For the LGBTQ+ lawyers, if your firm offers reproductive assistance, how did you start the process of planning to start a family? Are there better years as an associate to target having a child? How do you (or should you) approach it with your partner leadership, or should you just dive right in with the HR contacts? Any advice would be really appreciated!

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Unless you are particularly close to a partner in your firm who is discreet, you might not want to bring it up with the firm management until they actually need to know. You could reach out to HR or even a benefits hotline to see what, if anything, your insurance provides.
I became a single mom through artificial insemination but did not share the news with anyone until I was pretty far along and wanted to give the partner I worked with most a heads up and have a backstop if needed.
I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but getting pregnant and giving birth can be an easy path or a not-so-easy path, and you might want to keep plans close to the vest to protect your privacy during your journey —- People gossip or say more than they should, even law partners who should know better!
That is not to say you shouldn’t confide in colleagues who are also actual friends - when i did announce my pregnancy, other colleagues I was friendly with confided they and their partners were seeking donors, doing in vitro, etc. it is nice to have people you can trust to discuss the process with, but I do not think you need to tell management and there may be downsides to doing so

upliftingsmart

That’s incredibly helpful feedback - I really appreciate it!

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In terms of better years, I'd say earlier the better. The biological clock is real and a lot of people wait too long and then find out it's too late for them to have kids. Also I know it feels like you're not ready "just yet," but it always feels like that, and getting older doesn't help. You just have to take the plunge and do it sooner rather than later. You might feel overwhelmed by work but trust me, you will adapt, and having a kid may help you realize (like I did) that your life is not defined by work, so don't stress about whether you're on a path for partnership or even if you'll stay at your current firm. There's more important things in life, and in my experience, having a kid is one of them.

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About to start this process now, thank you for asking! Following for answers.

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