August 23, 2017
I’ve bought a lot of things on the internet. A sub-section of those are things intended, in one way or another, for crotches (mine or clients’)…and we just added sperm to that list. This is the first time I’ve bought sperm on the internet, and it’s a lot to think about. My thoughts jump all over the place, and I ask myself endless questions. “Are you really really sure?” “Is that really all there is to it?” “How was this possibly legal? (“What if it wasn’t?!”) “What if we made the wrong choice?” “How does anyone ever choose from all these options?” “Is this overly impersonal?” “Am I strange for thinking this is the normalest thing ever?” “Did you really just hit confirm?!” “Do you think this is as bizarre as I do?” “How did we get here?”
Choosing donor gametes to build a baby is a big decision with a zillion potential factors, and everyone’s path differs. Sibyl was DIYed with help from a known sperm donor, a longtime friend, and the clearly obvious best choice at the time. He and I had discussed the possibility for years, and I never really had to think about my other options. We would have loved to have him participate again, so the kids would share that, and be genetic half siblings. But Sibyl’s donor declined when we asked whether he would donate again, which I had more sads about than I would have expected. Now we had to choose between finding another known donor, or going with an anonymous donor. If we were planning to do home inseminations again, we probably would have found another local known donor, as it’s so much easier with fresh sperm, but we are going through a clinic this time. Which means a potential known donor would have had to freeze sperm, and that requires a bunch of tests and a six month waiting period. Very expensive, but it would have been worth it for the sake of having the same donor, or someone we wanted to have a relationship with Kid2. As it stood, we didn’t have any such attachment to a particular known donor, so it was much cheaper and more straightforward to buy a single vial of ART sperm off the internet, since the reproductive endocrinologist can use one vial to make multiple embryos.
We looked at sperm banks. We knew that we couldn’t get an out queer donor, due to the same fucked up regulations as those restricting blood donors (one of the potential pros of choosing another known donor). But we DID find a handful of donors, at various banks across the country, who mentioned being vegan in their profiles. (We did not read every profile, but found enough through google’s crawl bots. Also, FYI, searching “vegan sperm donor” gives just as…interesting…results as you might expect.)
We’ve been asked about why vegan sperm matters, and for us, it’s not about sperm health, but rather an indicator that the person whose genes will help create Kid2 is compassionate and shares some of our ethics. It’s the closest we have to a religion in our family. Plus, we chose a “willing to be known donor,” which means that upon reaching 18, any children can initiate contact. So maybe someday, he will think it’s cool that his vegan sperm ended up becoming a vegan kid.
So anyway. I made us a chart of all the potential vegan sperm donors, as I am inclined to make charts for everything, and we had a lovely sweet dinner date talk about our priorities and dreams. We like the idea of our family sharing some physical characteristics, and Rowan wanted to find someone who maybe looks like me, so we narrowed it down to the ones with blue or hazel eyes, since that’s what we have in our family so far. We ruled out the tallest ones, and anyone who seemed tedious, pretentious, and mansplainy. We got it down to two and read more about each of them. The donor we settled on is actually the first one we’d ever looked at, when we thought maybe this is the only donor we’ll find who mentions being vegan. He has blue eyes like me and imperfect vision, like both of us as well as Sibyl’s donor. He and I share some aspects of upbringing. He has puberty-induced backne, like Rowan. He works in an unusual field that my cousin happens to work in as well. He was a cute kid, and he’s from the Pacific Northwest, which seems fitting.
So now we have some sperm. And the whole thing feel so much less theoretical.
Perinatal care specialist. Spouse and parent. Vegan; drinks a lot of tea. Hosted three fetuses: our big kid, a surrogacy, and now our second, due around Halloween. Board game (and generally) geeky. Goat hugger extraordinaire.
Read more about Jay here.