What a Week – Messages About My Donor, My Mass, and My Third Anatomy Ultrasound

(I see my OB more than I see my friends).

Part One: Is This Your Donor?

24 hours after I wrote my blog post about my donor, I received an email via my personal Facebook.

“Hi there! Totally random message haha but I saw your name on a Fairfax forum and I was wondering if this is the same person. Sorry to sound like a creep.”

It was in my “secret” inbox (where you get Facebook messages from people that aren’t on your list of friends).

I stared at the message for a minute. How did this person know my real name? Why wasn’t she messaging me on sarahseekingbaby?

Then it hit me. I had used my real name as my username on the Fairfax Sibling Registry Donor Page. I had typed a message asking if anyone used the same donor as me. How stupid was I? Why had I used my real name?

I clicked on the photo of the woman who had written to me and saw that she was married, living in the United States, and liked hunting turkeys.

“Haha! Totally is” I wrote back.

“Oh good! I was wondering what your experience was with using that donor and how many times it took if you don’t mind me asking. My husband and I are using a sperm donor and doing IUI. We searched and searched and he has made it to our number 1 choice.”

I wrote back about how much I loved the donor and how it had only taken me one round of IUI to get pregnant using his sperm. I gave as much information as I could and logged off.

Before I could figure out how I felt, I received a direct message on Instagram from someone that followed me on sarahseekingbaby.

“Is this your donor?” the woman asked, complete with a baby picture of my donor.

“Yes” I quickly typed back.

She explained that she originally wanted him to be her donor but he said some things in his interview that made her change her mind.

“Such a small world” I wrote back.

Then I started getting more questions from other people on Instagram.

“Is your donor number -”

There were a lot of messages and I was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable but I didn’t know why. 

I started worrying that I had given away way too many details about my donor. So many details that people were starting to identify him. 

I wanted my baby to be the first one to find out who the donor was. I wanted to allow him the decision to connect with his donor siblings if he wanted to.  Then I started to feel terrible.

I tried to delete my Fairfax (sperm bank) account and I couldn’t do it. 

“Please delete my username and delete my account at this time” I typed in an email to Fairfax. 

Then I went back to my blog from last week and deleted as many details as I could. Within 24 hours two people had identified him and I started to become worried that it would keep happening.

All of this was so new to me. I needed time to decide how I felt about donor siblings. I needed time to figure out if I should reach out to other people. It was all happening too fast so I shut it all down.

Have not heard from anyone since Monday evening which has given me peace. Sometimes the world is just too small.

Part Two: The Mass

On Wednesday I went for my Research Ultrasound at Mount Sinai (part of a group in a study where they are studying placenta).

“I need to tell you something” I said to the physician doing my ultrasound. “They detected a mass on my right side and I don’t know what it is.”

“Well let’s have a look” said the physician.

She stared at it for about ten minutes and showed me what it looked like on the screen.

“It is your appendix” she said. “You aren’t in any major pain? They didn’t do an MRI?”

“No to all of the above” I said.

“This is a little tricky but I am not giving up” she said.

After about five minutes of her magnifying the mass a smile formed on her face.

“I can say with 100% certainty that this is an ovarian cyst. Did you take fertility medication when you were trying to get pregnant?”

“Yes” I said.

“It was caused by that” she said.

I wanted to hug her. She didn’t need to look into the mass for me. I was having my anatomy ultrasound on Thursday. She gave me all of the answers that I needed and calmed me right down.

She then proceeded to do the research ultrasound but baby boy was moving around far too much. In fact, she got a picture of him with his foot near his eye. 

From there, I went to my OB for an appointment.

“If you have a c-section, we will remove your cyst” said my OB right after I had the research ultrasound. “You also have low-lying placenta right now. Hopefully it gets better as your pregnancy progresses or you will have to have a  c-section.”

After my appointments on Wednesday went well, I was just hoping that Thursday my anatomy ultrasound (where they measure the baby) would be okay.

Part Three: Anatomy Ultrasound #3

“How are you feeling?” asked my Mom as soon as she saw me.

