I’ve been spending some time on various Facebook groups at the moment, many of which are for ladies who are trying to conceive with a sperm donor. I’m also a member of a few groups that are for both donors and recipients and act as introduction groups to get baby making journies on the way.
These groups have always been a little bit, shall we say, odd? Obviously anywhere that there are vulnerable women (such as women desperate for a baby) you will find predatory men unfortunately. We realised this very early on with an encounter with our first donor – who is consequently now on the sex offenders’ register due to his donation related activities. My point being, it’s very hard to find a donor who is reliable, trustworthy and most importantly of all, safe.
So, as a lady or a couple looking for a donor, I would have thought there were a certain number of precautions one would take in order to protect the interests of you and your future family. It seems not. Some ladies appear to be just looking for “a sperm. Any sperm” and don’t care at all about what that entails.
One of the things that scares me most is when I see this kind of advert – “donor needed today. Milton Keynes. AI only. Must travel to us in next 24 hours“. Really? That quick? You don’t want to get to know this person a bit? Find out a bit about them? Find out about the characteristics that they will bestow onto the child that you are hoping to concieve? Make sure they’re safe? Make sure they have up to date STI tests? Make sure they don’t have any nasty genetic illnesses? No? Ok…
“I’m not tracking my cycles. I need someone to donate every other day for my whole cycle.” Now, I know there are donors out there who will do this, and good for them. But what bothers me with this situation is that tracking your cycle is helpful for everyone. Knowing when you ovulate means that you aren’t wasting yours and your donor’s time with donations that have no chance of succeeding. I always think that if I want my donor to make the effort to take time out of his day to travel to me and donate, it should be for a reason. Not just a “shot in the dark” approach. There’s nothing worse than seeing women talking about how their period is “late” and yet they have no idea how long their cycle is or when they ovulated. I can’t imagine it’s a comfortable position for them, either.
“OPKs are too expensive”. The less I say about this, the better. I pick up 100 OPKs from Amazon for under ten pounds. If that is too much, I think it’s time to reconsider trying for a baby as they cost a fair bit more than ten pounds every couple of months. Same goes for when people say temping is “too much effort” but moan because they don’t know what is going on with their cycles. My thermometer was two pounds from Ebay and it takes ten seconds to take your temperature and plot it on a chart. Other objections? Fine. OPKs don’t work for you? Fair enough. But don’t try and tell me that these things are “too expensive” when what you’re trying to achieve will fill your life with new expenses.
“I don’t want my donor to come to my house but I can’t afford a hotel“. I get it. Lots of ladies don’t want their donor to come to their house lest they stake some claim on the child in the future. It’s about anonymity. However, it’s again about responsibility. I’ve seen women ask men to donate in Mcdonald’s Car Parks, in Starbucks toilets and in their local pub. Think about it. Is that really how you want your child to be concieved? Not to mention the fact that if your donor is caught “producing the goods” in a car park or public toilet that could be a hefty fine levied on them. Also, again this is the future biological other half of your child. If you can’t trust them to come to your house, how on Earth are you trusting them to get you pregnant?!
“I need a donnor/doner/donar/donner.” Donor. It’s donor. Donner is a kebab. Are you looking for a kebab? If you can’t take the time to look it up and spell it correctly, you probably shouldn’t be advertising for one. Especially in this world of computers and spell check there is just no reason for some of the ways I see donor spelt.
Anyway. My point being, it’s about RESPECT. Respect for yourself and your partner. Respect for your donor and respect for your future child. Your future baby deserves for you to take a bit of care over this. It’s not just a sperm. This is the biological other half of your future baby. This person, the donor, might give your child their eye colour. Might give them their sense of humour. Might give them their hair colour or the way they move. Might influence their developmental miletones and what illnesses they may or may not develop. It’s not just a sperm.
