LGBTQ Families

Welcome! Around one-third of all DSR parents are LGBTQ! We embrace diversity, and we welcome everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity — read our Non-Discrimination Policy. The LGBTQ community is represented by two of our seven DSR Board of Directors.

DSR LGBTQ Events

Events

We can come to speak to your organization or have a booth or table at your event. If interested, please contact Wendy.

2020

September 17: LGBT Network

LGBT Family Building: Donor Conception

2019

September 8, 2019

Boulder Pridefest

Boulder Pride and Gay Parent Magazine Ads

2018

Philadelphia Family Pride Family Matters Conference, Curve Magazine, and Gay Parent Magazine Ads

2017

Philly Pride and Gay Parent Magazine Ad

2016

Philly Pride and Gay Parent Magazine Ad

2015

Capital Pride in Washington DC and Seattle Pride

2014

Family Equality Council

We started a wonderful partnership with the Family Equality CouncilHere is their Book Nook page featuring our book(!). From their website: "Family Equality Council connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender in this country and their six million children."

Watch the video webinar we did for the Family Equality Council! Wendy talks about the DSR, who we are and why we do what we do, what we have learned over the years, moving the industry forward in a more ethical and responsible manner, and how to create healthy and happy families.

We gave a Skype workshop with an LGBTQ parents group in Boston after they watched the Family Equality Council webinar.

2012

Philadelphia Pride

2010

LA Gay and Lesbian Center

Wendy and Ryan spoke at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center

Denver Pride

2020

Ad for Gay Parent Magazine

2019

Ad for Gay Parent Magazine

2017-2018

Ads for the October 2017 Philadelphia Family Pride Family Matters Conference and for 2017/2018 issues of Gay Parent Magazine and Curve magazine

2016-2017

Ad for the October 2016 Philadelphia Family Pride brochure and the March/April 2017 issue of Gay Parent Magazine

2015-2016

Ad for the October 2015 Philadelphia Family Pride brochure and the Nov/Dec 2015 and March/April 2016 issues of Gay Parent Magazine

2010-2012

Ad for the March/April 2010 and March/April 2011 issues of Gay Parent Magazine; ad for the October 2012 Philadelphia Family Pride brochure

Our LGBTQ Families

Guest Blogs

My Rainbow Tribe: 

Donor Sibling Registry Success. "A year ago today I joined the Donor Sibling Registry. Upon joining, to my great delight, I discovered there was another mother listed who had used the same anonymous sperm donor as I had. It took me completely by surprise..."

DNA Testing: We Found Him. "Which issue is paramount? Our children’s desire to know their biological origins? Or the donor’s right to have the agreement upon which he donated upheld?"

Two Mothers McGill: The incredibly true tale of two women in love and expanding their family. Ashleigh lives in Arizona with her wife and their donor-conceived children. Together with the DSR, they hope to promote the importance of access to donor information by donor-conceived individuals, and educate prospective families on the choices they have to make.

March 2014: Many of us are familiar with the all-encompassing urges that our hormones put us through during our reproductive years. That desire, that urgency to "have a baby."

Come on, you know what I'm talking about. Grinning stupidly at any baby in your vicinity, glancing fondly at those big beautiful pregnant bellies that just seem to be everywhere during these hormonal times, feeling jealousy when friends or family announce new additions.

I've noticed though, that the urge to have a baby is not always connected to the desire to raise a child. Sometimes it's just our bodies wanting to do what they're built to do. Bring new blood to your family, continue the next generation, propagate mankind. Sometimes we desperately want to get pregnant/have a baby, but aren't really interested in raising any more kids. That's okay; it's completely normal.

Another observation I've made is that most of the time, parents who do want babies and who do want kids forget that children become adults. Not logically — logically we all understand that as our bodies and minds age, we become adults and we leave our families of origin and we create a family of our own. But emotionally, we think only of that baby growing in our womb, of what that newborn will look like, of what color his eyes will be, and maybe about what we'll do for her first birthday party. At the beginning of childbearing, most people rarely consider further than that, other than to occasionally fantasize about vacations or holidays. We don't think about what'll happen when our babies turn eighteen or twenty-five or forty.

Our babies are real people. With real, separate, individual personalities. And if we are fortunate, we will get to raise them and watch them grow. But we have to realize that some of the choices we made for them when they were small are choices that they will have to live with. We make choices that affect the rest of their lives, and some choices follow them even past their own lifetimes — the choices we make about our conceptions and pregnancies and babies today can live on for generations and affect our children's children and their kids after that and after that. It's so important to educate ourselves, and to choose carefully.

