LMAF2: Donor Sperm

I’m participating in the Love Makes a Family Blog Carnival and today we’re talking about sperm donors.  I can’t wait to see what gifts the search engines bring me with this topic!

When we first decided to start a family, we were obsessed with finding a suitable donor.  We analyzed every feature and read every essay looking for clues into the person who would contribute half of our future child’s DNA.  It was all about the “feel” of the donor – did he seem nice?  Funny?  Smart?  How much did he look like S?  After scouring the donor catalogs at many different banks, we finally fell in love with a donor who was nothing short of perfect – a 140 IQ, nearly perfect SAT scores, a great medical history, with the same dark hair and dark eyes as my partner.  Fearing a shortage, we bought a year’s worth of samples, and since we were both kind of icked out by the idea of buying sperm on the internet, we gave the donor an alias – Geoffrey.

Of course, this was a major rookie mistake.  Not just getting too attached, but also locking ourselves down.  I mean, what would we have done with that many leftover samples if we would have gotten pregnant on the first or second try?  We also didn’t think about the fact that we might want to switch donors after multiple failed IUIs – you know, change something up and at least have the illusion of having some control over the process.  We never considered how we would feel about using the same donor after a miscarriage.  We didn’t think about any of that stuff.  As much as we loved him to start, it was all, “thanks for nothing, asshole” by the time the samples were gone.  Geoffrey was a total bust.

Post-Geoffrey, we were broke and bitter and desperate.  We switched from ExpensiveCryo to CheaperCryo (which last I checked is now out of business) and began using donor #2.  We knew so little about #2 that we couldn’t even give him a name.  Brown hair, blue eyes, high counts, and that was about it.  For a couple of months, we engaged in some haphazard, Hail Mary inseminations – “throwing sperm at the problem” as it were.  Finally, we decided to move to IVF.  And that is how we met Billy.

Once we made the leap to IVF, we both agreed that we should switch back to ExpensiveCryo, which provides tons of information about its donors (ker ching!).  Since we knew that we would have a better chance of getting pregnant than with our previous attempts, we felt it was worth the money to have multiple adult and child pictures, a detailed medical history, and even the donor’s Kiersey Temperament Sorter results.  Neither of us was willing to take another chance with Geoffrey, so I called the bank and asked for a list of donors with “super sperm” – donors with exceptionally high counts, high motility rates and high live birth numbers.  Shockingly, they did make some recommendations, and based off of those recommendations we chose a donor who mostly met all of our criteria – except for the fact that he was wearing a hideously ugly western shirt in his adult picture.  S dubbed him Billy, “short for hillbilly.”

Of course, you all know how this story turns out – IVF worked and we are now blessed with an amazing child.  We almost never think about the donor and (surprisingly) our families don’t seem to have any interest either.  S’s family has embraced Christopher 100% as their own blood and frequently comments on how much he is like them (which I love).  My family seems to be more hung up on the biology, but Christopher looks just like my dad and so everyone just points that out.  Thankfully, no one has ever referred to Christopher’s donor as his “father” – I was worried about that but it’s essentially been a non-issue so far.

In the rare instance that someone does ask about our donor, we don’t disclose any details.  No one has seen his pictures.  Although we are grateful to have so much information about him, we don’t view this information as ours to share.  Someday, we will explain to Christopher how he came to be and tell him how grateful we are to his donor, but we do not view the donor or his offspring as Christopher’s family and we have no interest in contacting or developing relationships with donor siblings (although we would not discourage that if Christopher wanted to pursue it one day). 

When selecting a donor, you make so many decisions.  Known or anonymous, open id or closed id, hair color, occupation, height and weight, reported pregnancies, CMV status.  While Christopher may ultimately disagree with some of the decisions we’ve made, I hope that he can understand why we made them and find peace in the fact that he was (and is) so, so wanted.

To meet another blogger who shares my passion for giving donors fake names, click here!

6 responses to “LMAF2: Donor Sperm

  1. Pingback: 9/26 Blog Carnival: Donor Sperm « Love Makes a Family Blog Carnival

  2. Pingback: To know or not to know | Journey Towards Our Baby

  3. it’s strange how many people seem not to get the difference between “being open about the existence of a donor” and “telling you every detail we know.” i’m fine with discussing eye color, for instance, but i don’t really want to talk about the rest of it, especially any detail i think could lead someone who is idly curious to figure out exactly which donor we used. i feel like some of that disclosure should be up to the Bean to decide about, you know?

  4. Very nice, and yes, we have similar views (which is comforting). I’m always so surprised at how attached people get to donors. I just don’t have that attachment to genetics so I can’t see it the same way. I think even if we decided to have another child, which we’re not, we would use an entirely new donor. It just doesn’t matter much to us….our kid is our kid no matter what the make-up.

  5. “thanks for nothing asshole” was exactly how I felt after my mc. That made me laugh. This post pretty much sums up our experience start to finish.

    Great post.

  6. This is a great post, thank you! We have each carried one of our children, and each has a different donor. It is always strange to me when queer folks get caught up in genetics, particularly around the issue of siblings. If we really do believe that love makes a family, why do we care so much about the details of the donor?
    I carried our first, and like you, I found my family of origin’s focus on genetics a little too much. Interestingly, our son looks very much like me AND my partner’s brother. Nobody focuses on the genetics of our daughter, perhaps because, interestingly , she looks like me and like her brother, or perhaps because they’ve had time to get over it, and can see that genetics and family have little to do with each other when one gets right down to it.

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