Yes, there’s a lot of weirdos out there on both sides of the equation. There’s men out there who refer to their sperm as a “magic potion” and charge fifty pounds for their pot of goop. There’s men who agree to artificial insemination and then try to push sex on women. There’s men who won’t provide STI tests. There’s men who have over a hundred donor children. But on the other side of the equation, there are wonderful, selfless, helpful men who just want to assist you in achieving your dream. Taking a bit of time and effort over choosing a donor helps you to find the good ones, because the only way to find a donor who respects you and your future child, is to have a bit of respect for yourself and your partner.
It’s not just a sperm. This is one half of your future baby. One half of the person that will be your legacy to this world. One half of the person that you are going to spend the next twenty years nurturing and raising. What’s more important than getting that choice right? Think about that.
Wow! I knew the male half of the equation included predators and idiots, but I probably should have guessed the female half did too. Some of those examples make me want to scream / punch someone.
Very well written again Laura.
I agree that if someone can’t take/make the time and effort to conceive a child in a respectable way then they probably shouldn’t be trying in the first place.
OPK’S are certainly not expensive,not in the grand scheme of things! !
hahahaha, well said! I enjoyed reading this.
Yes! It’s amazing how many people get it so wrong from so many points of view. Idk if it ever happened to you, but I’ve had straight friends literally say “why don’t you just go to a bar and hook up with some guy?”
Aside from the fact that I’m married and I’m pretty sure my wife would rip me limb from limb…. Why would I ever be so careless with my future child’s DNA?!
I get this post I really really do, but I found it slightly offensive the comment about money. There will never be the perfect time for me or my fiance to try and have a child, especially not financially. When we try to have a child, (sidenote: to be fair I’m American, so maybe the US system is more crooked) we will face drs who will not want to take us on because we are gay, we will have drs who will refuse treatment to said baby because we are gay, we will have drs who well meaning will have no clue how to treat us because we are gay, and to get to my point we will have drs doing extra testing, tacking on countless extra expenses because we are two women. And I’ve already seen so many articles, forums, blogs, etc etc telling gay women (and even gay men) well you shouldn’t have kids if you can’t automatically buy x, y, or z. Just because your gay you should never ask for help in trying to adopt or concieve a child, financially that is. I didn’t realize a person had to make x amount of dollars to even consider being a parent. And yes quite possibly I am overreacting, it’s just frustrating. I am truly sorry if this is not the place to post this. I enjoy your blog and reading your story.
I totally 100% agree. That’s not how I meant for it to come across. Maybe I will reword. My point was specifically OPKs. £10. That’s a small amount and if you can’t afford that it’s probably time to rethink. The expensive Clearblue OPKs are the opposite side of the story. Whether a couple can afford £40 for smiley face sticks is no concern of mine, but it’s the small stuff. The basics
Great post. The points you made are the same ones that went through our heads when we decided to go with a known donor. While one-night-stands with a man in a bar or sperm “bought” from some guy on craigslist can still make a beautiful, healthy baby (power to anyone who went this route and it paid off), my wife and I are way too overprotective of our future child’s health and well-being to take that risk.
Interesting read. I always assumed if I wanted children but not with a male partner, I’d go to a clinic because I could be sure of the testing and validity. It wouldn’t occur to me to take backstreet avenues with something so important. That said I suppose there’s desperation, lack of funds and lack of education as well as other things at play here that we might not know. Sometimes even the most financially prepared, with the perfect genetics make terrible, terrible parents.
Exactly. An informal arrangement was always the way for us as we wanted to actually know the donor and know how many children they have. With a clinic donor, obviously you only get certain information but no one can tell you if they’ve donated privately as well as to a clinic. I know of one donor who has donated to clinics in the UK and the US and also has about 70 donor kids through private arrangements. That scared the hell out of me.
I think if well thought out an executed responsibly, there’s no real difference between the two avenues. For me I wanted to know the donor, but I know some ladies prefer complete anonymity. Takes all sorts.
For us it was also cost. My personal opinion is that fertility clinics are for fertility problems, and the only problem we knew about when we started trying was that we had no sperm. What clinics charge is completely extortionate, so we didn’t want to go down that route unless there was a reason to.
Pingback: Are We Irresponsible? | Laura and Amy's Making a Baby Adventure