Specifically, the biggest decision I feel we made for our daughter Ever was regarding her biological father; her sperm donor. The color of his eyes or his hair don't matter to me in the long run — but his openness to a relationship with her meant everything.

We knew from the very earliest stages of preparing for conception that we wanted a donor who was willing to be known to our children, no matter in what capacity. This was not a decision we took lightly; indeed, we feel like choosing such a donor was the best gift we could give to our daughter, since we couldn't give her both sides of her biology from the two of us.

We felt that this was the only possible decision to make for E. Yes, we created her life, and yes it was done in an atypical fashion, but it's HER life. I wouldn't want to cut her off at the knees before she's even born — I want her to have every possible option when she's grown. If she is interested in knowing her donor, then I'll be at her side.

If she doesn't feel the need to find him just yet, I will help her to truly understand what that choice will mean for her, but ultimately, I respect whatever decision she makes.

I strive, as Ev's parent, to consider her as a separate entity from myself or Teri. Her feelings are her own, her opinions are her own. She is an individual and she deserves every ounce of consideration that I can muster. My biggest hope in this regard is that one day, she will see the lengths we've gone to in order to give her as many choices as we were able to.

December 2012: Non-Biological Mom's Perspective. One mom grew her and birthed her, and one mom waited for her and loved her all the while.

May 2012: Donor Sperm: The Story Beneath the Baby. "In my family ... we are committed to not only doing our best for her as an infant, a child, an adolescent, and a teenager ... but also looking out for her best interests as an adult. And to us, that means as much information about the other half of her genetics as we can possibly give her."

August 2013: Our children's sacred story. Donor-conceived children who know the circumstances of their birth will inevitably become aware growing up that their biological linkages have a different quality from most of their peers and even from others in their family. Our job as their parents is to reflect on questions that in many ways are similar to those of all other parents: What is the best way to help my children along the path of discovering their own sacred story? What will help them build the identity that their conception story will then be a key part of? What will support them in embracing this identity as part of their path to becoming emotionally healthy adults?

Connecting with Other Donor Families: The New Gay Family

It is common knowledge that the concept of "family" has a different meaning in the gay and lesbian community. There are probably many reasons for this, including, for some, the exclusion or distance from ones family of origin, and thus the need to create our own families. And since we are one of the only minority groups that does not share its otherness with our own birth families, we often congregrate in close communities of our own that we call "family." Read more.

A Meeting of 7 Families:
We just returned from a weekend gathering of donor siblings where nine of the twenty-three kids we now know about (while we were meeting, two new families posted on the DSR!) attended along with 2 SMCs, 5 lesbian couples, four grandmothers, and a grandad. The kids range in age from 8 months - 4 years. Like others, we formed a private site to share photos, etc., and have been communicating for about two years. Over the course of the past year or so, several small groups of us have met, but I must say that having such a large group was overwhelming in the best way possible.

I never could have imagined how amazing this would be. I was very hesitant to join the DSR at first for all the reasons I am sure everyone else has. However, meeting the others was not only comfortable but incredibly natural ... like we had known each other for years. The kids warmed up to one another and the other adults immediately, and the other parents seemed like old friends. Not to read too much into the genetics of it all, but there was something truly special about the way everyone interacted. I can't imagine what the future might hold, but I am confident that meeting the other donor siblings and their families was the best thing we could have done for our kids. I am grateful we had the opportunity to begin building these relationships while all of them are still so young. Great memories are being created, as is a healthy and dynamic sense of place for our kids.

Content but Curious:
My partner and I have two beautiful daughters from an anonymous donor. While we are very content with our family, we have always wanted our daughters to have the option of exploring their biological siblings/donor; plus we are so curious about traits, behaviors, and medical issues of other half-siblings out there.

This is a wonderful service that brings together a community of people that often feel stigmatized or outside of "mainstream" America. Individuals can control their anonymity and can pursue whatever level of involvement they choose and do so comfortably. It also provides people an avenue to answer and explore all those questions about the "who" and "what" that are associated with anonymous donors.

Success Stories

LGBTQ Support

DSR Counseling

If you are already the parent of a donor-conceived person and need some guidance, please read our Counseling Page and our published research. Also, you can order our book: Finding Our Families: A First-of-Its-Kind Book for Donor-Conceived People and Their Families.

Choosing a Sperm Bank

If you are a prospective parent trying to decide which sperm bank to use, check out our "Which Sperm Bank?" page, where we continue to collect DSR members' experiences to help you make a more informed decision, and the Huffington Post article "Choosing a Sperm Bank ... What to Know." You can also email Wendy for more specific advice on choosing a sperm bank.

Is the Donor a Threat to Our Family

(Based on correspondence with an LGBT mom who is also a donor-conceived person.)

