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13 Oct 2008

Desperately seeking sperm

A lesbian couple in Beijing who are looking to conceive with sperm from a donor shares with Dinah Gardner their hopes and challenges.

Making a baby when you're a pair of lesbians isn't easy.

Yuan Yuan (whose face is obscured in the photo at her request) and Hong, her partner about three and a half years, are looking to conceive with sperm from a donor aged between 21-45, height six feet or over, with no genetic diseases.
Making a baby when you're a pair of lesbians living in Beijing is even harder.

And making a baby when you're a pair of lesbians living in Beijing and looking for sperm overseas is really, really tough.

Unmarried women are not officially allowed to buy sperm from authorised sperm banks in China.

But when Hong and Yuan Yuan first started their hunt for some "good quality" sperm they thought it would be easy.

"We found these two sperm banks online, one in California and one in Denmark, where you could search under donor eye colour and build," says Yuan Yuan, a 33-year-old lesbian who has been living with her Beijing girlfriend for about three and a half years. "We were so excited. We thought this is going to be so easy."

It was just before the Dragon Boat Festival in June that the lesbian couple decided it was time to have a child. They had been together for well over three years, they both thought their relationship had reached that stable stage perfect to support a family and with Hong just about to turn 39, time was running out. Hong wants to bear the child.

But then they found out that it was illegal to import frozen sperm into China. No problem, they thought, they can go to Hong Kong and pick it up there. But after a little bit of research they found out that they weren't allowed to import sperm there either.

And so they thought of India.

"When we heard the Danish sperm bank has a branch in India we planned to go there," says Yuan Yuan who comes from Changsha. "But then we found out the sperm bank is not allowed to sell to non-Indians."

With a bit more research Britain seemed to be their only choice.

"Finally we found out that Britain lets anyone buy sperm and we found a 'broker' that would fix us up with a donor and deliver the sperm for about 1,500 pounds," she adds.

But in the end the two women decided it would be too expensive. It might take several "go's" before Hong could fall pregnant and they just couldn't afford to take so many trips to Britain and foot all the other sperm broker fees.

"We decided finally that we didn't want to use a sperm bank," laughs Yuan Yuan.

In the end it wasn't only the thought of the money and the hassle that put them off buying sperm. They wanted the baby's father to have a name.

"We just thought what are we to tell the child when he/she asks us who the father is. We don't want to say your father is a serial number."

So now the two women are looking for a man - gay or straight - who would be willing to donate his sperm. He is welcome to play a role in the child's life.

"He can have visiting rights for sure but we don't want him to have legal rights," Yuan Yuan says.

It's unusual but not unheard of in China for gay and lesbian couples to have a family. Last year a British and Chinese lesbian couple had a baby with the help of a Chinese friend who donated his sperm. A lesbian couple in Guangzhou, who call themselves the "bean family" have also had a baby together, while a gay male couple in Sichuan province, Li Lunzuo and Ju Jiazhong, are regularly interviewed by Chinese media about their 21 year "marriage" together and their adopted son.

And so, since the summer they have been posting adverts on gay and lesbian websites looking for a donor, "age between 21-45, height six feet or over, with no genetic diseases."

Any luck so far?

"We've had one reply," says Yuan Yuan, her brow furrowed. "But he keeps saying he's too busy to meet. We are nervous that he is not serious."

And even after Hong gets pregnant their troubles don't end there.

"Hong needs to get married to a man before she gives birth," explains Yuan Yuan. If she has the baby as an unmarried mother then the child cannot get Beijing identity papers and Hong, who works for a government work unit will lose her job as punishment for having a child out of wedlock.

Ironically, before Hong met Yuan Yuan she was married for several years to a man. She left him after she fell in love with Yuan Yuan.

"I never wanted a child with him because, well, I was too busy with my job and I knew at the back of my mind he wasn't the man for me," Hong says.

But despite all the hurdles ahead the two women appear optimistic and relaxed. They have faith.

"A few months ago Hong saw a fortune teller," says Yuan Yuan. Hong starts smiling. "She told her you will definitely be successful although you will encounter lots of difficulties along the way."

If you wish to help Yuan Yuan and Hong, please contact them at ababyplan@gmail.com .

