I can never make a decision for the life of me.
What if I end up not liking it? What if it isn’t the best available option? What if my decision makes someone else upset? What if I have made the wrong decision?
In the past, I have had other people make my decisions for me. What make up product do I want to buy? The reviews tell me which one to buy. What song should I add to a playlist? The Top100 list is available, so I will just pick something from there. What should I wear? I’ll just buy everything that is already styled on a mannequin to complete my look. If reviews and experts can’t make the decision for me, I usually turn to my family. I can’t even want to imagine the number of emails that were sent to my family from ages 20-35 with me asking, “what should I do?”
Once my divorce settled and I started living on my own, I began to hear a faint voice telling me what I wanted and I finally started developing an opinion. That being said, I still depend on the opinion of everyone else way too much when making major decisions (people pleaser, say what?) I don’t want to mess up or have any regrets. I still don’t know if this is my anxiety or if this is just my personality.
So imagine trying to find a sperm donor on your own when all you want is the opinion of everyone else. There are no reviews or Top100 lists. You can’t even physically meet the person and know right away if you like someone.
As mentioned in previous posts, I asked my family to help me with the process of picking a donor but they kept insisting that I do it on my own. At first, I felt unsupported because I thought I needed their help to make one of the most important decisions in my life. Turns out, they gave me a gift. I found my sperm donor on my own and feel absolutely incredible that it was my decision and mine alone. Now, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I never thought I’d be using a sperm donor, writing about using a sperm donor, or even using three separate blogs to write about the topic of a sperm donor – yet here I am! For me, this was a really important decision and one that altogether took me about 50 hours.
So who is my sperm donor? Well let me introduce him. Please know that I can’t actually introduce him according to the law or show you his childhood pictures or his donor essay. I don’t even know his name – all I know him by is his donor number. Here is what I can tell you about him:
- He is CMV negative. Most people are CMV positive but I am CMV negative. If a CMV positive sperm donor combines with a CMV negative person, you need to sign a form at the clinic because there is a chance that this combination could lead to developmental delays in children.
- He is healthy. When I looked at my sperm donor’s records, I could see that he is very healthy (both physically and emotionally) and that his parents and grandparents are all healthy. He was also tested for genetic diseases and when reading through this list, everything looked great. There were some sperm donors that I loved but I would have to sign a form that they tested positive for a genetic disease saying that “I fully understood that there were risks associated with picking that donor.” Those forms scared me too much. No genetic disease form needed for this girl!
- His baby picture and features are somewhat like mine. At the beginning of this process, I kept trying to find someone that looked like me. Then I realized that it was more important to me to have someone with a super clean health record than it was for me to have someone that looked like me. He actually looks A LOT less like me than I thought so I really surprised myself in my final choice.
It’s so funny because when you buy sperm, you send the clinic a donor number. The whole time I was kept making sure that I was typing out the correct donor number. What would happen if the clinic got the vials mixed up? Isn’t that somewhat like the plot of Jane the Virgin TV series?
- He has a really positive vibe. Sperm donors are interviewed and I got to listen to a twenty minute interview with him. For whatever reason, I felt as though he was really kind. This is also partly because of his line of work. When he was talking about his work and how he likes to help people, I felt an immediate connection.
I also really enjoyed reading his essay. In a donor’s essay they are asked questions like, “what is your earliest childhood memory.” While reading his essay, I felt a huge connection to what he was saying.
I feel like the donor essay is a really good way to get to know the person better. I was looking at one donor in the process who I thought I was my “perfect donor.” Unfortunately my decision changed as soon as I read that he hopes his child knows that “the kid isn’t important. Kids think they are so important but I would just tell them that they are just another person on the planet. They aren’t special.” For some, this would be a great answer. For me, this just somewhat clashed with my value system.
5. He is an intelligent person. This was a complete added bonus. I did want someone that could write complete sentences but his level of intelligence far exceeds mine (from what I can tell) both in his writing and in his interview. I am also more of a creative thinker and he is more of a logical thinker.
