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Queer Reproductive Rights: Why Should We Care?

Photograph of needles and a petri dish. from: PWCD - queer reproductive rights

LGBT

Written by: Arin Hall

Meeting my fiancée wasn’t something I ever thought would happen, let alone during a time when I was finally cutting my toxic family out of my life. Now I want a family that I love with all my heart, and to raise a child that looks like myself and my fiancée, which is why the issues revolving around women’s reproductive rights are so important to me…

As my fiancée is the one wanting to give birth to our children, I sometimes worry about her safety. She has Vasovagal Syncope, (or reflex syncope), causing her to experience rapid drops in heart rate or blood pressure, and leads to fainting and potential accidents. For this reason, we have been very conscious and aware of the need to be extra careful during a pregnancy, and perhaps beforehand, as she has previously miscarried. This concern, in itself, isn’t an issue of reproductive rights – but what if we were to use a sperm donor?

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Graphic of artificial insemination
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Discussions about using a sperm donor have bounced around a few times, as my fiancée and I want to be sure we’re looking at all the possibilities. The biggest issue we’ve come across and that worries us is a sperm donor having legal rights to the child we have. It’s terrifying to consider that when male sperm is used, he inherits the ability to claim our child as his.

While I haven’t spoken to many other queer – or lesbian couples for that matter, I’ve heard similar concerns before. In a society that would otherwise put down women’s rights to access proper reproductive care and abortion, who’s to say that it will not also take away rights to have children as well? As much as both my fiancée and I want to create a child together, the fact that a random man could have more reproductive rights over our child than ourselves is concerning.

My partner and I have also considered adoption, another problematic option, as I have heard couples – both homo and heterosexual, state that some agencies require proof the couple can care for a child. In several cases, the agency wanted the adopting couple to have a child already. And besides the fact that we’re a homosexual couple – if there was a problem with reproduction such as infertility or any other number of health issues – how is that expectation fair to people like us trying to bring a child into their home for a better life? How can someone ask us to already have a child when we are presently trying to bring one into our lives?

Ultimately, what I find to be the most infuriating of all things concerning reproductive rights, is the lack of knowledge and understanding people have when it comes to homosexual couples. Few individuals have a proper grasp on the matter, and even fewer are willing to accept these matters as fact.

If we are to consider women’s reproductive rights, we also need to recognize the rights of the couples comprised of two vaginas; women – who are also those that struggle with problems such as infertility and past trauma from the loss of a child.

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