Saturday, December 2, 2006


It seemed unlikely to me that I would find an infertile Jewish lesbian couple when I started looking for recipients for my unused embryos. After all, with two women there are twice the number of wombs and ovaries available in case one partner can't give birth.

Much to my surprise, I heard from four lesbian couples experiencing infertility who had one Jewish partner, and several other infertile lesbian couples with two Christian partners.

The typical first inquiry from these women looked something like this (note: this is not an actual email, as I consider those confidential).

"We are so happy and grateful to have found you. We are a lesbian couple. We have a four year old daughter. She has been begging us for a little brother or sister. I am forty-three and my partner is fifty. I am Jewish and she is not. We live in Massachussets and are legally married there. We tried IVF and it did not work. We desperately want another child to fulfill our daughter's dreams. Please consider us for your embryos."

I followed up with all of these requests but did not pick any of the candidates. One major reason is my own parents had me and my sister when they were in their 40's. That's pretty common today, but in the 1970's, when I was growing up, it was practically unheard of. I always felt weird having parents who were old enough to be my grandparents.

For a child, the age of fifty seems ancient. I was always concerned that my parents would die because they were older than everyone else's parents. That turned out to be unfounded. Everyone in my family lives into their 80's and my parents were some of the healthiest seniors I've ever seen.

I also found the part about the child wanting a sibling to be incredibly manipulative. Everyone said this in their embryo requests. I'm sure it's true, but it seemed like an attempt to make it harder for me to say "no" and disappoint a child. I would respect someone who said "as parents we feel it's important for a child to be raised with a sibling" or "we deeply desire another child" but the only person ever mentioned as wanting another baby was the existing child. And she wasn't the one who was going to change all the diapers.

If I based my major life decisions solely on what my kids wanted I would live in Disneyworld and serve ice cream three meals a day. None of these recipients seemed right, but would I ever find a young lesbian couple who were both experiencing infertility?