One common problem that we've seen in the lesbian community (and to a lesser extent in the gay community) is the idea that if you talk about the donor, you are implicating the family in being somehow less than enough and implying that two women or two men alone do not make a family.

This is a reaction to a very serious political situation. Yes, there are also attacks on women who have children without fathers — but single female parents are also not denied any fundamental rights. They are not constantly being told that they are not a family or that one of the parents does not matter. There is no danger that their child will be taken away from them or that they would ever be denied custody.

In this context of sustained attacks, a common reaction is to assert that the family is perfect and there is no need to talk about the donor. Gay people are often very defensive about their families and thus reluctant to talk about the donor. Many people have said that they refuse to talk about the donor to anyone because they perceive doing so to be questioning the legitimacy of their family — so they refuse to engage in that conversation. Families should not be built based on fear and defensiveness. We owe more than that to our children.

Interesting Facts

Around one-third of all DSR parents are LGBTQ! 

 


 

NEW! LGBTQ Family Building Survey
The LGBTQ Family Building Survey provides new insight into how many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people are interested in becoming parents, and how they are planning to do so. Most significantly, the data reveals dramatic differences in expectations around family building between LGBTQ Millennials and older generations of LGBTQ people.

Key findings include:

  • 63% of LGBTQ Millennials (aged 18-35) are considering expanding their families, either becoming parents for the first time, or by having more children
  • 48% of LGBTQ Millennials are actively planning to grow their families, compared to 55% of non-LGBTQ Millennials, a gap that has narrowed significantly in comparison to older generations
  • 63% of LGBTQ people planning families expect to use assisted reproductive technology, foster care, or adoption to become parents, a significant shift away from older generations of LGBTQ parents for whom the majority of children were conceived through intercourse

 


 

For more interesting facts about DSR families, see the DSR's Our Members page.

Books and Other Media

Books

Book review in Summer 2018 Gay Parent Magazine:

Booklets

Brochures

Download the DSR brochure in English
Download the DSR brochure in German
Download the DSR brochure in Spanish
Download the DSR brochure in French

Articles

2020

Children want others to understand that having LGBTQ parents isn’t a problem – it’s other people’s reactions that are

Children raised by same-sex parents from birth perform better than children raised by different-sex parents in both primary and secondary education. (Data from The Netherlands, which was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001.)

2019

December: Washington Post

Does sharing a sperm donor make us family?

2018

Conclusion: The children of lesbians had no more behavioral or emotional problems than did a representative sample of kids their age. Their relationships with family, friends, spouses, or partners functioned just as well. And they were no more likely to have diagnosable or near-diagnosable psychiatric disorders than were young adults who were like them in every respect but the sexual orientation of their parents.

2017

November/December: Gay Parent Magazine

A Party of Five

A story of two DSR moms. There are many variations on the theme of finding true love. The story of Laurie and Valerie, however, is unique: strangers from opposite ends of the country who found love through the coincidence of their biologically related children.

2014

Two moms who used the same sperm donor find each other on the DSR, and the unexpected happens!

2012

(sorry, link is broken)
QParent is a news and resource site for queer parents. This article talks about the DSR and other registries, and explores the question of whether to use an open or anonymous donor.

Each month, Gwendolyn answers questions on LGBTQ parenting for the readers of It’s Conceivable, a website dedicated to centralizing pregnancy and parenting information for the LGBTQ community. In this installment, she provides resources and offers some Dos and Don’ts to answer the question: “We are in the process of choosing a donor, but we are debating whether an open donor or anonymous donor would be the right choice.... Could you share your thoughts on whether to know — or not to know — and how to handle it if our child does end up wanting to know more about his or her donor?”

2011

Chelsea Now is a Community Media Group newspaper that caters specifically to the people in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, which has a thriving LGBT community. This piece discusses some of the issues brought to light in two recent movies. The feature film “The Kids Are All Right” is a movie about a brother and sister who search for — and find — the sperm donor used by their lesbian parents to conceive them. “Donor Unknown” is a documentary about the process of a group of DSR siblings who meet each other and their donor.

2009

(sorry, link is broken)
Richard Dedor leads motivational and leadership workshops, has a coaching company, and has written a book, entitled “Anything is Possible.” In this piece, which was published by Liberty Press, he explains the history and purpose of the DSR, with a focus on support for LGBT families.

2008

Bay Windows is a weekly publication and resource for the LGBT community in New England. This article discusses the issues confronted by parents who have donor-conceived children. It includes the experience of a lesbian couple navigating the complexities of connecting with donor siblings.

Videos

Visit the DSR Video Library for our collection of videos.