Family Values – Inlander, November 2004

Family Values

By Leah Sottile

If you’re having trouble conceiving a child, the last place that you’d likely look for ways to quell your woes would probably be the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. On the other hand, who better to learn from on how to deal with conception troubles than two women?

Spokane residents Susan and Tonya Lyons have been a couple for 11 years. About three years into their relationship, they decided they wanted to start a family. Doctors informed them that it typically takes about three attempts for artificial insemination to work. For the Lyonses, however, it took four years, 14 attempts and three anonymous sperm donors. Their story is told in The Lyons: A Real Family, a documentary set to show at this weekend’s film festival.

“It was a roller coaster of emotions, especially when you think you’re going to find out you’re pregnant around Christmas,” Susan explained in an interview with the documentary’s director, Frank Gaimari, “and then you get the phone call explaining that you’re not pregnant. Let me tell you, Christmas is not the same.”

“The hope that we would one day conceive pulled Tonya and me through all the disappointments,” she says.

And after all of their waiting, Susan and Tonya finally were pregnant. With triplets.

After watching the Lyons go through so much heartache, Gaimari decided to make the 30-minute documentary about their plight.

“This film is about determination,” he says. “It captures the emotions, and hardships of a loving couple unwilling to accept defeat in the process of starting a family.”

“The Lyons and I hope this film inspires others who are thinking about creating a family or have had difficulties with conception,” he adds.

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