The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions

Doing Things, Episode 3 - Choosing A Sperm Donor


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Doing Things, Episode 3 - Choosing A Sperm Donor




Doing Things is a podcast series by Sadie Epstein-Fine. The series tells stories through recalling everyday moments of being a queer/genderqueer person with two moms. Sadie Epstein-Fine (they/them) is a second-generation queer, Jewish, artist, and activist. They work mostly as a theatre director, playwright, and creator, passionate about musical theatre and making work for young audiences. They co-edited, with Makeda Zook, Spawning Generations: Rants and Reflections on Growing Up with LGBTQ+ Parents, published in 2018 by Demeter Press. Sadie has been a queer family and queerspawn advocate/activist for almost 20 years.


Sadie Epstein-Fine


Queerspawn fonds, F0196-01-005-001, The ArQuives




1 MPEG-4 audio file [00:10:03], Hard Drive



Sound Item Type Metadata


This is episode 3 of Doing Things With Two Lesbian Feminist Separated Moms and Their Queer Daughter. This is Choosing a Sperm Donor.

So, there are few moments in my life where I think I truly appreciated, you know, what my parents, I don’t know, had to go through. Or, I don’t know. I definitely appreciate them. But, it has been in this time, where my partner and I are choosing a sperm donor, that I feel like I’ve really seen their experience and connected with it.

So, I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to have kids. And, you know, from the time I was a teenager, I’ve been really certain about that. I also convinced myself that I was straight. And, a very weird thing is that a big part of my fantasy of being straight involved children, and involved my fantasy of having children, and like, just being able to, you know, have sex, and get pregnant. And, sometimes I think… I convinced myself that I was straight solely for the purpose of easy childbearing. ‘Cuz you know, suddenly you take away sperm, and you have all these questions, right? Like, do you go with an anonymous donor? Do you do known? What sperm donor are you looking for? Do you ask them all of their health history? Or, what cultural aspects of their identity matter to you? Or, yeah, or matter to who your child is? You know, do you choose your best friend? Do you choose an acquaintance? You know? These are all the questions that I have now been reckoning with. Or that my partner and I have been having to ask as we family plan. And, of course, you know, like most decisions in my life, this involves my moms.

You know, from the fact that, one of my moms, Rachel, is you know, her life’s work has been helping queer people have babies. And, it’s kind of this weird thing that you know, when I think about it, it feels like I’m so lucky. You know? Because, you know, people professionally seek my mom’s help when they’re trying to have… You know, queer people seek my mom’s help when they’re trying to have children. And I just kind of get her as this everyday free resource.

And, so we have a meeting—my partner and my mom. Where we talk about, you know, donor agreements, and all the things to consider about donation. And really thinking about all the rights we now have actually in Ontario that really prevent the donor from being a threat to our parenting team, of me and my partner. And, you know…. When I was 13, we were a part of the Charter challenge that first allowed two women to put their names on a birth certificate. And now of course, the legislation is far beyond that. Multiple parents can put their names on a birth certificate, and the donor is not considered a father. It’s pretty, I don’t know, huge or something, to see yourself in history. And now to recognize that that history is now helping me become a parent, and become a legal parent because I won’t be carrying our child. And of course, you know, then there’s my other mom, Lois, who is my non-biological mom. And of course, you know, she’s been a huge help to me because I am going to be a non-biological parent. And the really cool thing is that when I become a non-biological parent, I have someone to talk to about it because, while I don’t believe that blood is family, you know? Of course. And that it’s the people who raise you and love you who are your family, inevitably there are going to be challenges that come up. Just because of, you know, big dominant hetero-patriarchal narratives that we’re taught. And I get to turn to mom when those things come up. And I feel… I don’t know. That’s really, really special.

And so, you know, also in this process… Like, so I was conceived through anonymous, an anonymous donor. And this was in the days before ID Release, so I’ll never be able to know who my donor was. But, I just kind of always thought that that’s the direction my mom’s wanted to go in. And you know, because obviously at the time, their rights were so much more limited than they are now. And they had… Yeah, very, very few legal… Like, the law was just not on their side. So, I just always thought they wanted to go the anonymous route. And, I knew that they had asked, maybe one known person to be my donor and it didn’t work out. But actually what I discovered, just, you know, now that we talk a whole lot about sperm donation, is that is the route that they wanted to go. They wanted to go the known donor route, and they asked many people, and they were turned down by everyone. And so finally, eventually, you know, and my mom wasn’t getting any younger, they made the decision to go through a sperm bank. I don’t know why for me this has been big news. But it’s actually really changed the way that I’ve seen my conception process. I just didn’t realize how long it was for my parents. And how long as queer people we have to plan and make these awkward asks for people’s sperms. And you know, that’s the sole reason my partner and I don’t already have kids, is because, you know, this suddenly forces you to ask all these questions, and make all these decisions that like, you know, when you have sperm and a uterus in a relationship, all you have to do is… You know, and this is something that my parent’s always say. I don’t know, I’ve just kind of held this with me my entire life, you know? All you have to do is, go out, have a nice meal, have a glass of wine, come home, have sex, and get pregnant. And obviously I know that for all people, people in that situation, that it’s not always that easy and people still experience fertility issues. But there’s something about prioritizing love and pleasure in baby conception that is just so beyond my wildest imaginations. And again, it’s like, why I thought it was a good idea to be straight when I was younger—because I would get to do that. And you know, there’s a part of me that just would really love to just be able to knock my partner up. You know? One night, one random night. And that is not something obviously that I’m going to be able to do. But, I have my mom’s… I have my mom’s in good company. So, yeah. That was episode 3 of Doing Things With Two Moms.


10 minutes, 4 seconds


Sadie Epstein-Fine , “Doing Things, Episode 3 - Choosing A Sperm Donor,” The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions, accessed May 20, 2024,