Being a carnival sheep again, with this week’s theme “Talkin’ Bout Donor Sperm.”
We’ve talked about this topic many times in previous entries, so I’ll sum it up here. Choosing sperm was not hard for us. We both felt right off the bat that there was no one we knew, either closely or not, that we wanted as a known donor. It just didn’t feel like the right decision. In fact, we viewed sperm as just one missing ingredient in the creation of our child, and not much more than that. We knew the ingredient we needed would be the product of some college-aged guy jerking off into a cup for money. And that was perfectly fine with us. I’m all for people making money in ways that benefit others. However, since we had some choice in the matter, we did think about what would be important to us regarding half of the genetic make-up of our child. Mainly, since Nutella would already be contributing half of her genetic material, we wanted the other half to be as similar as possible to me, if I had a penis. We wanted a guy who was on the shorter side, with red hair and blue eyes, either musical or artistic talent, and decent intelligence. Beyond that, the other things we wanted for our child could only benefit him or her- good eyesight and teeth, and a clean bill of health both physically and mentally. This left us with a small group of donors at the bank we chose. We whittled the group down further because Nutella was CMV- so our donor had to be as well. We did have a wonderful guy picked out, but we didn’t go with him because schizophrenia was in his family background (as it is in Nutella’s as well). So we went with another guy we liked, whom we refer to as Eagle Scout.
We chose anonymous sperm *gasp* Again, we saw the whole process as us missing a key ingredient to get pregnant, no daddy figure needed and no daddy figure wanted, present or future. Yes we made this decision for our son, but parents frequently make decisions that limit or deny a child’s preferences. It was what we felt comfortable with, although we would always be honest with our son about his roots, our decision, and share with him the booklet we got about the donor, including answers to questions written in the donor’s own hand. For a long time, we thought to ourselves, “Well, if the donor hadn’t chosen to be anonymous, we wouldn’t have chosen him in the first place, and Curly wouldn’t be who Curly is.” That is wholeheartedly true. Unfortunately, and I’m not getting into it again here because we’ve already been through that song and dance on this blog, the donor changed his mind and is now willing to be contacted when Curly turns 18. So, in the same sense that we had taken that decision from Curly, now it’s taken from us. Boo-ya.
As the non-bio mom, I never felt slighted by the process of Nutella getting pregnant without my help (although it was definitely with my support), and with some random guy’s spooge. We didn’t feel the need to do inseminations at home, although we considered it. It was all very scientific, but exciting to us, and again, that was fine. I’m not going to be sad about not having been able to contribute my DNA to our child because that’s just how nature is set up. And with all that said, Curly couldn’t be more different than Nutella! She was having full-on conversations with strangers by 18 months but barely walking by then. She was independent to the point of being obnoxious. She was loud and proud and boisterous and Curly….not so much. In fact, Curly is much more like me, even though I had nothing to do with it. Of course, the thumb sucking sure seems genetic…
He does look like a good combination of the both of us though, and we were really going for that. Nutella did want a redheaded son to match her redheaded wife, but he has beautiful blonde curls. Very light skin, but very dark eyes. Beautiful lips and a great smile. People usually can’t tell who the bio mom is, and sometimes based on his hair alone, they incorrectly guess it’s me.
So any way you make your decision… you get what you get! Thanks, donor man.
I love your take on this. You remind me of my wife – she feels exactly the same way.
Much of your feelings on anonymous donors match those of my wife and I. We wanted our family to be just that–ours–with no confusion about who the parents are,etc. It’s Funny though. We’ve gotten a lot of shocking looks when we tell people the donor is anonymous. Its good to hear the stories of others who had similar decision-paths.
i agree it’s nice to hear from another family that chose an anon donor, i feel like we are in SUCH the minority, it makes me question if we did the right thing.
the story about your donor switching to WTBK has stuck with me; i check in on ours every now and again, wondering/worrying that he switched too… doesn’t seem fair – not what you bargained for.
I’m smiling as I type this; I love your voice here. I’ve always been fascinated when you write about this – in some sense, it is pretty different from my mindset, yet I very much respect where you’re coming from. Thanks for sharing it. It gives me lots o’ food for thought.
Our bank requires that you complete a form upon birth or the child can’t get access tomthe donors infomwhen they are 18. I wonder if yours has the same? Although with the Internet in 16 years I wonder how much of that will matter.
And just from my perspective, a known or WTBK donor,definitely doesn’t equal a daddy, or even a daddy figure.
Tell Curly we said HI!:)
Your perspective is our perspective, to the tee. We too picked a red headed donor, etc to mirror my partners characteristics. She’s taller however so our donor is tall, otherwise I would have wondered if we used the same college aged dude : ) we also chose anon because we only needed the ingredient, not the relationship…
it’s really frustrating to have external circumstances change the “story” you had in mind to tell curly. i can only imagine how dizzying that discovery must have felt.
(btw, i wrote a longish response to your comment over on our blog…come to that, i might have to write another post….)
we picked an anonymous donor too, although my partner had wanted one who was wtbk. the dynamics of the blogosphere played out in the microcosm of our household. i saw things the way you guys did while dragon placed more importance on the whole knowing thing. in the end, we chose our donor because he looked like dragon in his baby picture and shared some of her characteristics. being a family aesthetically trumped more genetic information.
i wonder if maybe those of us with anonymous donors don’t blog much about it because it just isn’t as important to us?
Love the heading and the whole post. The twists and turns of the donor process. The province where I live the court has overthrown anonymous sperm and egg donation. It is still being worked out how exactly that will effect everyone. I feel like a guinea pig in this process sometimes.
So crazy that the guy changed his mind! We picked a donor that shared some physical characteristics with my partner too. It’s funny, because my daughter looks so much like me as a baby, and people say that my son resembles my partner. We’ve had a hard time convincing people that she didn’t donate an egg to me!
Awww…we like to say we adopted some sperm to have our beautiful family. The boys will get all the info we have on our donor when they are old enough. I’ve never thought it odd to have an anonymous donor. I wouldn’t want the emotional ties to a known donor. Our family has two parents period is my take on it. But I am very grateful to our donor–without him we would not have our wonderful boys. I agree with one commenter that who knows what the future holds in terms or kids tracking down donors or whatever. We also selected a donor with my (non-bio mom’s) ethnic background and hair color. Always makes me smile when people comment on how much our younger guy looks like me. “Like me without the family gene (troubles)” is what I always think happily whenever I hear it! -Monica