Reader's Comments

1. 2008-10-10 15:09  
i already have beautiful asian american kids, hmm . . . might be happy to contribute some sperm . . . not a problem at all, really like having a big family . ..
2. 2008-10-13 03:09  
Me and my beloved wife had a baby boy 6yrs old now. She had it test tube. We tried very hard to get sperm donors for 3 yrs and we finally succeeded. So, best of luck to u guys out there who is trying...don't give up, u can make it!
3. 2008-10-13 10:08  
oh oh ... i want children too ... someday ... now all i need FIRST is ... a very stable partner ... which is near impossible to find ... already ... OUCH to reality!
4. 2008-10-13 17:12  
hey i asked my studly personal trainer from Shanghai, he did state he can find a donor here, no problem!
5. 2008-10-14 18:27  
Hmm.. tough life..
Though one may get a sperm donor, biological-wise, it will always be the child of the women carrying it but it will never be the other partner's own child.

I guess it doesn't matter to some of them. Since as long as they give out their best to care and love the child, they are doing their "parenting role", even though it's not their own child.
6. 2008-10-14 19:01  
Why must bear one ? There are so many ophan in China, do something for the world. The world is over crowded.

7. 2008-10-14 20:00  
Post #3 ken34my says (Posted : 13 October 2008 10:08) :

Don't despair. I am sure there are some others out there, like us who wants the same thing, to want to have a kid of our own.

Adoption is hard for gay man, not to mentioned single gay parents. The law seems to think we're not fit parenting a child which is total b.s.

8. 2008-10-14 20:51  
sign me up.....I would be more than willing to donate my sperm....perhaps I'd be considered old at age 55 but trust me, I have more than enough to satisfy you....my boyfriend in Shanghai would be very pleased as well :)

Sven
9. 2008-10-14 21:11  
as a bi guy, I hopefully dont ever be in this dire situation... I want kids too... and will hopefully find a bi-lady for that somehwere in Indonesia/Malaysia or even in SG... i guess my problem in that part of the world wld be my taste of women...
10. 2008-10-14 21:51  
Personally, I would think there are many couples or even single males would be seeking similar possibilities.

Could you folks at Fridae make a "seeking option" for this in our profiles ? :-)

Other than merely a donor, some of us would consider an "alternative relationship" to be mutually defined couple to couple....
11. 2008-10-14 22:04  
I think adoption is a better option here. Too many children are born into broken homes in straight couplings and, ironically that's supposed to be the "normal and healthy" bench mark that the human race condones . . . but broken homes and neglected nonetheless . . . but that is ok too as long as the parents are 1 man and 1 woman . . . what a joke. Adopt!
Comment #12 was deleted by its author
Comment #13 was deleted by its author
14. 2008-10-15 02:42  
There is a beautiful French film on this topic (with a male gay couple): "Comme les autres", with Lambert Wilson, Pilar Lpez de Ayala, Pascal Elb... It shows how complex and maybe painful this issue can be humanely. Unfortunately I don't expect it will be dubbed or distributed out of France...

You can look it up at

http://www.allocine.fr
15. 2008-10-15 10:07  
hi der, ma name is sham... mail me at rvf_786@hotmail.com if u gonna need sperm... maybe i could help u my dear
16. 2008-10-15 12:22  
Dear Yuan Yuan and Hong

Please do yourself a favour , Adopt !
I know what I am saying will not be music to your ears and also to some who have their own opinions and who would like to exercise their own values and rights. This is just my 2 cents worth.

There are many children out there who needs love , care and protection. With your commitment from each other , I am sure you can make great guardians. After all you are giving these poor kids another chance to have better lives no matter how unhappy they are to know that you are both lesbians in their later lives.

Can you imagine the kind of ridicule and mockery you will put to this child if you have him / her with a donor sperm ???? And how can you even think of going to the West , India or wherever to have the sperm ? Are you crazy ???? Your partner is not even of a different parentage ? How then can your child be one ???? Come on , please give that child an easy childhood to face his classmates. The world is a cruel one , don't make it even harder for the child.

Have you also considered what will happen to this child if one day your relationship heads for the rocks ? Don't get me wrong. I wish you will have a long lasting relationship where " death do you part " , then who gets the child ? The surrogate mother or the other partner ?????

I know you are madly in love and the world is your oyster. But think of the child you are bringing up. Give the child a decent and normal childhood and I feel only adoption will be the nearest answer. I am sure you both can be great parents.

Donor sperm ? I cannot imagine when the child does not even know who his father is , even if he knows , he does not live with him ( child ) what kind of message are we sending out ??? Don't be selfish and remember , the world is not centered just with the two of you !!!

Well , I wish you well and all the best. Just my 2 cents worth 

17. 2008-10-15 12:34  
why do you need him to be 6 ft tall?? are you going to state eye and hair and SKIN colour?

"I never wanted a child with him because, well, I was too busy with my job and I knew at the back of my mind he wasn't the man for me," Hong says.

