Dear Dr. Darcy:
My wife and I are considering having children, but we’re just not sure. Our heterosexual friends seem so much more certain about starting a family. I wonder if being gay and having to strategize a pregnancy gives people in our community cause for pause. I’ve heard people say that if you’re not sure about having kids, don’t have them. What are your thoughts on this? Are you planning on having children with your wife?
I think you’re right: When couples have to orchestrate (and pay for) a pregnancy, they are inclined to contemplate it more deeply. The hurdles are numerous and they include any combination of finding: A sperm donor, a sperm bank, a fertility specialist (who is willing to work with an LGBT couple), a surrogate, an egg donor, an adoption agency, a state which allows LGBTs to adopt, an available private adoption…the list is endless.
Regardless of the conception method, one thing is clear: Members of the LGBT community enter parenthood with a level of contemplation beyond that which results from a broken condom. With that said, LGBTs are procreating with more frequency than ever before.
Creating and maintaining a good relationship is a monumental task and having a child certainly throws a new variable into the mix. That’s not to say that children are responsible for their parents’ issues; research indicates that such issues almost invariably pre-date the birth of any children. But, without a doubt, having children complicates a relationship ~ it adds a new stressor into the couple’s life and stressors often provoke disharmony.
I don’t know if being on the fence means that you should bypass the baby route. My wife and I are also in deep contemplation of this issue. It’s a tough one, and I’m not sure which direction we’ll go in. What I can say without hesitation is this: Question your reasons for wanting children, question your reasons for hesitating, and question other couples (straight and gay) who have children. I have found that parents are very happy to weigh in on this issue. So tread carefully and think deeply, because this, my friend, is a no backsies decision.