Say What?! 5 Bad Questions for Gay Parents

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com August 19 2011 6:00 AM ET

Despite the fact that as many as a quarter of gay households include children, the intricacies of conception, birth, and custody are hot-button issues for those who can’t help but suppress their curiosity. As enlightened as our friends, families, and acquaintances are, some just need to know the sperm-egg combination that resulted in the cutie in the stroller. Others can’t imagine how difficult it is to have gay parents, when in reality, the kid thinks it’s just fine as long as he gets his diaper changed as needed. Family law attorney and gay parent Dan Bloom examines frequently asked questions and how to answer.

Q: How much did you pay for them? 

Dan Bloom: That question is never asked of heterosexual parents, but for some reason people ask it freely when they discover a gay couple had children with the assistance of a surrogate. My answer is typically, “I don’t know — I’ve never even thought about it that way.” If asked in front of the kids, it makes them feel like a commodity, as if they were purchased on the open market. 

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Q:  Where did you get the eggs/sperm? Whose egg/sperm did you use? 

Dan Bloom: If someone asks the question in front of our children, I respond with something completely off topic that makes it clear the question is not going to be addressed. If asked in private, outside the presence or our children, we volunteer that we utilized an anonymous egg donor and a gestational surrogate. When people ask whose sperm we used, we do not answer the question — even if asked by family or best friends. I often say, “That’s not a question we answer.” Or, if it’s someone who we think could benefit from a more detailed answer, I’ve responded “We feel very strongly that information belongs to our children. If they ask the question, we’ll tell them. They can then decide if, how, and when they share it.”

BAD QUESTIONS PREGNANT WOMEN X560 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM

Q:  Whose children are they? 

Dan Bloom: This is the question that probably pisses me off the most. It would never be asked of heterosexual parents. My responses have included “I don’t understand your question” or “If I understand your question correctly, we’re both their parents.” Sometimes we just say, “They’re both of ours.” When asked in front of the kids, it’s horribly confusing to them — they have no conception of why the question would ever be posed.

BAD QUESTIONS TWO DADS X560 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM

Q:  How long have you had them? 

Dan Bloom: Again, it’s a question that’s never asked of heterosexual parents. Our answer is always the same: “We took them home from the hospital.”

BAD QUESTIONS DAD AND DAUGHTER X560 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM

Q:  Isn’t having gay parents hard on them? 

Dan Bloom: No. Our children have two parents who love them dearly and grandparents and family who worship them. Their friends view their family no differently than everyone else’s. Our favorite compliment to receive is when people tell us how happy our children appear to be — which happens frequently. 

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However, Bloom will gladly answer one question.

Q:  Do you still have contact with the egg/sperm donor? 

Dan Bloom: People ask us all of the time if we stay in touch with our surrogate, and it’s one of the questions we happily answer.  We maintain a relationship with her, talk about her with our kids, send pictures back and forth, and look forward to our children getting to know her in a way that makes them comfortable. Our children came into the world in a wonderful way, and they should know everything they want to know about it in a developmentally appropriate manner. If people ask about the egg donor, we tell them simply it was an anonymous donation.