6. He is an Open ID Donor. This means that at the age of 18, if my future child wants to know more about him, the child can write to the sperm bank and get his information. This one was probably the most important to me because I want my future child to decide how he/she wants to proceed with this information.
7. His sperm is available – so many sperm donors that I began to love, were no longer available. It’s also not like I had a lot to choose from. As you know, I looked at three different companies. After reading about some health concerns from one of the companies, I eliminated that one right away. From there, I could select from either Can-Am Cryoservices (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) or Repromed (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). I’d say that after going through my checklist, there were probably about eight from each that I could pick from.
8. Canadian ID Release – my sperm donor is from an American sperm bank. There are two sperm banks in the US (in my knowledge) that transport sperm to both Can-Am and Repromed. The amount of men in Canada that donate sperm is very few (they also don’t get paid). In the US, they do get paid so I think this is possibly why there are a few more donors to choose from.
9. He did not already have a positive pregnancy. This is something that I was hoping would not be the case. It feels a bit better to me knowing that the sperm donor has been able to get a woman pregnant. So why did I still go with him?
When I read up on this, I found that people said it wasn’t that bad. At least I knew that there weren’t thousands of babies born from the same donor. Plus, your donor will not be absolutely perfect so I was willing to still go with him even after this info.
There is also something available called the “sibling registry.” If there is a confirmed birth you can put their info in a sibling registry. Eventually if my future baby wants to get into contact with his/her sibling, he/she can do so.
My fertility doctor at Mount Sinai told me “don’t get too attached to your sperm donor.” Unfortunately, I did not follow her advice and knew who I really wanted. Truth be told, I didn’t get my first choice as a donor. His sperm was out of stock and they didn’t know when/if he would have any vials in the future.
From there, I got to select my second choice. He is my donor and the one I am writing about today. Thankfully I got his sperm in time! I’ve said to a couple friends that buying sperm is like buying something at the Winner’s Department Store. For those of you outside of Canada, Winners is a store that offers beautiful clothes at a fraction of the price. If you don’t buy the item from Winners right away, it is always sold out when you go back to their store. Buying sperm is the exact same – you think the vials are there and it appears as though the vials are there. When I picked my American donor, I saw that he was available at both Can-Am and Repromed so I called both sperm banks. Although Repromed showed online that there were many vials of my sperm donor available, this was not the case. They only had one vial left and Can-Am was completely out of stock.
Without hesitation, I bought the first vial and I have the other two being shipped to Toronto, Ontario, Canada right now.
Overall, I feel as though I have made the best choice given everything available to me. I didn’t get the opinion of anyone else looking through sperm donor pictures or information and did it all on my own. There were a lot of times I needed to pause when finding a sperm donor. Once I did write about what was really holding me back from finding a sperm donor, I felt so free and was able to start the search again within a week after writing that blog post.
So thank you for supporting me and for allowing me to get through tough times by having this blog as an outlet for all of my thoughts.
Some of you are reading this because you are in the process of becoming a Single Mother by Choice or maybe you are trying to get pregnant, but your partner has a low sperm count so you are finding yourself going through the sperm donor catalogue. Just wanted to wish you good luck on your search – it can take a lot out of you emotionally.
Others of you are my family and friends who are interested in following me on my journey and for that, I say thank you. Thank you for being open to learning about this process. Thank you for also feeling as though you can ask me questions about this journey and for not judging me on my path.
A few of you may be reading this and may be actually thinking about going through the process yourself. If you are thinking about this, know that right now, I feel as though it is totally worth it. I have found inner strength that I didn’t even know I had. I’ve also found that this process has been like holding a mirror up to my face and has made me examine and question things in my life that I was trying to avoid.
Please also know that after all of this decision making, it may not even work. I am trying three IUI’s and I have about a 20% chance of getting pregnant for each IUI cycle. Altogether this process is going to cost me about $6,000 – $8,000 thanks to government support.
Fingers crossed this all works out and that this entire process of choosing a sperm donor was worthwhile. Time will tell.
Next Week: Can I please just start the process? No? Okay. Cool.