The Sweet Stories of Gay Men Who Donate Sperm to Lesbian Friends

It's an arrangement that, over the past few decades, has become a near-cliché: gay men who donate sperm to lesbian couples so they can conceive children biologically.

The setup was enshrined in Queer as Folk, one of TV's most influential queer series, and has been studied by a number of researchers. Some of their kids call them "donor dads"; others simply call them by their names. In the broad spectrum of queer identities, these men are daddies in the literal sense, and their lives have been forever changed by the relationships that ensue with the mothers and their children.

What is life like for gay men who donate sperm to lesbian couples? For many, having kids was never a consideration until they were asked for their sperm; others imagined they might one day, but hadn't figured out the details. Each situation is wholly singular, from whether and to what extent donors enter their children's lives down to how each party's rights are protected.

Disputes between mothers and their donors over child support or custody rights may make headlines, but much more often, the creation of biological offspring with queer friends leads to a unique, harmonious relationship, one that's both at the vanguard of our modern idea of "family" and becoming more common every day. Below, five gay men told VICE about the deeply individual, often triumphant after effects of queer-to-queer sperm donation.