I’m not going to go into the specifics and details of our interactions with potential donors as that seems inappropriate. When we first started thinking about having a baby we thought long and hard about whether we wanted a known donor or an anonymous one. There are pros and cons to each and I found it hard to decide on what I wanted to do. We’d already ruled out completely anonymous donation via a clinic – the cost was too high especially when you consider trying to conceive 3 times per cycle, plus it had that very impersonal feel of having to go via a clinic. As you will see this is not a romantic process at all but we did want to keep some semblance of us creating this baby together. That rapidly goes out the window when doctors are involved.
Initially we didn’t know about the existence of places like Cryos and so our first thought was asking friends or using something like Pride Angel to meet someone willing to help. Both of these would come under the known donor heading for me – meeting a stranger through Pride Angel would lead to the donor becoming known as there would need to be conversations face to face, contracts and meet-ups several times a month.
I’m going to be a little abstract here as I don’t feel too comfortable sharing interactions with those friends who we asked and who were kind enough to consider. Suffice to say asking a friend to be your sperm donor is one of the more terrifying conversations to have and also, for us, demonstrated the love and respect we had for the individuals we asked. We restricted our choices to men who already had children to reduce the chance of something being wrong donor-side if we were struggling to conceive which also shortened our list.
It’s hard not to feel rejected when people say no. Really hard. It’s also hard to reconcile some of the reasons given with your own feelings about the process and about how you view what is going on. Every reason given is valid for the person giving it regardless of whether it fits with your outlook – as hard as that may be in the moment. I personally really struggled with this part of the process – with having to ask someone else’s permission (in effect) to start a family. It’s hard to have someone outside of your relationship dictate whether this can happen. I’ve used quite emotive words there and that is not a reflection on any of our potential donors who were all lovely. It’s just how it felt from my side as the person who actually has no input (biologically) already, to have to wait for someone to agree to help. Unreasonably or not I felt angry and frustrated that the decision to start trying to conceive was not solely within mine and biomum’s control, that a third party, however vital, had a say.
This was one of things that drew me to places like Cryos. It felt like taking back control of the process for ourselves. Order the sperm, have it delivered and away we go. It felt impersonal and I wasn’t sure if I liked that. We could search by characteristic, sure, we could even go for extended profiles with more detailed background information, but we had no idea who these men were. Whether we would like them if we met them. It felt detached.
Fortunately for us, at the point where previous potentials hadn’t worked out, we got an offer. Yep, that elusive and mystical offer. Someone actually volunteered to help us start our family. Not only that but our thoughts about what we wanted were in sync. The contract writing was pretty easy (once we found a template) and every discussion about what needs to happen has been relaxed and involved a great deal of humour. Believe me, if you’re doing this yourselves, you need a lot of humour. We could not ask for better people (donor and his wife) to be doing this with and their willingness to help and their support and encouragement is invaluable and so, so appreciated.