Two mums in Thailand face a fertilisation challenge.
In Thailand, the options are LIMITED. By this, I mean that homosexuality is visible and yet denied, and not respected in law. Actually, in my opinion, nor are general women’s rights – if you are Thai and a woman, you are not entitled to fertility treatment. Unless you have a husband. You are also barely entitled to maternity leave, but that is another issue. Thankfully my work are aware of my sexuality and accept it.
Same-sex relationships in Thailand are EVERYWHERE, but not in the western sense. Girls are not lesbians; they are gender role-playing ‘Toms’ (tomboys) or ‘Dees’. The Toms, with varying strictness, bind their breasts flat, dress like men and will never remove their clothes and allow for two-way sexual intimacy. The Dees don’t generally wish to be touching their partner and are happy to be, er, ‘done’.
As a farang-Thai couple, in the insemination centre, we can get around the lack of husband, so long as it is the farang who is to be impregnated, and as long as there is a charade of non-involvement from my Thai gf. it isn’t perfect, but it is the best we can do. So I can be inseminated (yay!), but as a farang-Thai couple, we want a Thai donor. Herein lies the hitch. We get a choice out of Thailand’s 8 donors (yes, 8), and all we get to know is their blood type, and that they are PROBABLY a medical student. Not enough.
We first contacted a lot of guys online at http://www.prideangel.com. This is very good if you are in the UK/Europe or the US (or can travel) and want a caucasian or Indian donor – a lot of the guys seem to be a genetic goldmine and are acting out of a genuine desire to help others. We REALLY liked one Spanish donor, but in the end decided that as a Thai-farang couple, our kid needed to be half Thai, and furthermore, that trying to inseminate every month on different continents was a ridiculously impractical idea. FYI other online sites, without exception seem to be terrible. Prideangel is by far the best we found. The other sites all require irritating subscriptions without which you cannot see any messages sent to you etc. Pride angel requires a fee for a certain number of message credits, at a very reasonable cost. Account set-up and browsing is free. Anyway – sidetracked. In Asia, these sites are really NOT a lot of help. The one Thai guy (living in the US) we contacted was very strange and seemed to think our requirements were very weird. He didn’t like the idea of Artificial Insemination either…..
So, starting the search for a ‘friend-of-a-friend’ was also very difficult in Thailand – inquiries were frequently met by ‘Two MUMS?!?’ confused responses. Even from our Tom/Dee /gay acquaintances. Sometimes it is like we have gone back in time 20 years.
There are some pros and cons to each, and every couple who find themselves in our situation will face a different set of circumstances. We decided, that for us, we wanted a donor whose personality traits we could get a feel for and whose skills and abilities we also known to us. You can see why the anonymous donor wasn’t good enough; never mind whether he is bald or overweight – what if (as in the case of me and my darling mum) this kid is nothing like its mother and all like its ‘dad’? How am I to understand my child?
My partner was adopted and never knew her dad, so she felt this issue to be less important, but felt it is ultimately better for the child we make to have some answers about who he or she is, especially during those torturous adolescent years!. My dad was adopted and not knowing his father has scarred him irrevocably. I just think; if I am doing this HUGE thing, then it has to feel right. For both mummies, and we want to put this child’s and our knowledge of its origins at the very top of the list of ‘best practice’ of lesbian parenting.
Read the next installment to find out what we did next.