From donor daddies to ‘queer families’ and egg-sharing, Creative Director Lotte Jeffs wrote about the new frontiers of modern parenthood in London Evening Standard.
Twice now has my journey to starting a family been compared to a work of science fiction.
The first time was in a meeting when a younger colleague shared her views on the London Sperm Bank’s new app, which allows prospective parents to navigate easily for potential donors and search by basic physical characteristics such as hair and eye colour. Her view was that this was reminiscent of the plot of an Aldous Huxley novel and that we were in danger of creating a master race of designer humans. What, I asked her, did she think would be a less troubling way for my wife Jenny and I to fulfil our dream of having children.
Her idea was for a kind of sperm roulette, where we’d get what we were given rather than have the ability to choose a donor who shared my hair colour (so our child might at least look a bit like a bit of both of us). The second time was just recently, and Jenny is six months pregnant. A tenuous Facebook friend messaged to say congratulations, quickly followed by. ‘It’s pretty crazy isn’t it! Have you seen the film Gattaca?!!’ I hadn’t but Google revealed it to be a dystopian exploration of eugenics. There goes his invitation to the baby shower.
Putting aside the ignorance and insensitivity of these, thankfully isolated, comments, the fact is that nothing about the way my child has been conceived is that bizarre any more. There is increasingly, in London at least, no normal way to start a family. And lesbians using donor sperm to get pregnant is one of the most vanilla options available. Among my social circle are a straight couple using a surrogate and egg donor, a gay couple fostering, a single woman adopting, a married heterosexual who doesn’t want children considering donating his sperm, single women freezing eggs, lesbians thinking about sharing eggs, IVF, intrauterine insemination (IUI), DIY and, of course, a couple of regular breeders among them too.
When I tell people I’m expecting my first child in three months, their first reaction tends to be confusion because I don’t look pregnant. I’ll quickly explain that my wife is “carrying” and often there are very few follow-up questions. Maybe people are being polite, or maybe it’s just not that interesting. I make it sound like it was quite easy, and while we were lucky that the actual getting pregnant part was for us, the road to insemination was long and emotionally draining. I’m all for talking about our journey in the hope it normalises it for the few people who still think that conceiving via anything other than straight sex means a reckless messing with nature.
Continue reading the full piece on London Evening Standard here.
Read more from Lotte's move from Elle magazine to ad land here.