-- this is horribly selfish,, dishonest and insincere... why did you marry him? Do you make decisions lightly?

I don't think you should even adopt -- though adopting should be the way for you... what if you adopted one and then decided " at the back of your mine, the child isn't for me/us"....

ANyway, to bring another human being in this world is just a very very wwrong thing... MORE carbon footprints.... and there are so many kids out there who needs parents.

The tone of this article lacks something profound ....this is not just any other spearm seeking exercise.
18. 2008-10-15 12:40  
I'm not surprised that they're still looking for the perfect man. With high expectations like "age between 21-45, height six feet or over, with no genetic diseases." it's gonna be difficult.

To me, adoption is definitely more humane.
19. 2008-10-15 19:36  
@Post #14 matahari_gar,
WELL SAID!! I totally agrees with you!!
Imagaine the emotional burden when the child grows up. Geez.


@Post #15 kinkyzulu,
["I never wanted a child with him because, well, I was too busy with my job and I knew at the back of my mind he wasn't the man for me," Hong says.

-- this is horribly selfish,, dishonest and insincere... why did you marry him? Do you make decisions lightly? ]
After you brought it up, it makes me wonder why she wants to marry that man in the first place.


Making decisions lightly?? Here:
["Hong needs to get married to a man before she gives birth," explains Yuan Yuan. If she has the baby as an unmarried mother then the child cannot get Beijing identity papers and Hong, who works for a government work unit will lose her job as punishment for having a child out of wedlock.]

And what is she thinking? Marrying a man again just for the sake of bearing a child?? After which, gets divorce again??
Come on, if you really set your heart to bear a child, immigrate to another country with your partner first. Marriage is not a play-pretend game.
20. 2008-10-16 10:03  
Listen to me pleaseeeeee

Adopt if you really want to look after a kid. Those poor children in homes ; they really need someone to give them love , affection and tender loving care.

For both of you who are already at this stage to have kids but cannot because of your circumstances , the nearest bet would be to adopt. But let me tell you , it's a whole lot of work and requires great commitment from both parties and people around it. Let me tell you this ...the world outside is a cruel one and most of the time the poor innocent child is the one that gets hurt. And if this is not handled properly , that child will grow up ...God knows !!!!!
My two cents worth ...I speak from someone that love children and have to live with two from my partner's previous marriage. What kind of adults we have in this world that simply shrug off responsibiilty once things don't turn out the way you want to ...

Remember Children are innocent. They are not clothes or shoes that we can discard once the fashion wears off. It's a life long commitment.
21. 2008-10-16 23:10  
me too i would like to find lesbian couple later with my bf, and have kids together, my only regret i will have in life as gay guy is that we can`t have kids, so it`s a great solution better that bank of sperm, more human.
Hope you`ll find what you want, me for now, i don`t think am read to be dad.
greg
22. 2008-10-16 23:58  
I am gay man from europe living in phuket and bangkok in thailand looking for a mother for my child or my children ... tirolerbursch@yahoo.com
Comment #23 was deleted by its author
Comment #24 was deleted by its author
25. 2008-10-17 02:23  
Evening fellas,

Thanks Fadil! ... im hoping for just that! ... I even have names for them already ;) ... (no, they are not based on cute cute superheroes in comics and cartoons!)

on postings that suggest adoption ... I WOULD IF I COULD ... in what country can a SINGLE GAY (albeit not out to everyone) man adopts ? Tell me ... immediately ... even heterosexual couples get it tough, homosexual couples ... they usually dont get it at all ...

on kinkyzulu's excuse for not bringing another human being into this world, a worldly and almost disastrous undertaking with foretold impending doom ... im sorry you feel that way ... please remind your parents, people who brought u into this world ... with hopes, dreams and love ... recite to them how sorry they must and should be ... on an hourly basis no less ... and your siblings ... if you have any ... but i hope you are not sorrily guilty (or .. have selfishly justified and Okay-ed yourself) ... for ... being ... "being" ...

homosexuals who want kids and homosexuals who say that it is wrong ... is akin to ... people who are gay being told by people who are not that it is wrong ... how do you respond to such people kinkyzulu ... is how homosexuals who want kids will respond to you ...

hati.org.my ... many kids need love ... shelter ... company, food and ... ... ... more love ... you cant bring them home (not yet, too many cases of abuse and mistreatments) ... but visit them frequently nonetheless ... charity begins at home ... so malaysians ... start marching to the shelters nearest to you!
26. 2008-10-21 03:48  
I AM WILL TO HELP THEM FOR FREE.IF THEY WANT.THANK YOU.
Comment #27 was deleted by an administrator on 2009-09-04 01:27

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