Family / Family-building

Finding Mr. Right Part 1

path winding through forest

© Betsy Archer Photography

When I was in middle school, I named my future children: Samantha and Alexandra. Sam and Alex for short. They would be soccer players and would have long brown hair like me. They would have my nose and my husband’s eyes. His name would be Jeff, and he would stay home with the girls while I worked as a psychologist or an astronaut. When I was twelve, I had no idea that I would end up choosing a sperm donor for my children off the Internet.

Things didn’t start out that way. One night, a close friend offered to donate his sperm to us. His wife was on board. Neither of them wanted kids. It seemed like an ideal situation. He is good looking, creative, and a smart-ass (like me). That was the plan for a long time until he got a different wife who wanted kids and it all started to feel too jumbled for comfort. When we told him we had decided to use another donor, we hurt him. That was the last thing we ever wanted to do because he is a dear friend. Thankfully, we have been able to move beyond our decision and remain in close contact.

We asked another friend to donate for us. He thought about it for a long time before he agreed. I appreciated that he took his time before giving us an answer. We were able to communicate our desires with him and he was able to communicate with us. We moved forward with legal paperwork and tried for the first time in June of 2008. It was seamless and easy, although awkward as we had his semen sitting in a salsa jar on the back of our toilet. S got pregnant first try. We were elated at how simple it all was. Then we lost the pregnancy a number of weeks later.

Our donor lived a plane ride away, so we were only able to try when he was in town, when we went to him or by having him ship the goods overnight. It started to get a little more complicated, but we were all on board. We kept trying for another year through these various methods, wedded to having this known donor. No luck. His life got complicated and S’s ovulation wasn’t always convenient. After much discussion amongst our selves, S and I decided that it wasn’t working with this donor anymore. Without talking to him, we made the decision to switch to a sperm bank. He never said it, but I think we hurt him deeply. I think he was more invested in being our donor than we knew. Unfortunately, we aren’t really in touch with him anymore, which is a shame. I regret that we didn’t talk to him before we made the decision to switch to a bank. I think a simple conversation could have helped save our relationship.  I am grateful that each step in this process led us to our son, but I miss this friend.

Check back next week for Part II of Finding Mr. Right!

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