TTC: Conception Support for Trans/Non-binary/Masculine of Center Gestational Carriers-to-Be
By Cedre Csillagi
My partner and I have been wanting to make our own family for some time now and over the last few years we've been trying, in my body. I am a 40 year old non-binary queer that has lived in Oakland since the late 90s. As it turns out, trying to make a human in your body can be quite challenging. Below is a short synopsis of our process.
After finding a donor and getting all the paperwork signed and notarized, we (my partner and I) began the first cycles at home with our donor's fresh sperm and a syringe. Then we eventually brought in a queer midwife for IUIs. We then brought in the Kaiser fertility center for ultrasounds and medication. I tried Letrazole (which I was allergic to) and Clomid (which my body didn't even develop a follicle with).
Then we switched to using the Pacific Reproductive Services (PRS) for better and more affordable services, as well as having them bank (this means freeze) our known donor's sperm there. Then PRS closed, and those services were no longer available, so we began looking for another fertility clinic that was affordable and queer friendly. That didn't really exist, so we ended up back at Kaiser for the affordability of the sonograms, even though I still have to pay out of pocket.
As a non-binary person, I have been searching for community, specifically other queers trying to carry that are masculine of center, trans, gender expansive, or non-binary for reflection and support in navigating all the many doctor/clinic visits that you constantly have to re-introduce your identity again and again to new nurses and physicians, continually feeling othered in these very female centered spaces. Including but not limited to fertility clinics, midwife meetups, family/friend conversations, etc.
After reaching out to many folks and groups looking for seahorse heroes to connect with, I've realized how helpful it would be to have a group that is just Masculine of Center/Non-binary/Trans folk who are CURRENTLY in the process of trying to conceive (TTC). So, with the encouragement of Meghan Lewis at the LGBTQ Perinatal Wellness Center, I am forming a peer-facilitated support group this Spring. This group will be a place for us all to bring our experiences and feelings that have come up while navigating the lack of representation and heavily gendered language used in the fertility landscape. This group is important because we are important. We deserve to be seen, to feel comfortable in all situations, especially involving our bodies, how they are handled and cared for.
Cedre Csillagi is a 40 year old a queer non-binary artist living and working in Oakland, CA.