All about one queer family’s experience with IVF and making babies

Guest post by Zoë Gemelli

The Story of Sadie sits on the mantle in Shannon, Allison, and Sadie’s home. The book tells the tale of two adventurous queer women who wanted to make a baby together. It’s far from a love story about one getting pregnant with anonymous donor sperm while the other massages feet and masters the art of Lamaze. They opted for a difficult yet decidedly more magical route: Allison carried Shannon’s egg.

All photos by Zoë Gemelli.

Since Shannon was adopted, she felt it was important for her to have a blood connection to her child. Allison wanted the pregnancy experience, which meant that Sadie would be a part of both of them. Together they endured painful IVF treatments knowing that it was for the chance to have their dream come true. Ask Shannon about it today and she doesn’t recall the stinging of the daily needles with as much disdain.

“One of those is Sadie,” Shannon beams when showing off a picture of the two embryos that were implanted into Allison. She got pregnant immediately and was the picture of a glowing, radiant pregnant person.

The only difficultly they encountered was an unexpected hospital birth since Sadie’s head wasn’t positioned correctly. “The kid has a giant head like me!” Shannon says. Sadie’s head was stuck in Allison’s birth canal, which meant that after two hours of pushing at home (the maximum time allowed) she had to be transferred to the hospital. After four more hours of pushing at the hospital, forceps are what brought Sadie out.

Moments later, they posted a photo of Sadie on Facebook. Bloody and freshly hatched, she was the breathtaking spitting image of Shannon. Born with a full head of dark brown hair and alert brown eyes, Sadie looked like a full grown kid when we did her first photo shoot at three weeks old. With Shannon’s Punky Brewster looks and Allison’s steadfast spirit, it’s only a matter of time before Sadie’s hair is dyed fuchsia, too.

Comments on All about one queer family’s experience with IVF and making babies

  1. Great story!! I dream of my partner and I carrying one another’s eggs, but it hasn’t been financially feasible for us. But what an amazing way to bond – one genetic parent, one gestational parent!

  2. They are an extremely cute family. I am so happy for them.

    I wish that “All about one queer family’s experience with IVF” included advice on how they financed it. I know my queer family building experience is up against constant financial strain, and I’d love to know how other families make it work.

    • Allison here! The truth is, there’s no real story about how we financed it. Neither of us make much money (we work for non-profits) but we tend to live pretty frugally (we don’t have a car, we live in a co-op, etc). The short answer is that we just saved up for it. We had been saving for years, thinking maybe we’d buy a place, but then we decided we’d rather have a kid now and stay in our apartment. It was scary as hell risking all of our savings like that, and if it didn’t work it definitely would have sucked.

      Also, we were really lucky that my wife’s insurance from her job covered the cost of the drugs, one of the reasons she took the job. That saved us over 3 grand.

  3. sadie is ridiculously adorable! i want to hear every detail about your story. i would love to carry my partner’s egg (and vice versa) but we’re opting for the cheapest route and seeing how that goes. but i want to have her babies, little mini-k’s just like your little mini-shannon. congrats on creating your beautiful family!

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