enjoying one moment of it, why would I want that again? For me or my wife? Even if we were both in the room for the attempted conception, I can’t think of anything less appealing. Unfortunately, we also don’t feel comfortable asking any of our male friends to be known donors.

Instead, we choose the mundane route of staring up at a hospital ceiling with a speculum and a much-too-long syringe to inseminate me with sperm from someone I have never met, and may never meet, if my child chooses not to find him when they are older (if I’m even still around). Instead, we pay ridiculous amounts of money for something that we could technically do ourselves, but we would rather be out of pocket and safe about than playing Russian roulette.

I have nothing against people who choose the one-night-stand route, but it’s just not something that would work for us. However, it is incredibly frustrating that because our clinic had to close down for the next few months, there really isn’t a hell of a lot that we can do ourselves except wait until they open again. They prioritized IVF patients, so we were told there was nothing they could do to make our IUI happen this month.

I wish so much that we could have gone to the clinic with our own nitrogen tank, picked up the sample, brought it home on dry ice and done the insemination ourselves, turkey baster style. Unfortunately, for legal reasons, we could not. It’s ridiculous: We pay close to $800 for one vial of sperm, we pay for the clinic to store it, and we can’t do what we want with it. We have to pay the clinic $200 to do the deed.

Yes, sleeping with a man that you meet at a bar may be cheaper, and yes, sometimes I wish we could have that kind of free access to sperm, but the way we are doing this is the way that feels right to us. Unfortunately, shit happens and setbacks occur. I feel completely helpless, heartbroken and angry, but this is another dip down in the roller coaster that has become this journey towards our baby. So this month, we will sit out and try to pass the time. Next month, we will figure something out. And soon, all of this will be just story to tell to my grown-up son or daughter.


  1. says

    This can only be so frustrating to have happen as it is frustrating just for me to read. I think the clinic owes you a free insemination Lex and I would certainly bring it up to them when they are back on track. Also, can’t they got to a sterile environment/hospital/other clinic to make it happen? I hope next month goes better. I am glad you are writing this to us and sharing your story. Not by any means easy.

  2. Brandy Black says

    Hey Lex-
    It took Susan and me 3.4 years to get pregnant, we did IUI, IVF, endometriosis surgery, you name it and we did it. I remember we finally decided to take a break and go to Italy for 2 weeks and I joked about getting wasted and having sex with some hot Italian man. I think had we had enough to drink and found the right man it might have happened, we were so over it. I’m sorry you are going through all of this, it was one of the hardest times in my life but I’m the other side of it and am here to tell you that you will have a baby, it will happen. So trust, stay happy, relax and enjoy your time now because before you know it you will be CRAZY busy. I can’t believe I now have THREE children (all through IVF) when we barely thought we could have one.
    Hang in there. I love reading your blog.

  3. says

    Thanks Brandy. It’s funny, when Devon and I were in Mexico in January, some Mexican man who drove a shuttle at our resort winked at me on his way by. Devon looked at me and said, “Just go… GO! It’s free sperm!”

    People like you give me hope and when I hear an update on your family, I can let myself dream of the day when I will be updating you on my family.

  4. Diana says

    Just the thought of having sex with a random man gives me the shivers! And even the known donor route is scary enough, with all the tests to do and contracts to sign, and then having to trust him not to sleep with somebody and get an STD the day before your insemination.
    As for us, we found the perfect way. Frozen sperm from an open donor, the one we liked best from the “catalog”, and IUI at home. No planes to catch, no clinics, no doctors. The courier delivers our nitrogen tank and we get to pick what we think is the very best timing before sending the tank back to Denmark. This is how we and many other Italians are bypassing our stupid laws against donor insemination. Now let’s just hope it works!

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