I have a number of women friends who are gay, many of whom wanted to have a baby and chose to go through artificial insemination (AI) and some of them IVF (in vitro fertilization) to fall pregnant. In many cases, It was painful and heartbreaking and expensive, but some cases it all came together and in some awesome cases, they did it twice and have 2 beautiful children.
One of my friends who went through this experience is really struggling with being at work when she is desperate to be with her toddler and baby. It was not easy getting to where she is in her company (her work) and they will only give her 4 months maternity leave. She is struggling with such a difficult choice because both these things - on the one hand her job (and her professional identity) and on the other hand the ability to carry and have her own children were so difficult to achieve and it feels so difficult to give either one of them up. They will not let her be flexible/ part time/ job share.
She understands she is extremely lucky that she can even contemplate giving up her job because her partner can support her if they make some drastic changes ie really cut costs. It’s also a difficult field to “start your own company”.
I watched her go through the ivf which was in some cases poorly understood by several people around her. Heterosexual couples who require reproductive interventions also sometimes have to deal with people not understanding their desire to go through the physical and emotional and financial challenges to have their OWN child and yet although it is not necessarily easier for them, there is sometimes some sympathy for the presence of some pathology that requires the couple to have to have an intervention to enable carrying a child and this choice is sometimes more understood. Gay women who want to carry their own children are not necessarily infertile. It is sometimes perceived that they are going through the intervention “out of choice” because being gay is sometimes mistakenly perceived as “a choice” as opposed to being who you are. As if gay women (more so that hetrosexual couples struggling to conceive) somehow must rather adopt. Though heterosexual infertiles do get their fair share of “maybe you should stop trying” or “it’s god’s choice for you” let it be. Not that adoption is not a wonderful choice. And I have great friends who’ve made this choice.
Simply put, my friend should not have had to go through the discrimination she has faced as a gay person, as someone who chose to go through AI and IVF and as a working mother. Why on earth in a country with such high unemployment can’t we have job sharing? She’s had to fight so hard for so many things and now another fight to raise her own children. Heterosexual women face this impossible choice too. As infertiles or gay women in fact as women in general, this just feels like way too many battles.