“Okay. Just super nervous” I said.

(Instagram Poll: Can This Please Be My Last Anatomy Ultrasound?)

After my second anatomy ultrasound where they found the mass, my mother stated that someone was going to accompany me to my next appointment. I had a choice – my brother in law (because he works from home) or her (because she is retired). I couldn’t even imagine my brother-in-law taking any of this information in so of course, I went with my Mom.

(Waiting at the Ultrasound)

The appointment was for 2:30 and by 3:00 my ultrasound was being done by the nicest woman, named Erin. Erin did my first anatomy ultrasound where she wasn’t able to get anything.

“He is moving around a lot today” she said.

“Please tell me I won’t have to come back” I said. “What is the record for someone coming back to have an anatomy ultrasound?”

“This has to be the final one. They won’t go over three. If we can’t get it right now, you’ll wait and have it done later tonight.”

I suddenly wondered how late they were open.

“This is such a miracle” said my Mom watching everything. She gave me constant updates on what baby boy was doing. 

“He is kicking. His butt is facing down. He is flipping over. He has a nose like you.”

During an anatomy ultrasound you can”t see the screen so you are just staring at the wall forever.

“He is not in the right position” said Erin. “We are going to need you to move.”

For over an hour, I was moved into various positions.

“Okay” said Erin. “I hope we are done. We shall see what the doctor says. Please just wait in the hall.

(Picture of Baby Boy at Anatomy Ultrasound)

We waited and waited and waited.

In fact, we spotted Erin in her coat. 

“I am leaving for the day” she said. “The doctor hasn’t had a chance to look at the pictures yet but I think they are okay. If not, she will do the ultrasound again.”

“Fingers crossed” I laughed.

Then we waited and waited.

The ultrasound area closed up for the day. I had never seen the floor for Mount Sinai so empty.

(Last Ultrasound Patient)

Sure there were a couple people – some having naps, some crying and being guided to “Special Pregnancy” or “High-Risk”, some on their phones trying to take their mind off the long wait.

“Sarah?” asked a doctor who came out beside the ultrasound area.

I felt sick to my stomach as soon as I saw her. I had seen her call patients after their ultrasound and then patients would leave in tears. I had heard “this is not a big deal but —–” said to so many people.

“Yes?” I asked.

“You can go home!” she smiled.

Baby boy had officially graduated! No more anatomy ultrasounds for this little one! 

“How do you feel?” asked my Mom.

“So relieved” I said with the biggest smile on my face. 

I finally felt at peace.

“What a week” I said with a smile.

Every week in pregnancy has been a massive learning experience for me. 

This week I learned that I don’t want to be too open about my donor and need to respect my donor/my baby/my privacy a bit more. I also learned so much about my body and the growth and development of this little one.

It only makes me wonder, what will I learn in the week ahead?

Hello! I’d Like You To Meet My Sperm Donor (Part Two)

As many of you know, I had two IUI’s (sperm inside the uterus). 

The first unmedicated IUI was with my second choice in donor sperm = DIDN’T WORK

My second medicated IUI was with my first choice in donor sperm = PREGNANT

I chose not to have a known donor for several reasons – he would be entitled to partial custody in court (as per my social worker), and it would make things too awkward for me. 

How could I even choose the sperm donor for my baby out of the men in my life and how would I even ask them to be a sperm donor?

Some people I know have known donors and I think that is amazing. I just found it way too complicated.

Instead, I turned to three donor clinics and started my search. My search eventually led me to Fairfax Cryobank in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

They bring in donor sperm from the U.S. that has the Canadian checkmark (has passed government standards in Canada) and can, therefore, be sent to a Canadian sperm bank. I can’t recommend Fairfax Cryobank enough! Most of the Choice Moms I have met have purchased their donor sperm from Hamilton (shipped from the States).

So why didn’t I want Canadian sperm? Because there is so little of it. They get paid in the U.S. to donate sperm and they don’t get paid in Canada to donate sperm.

At every sperm bank in Canada, you are to purchase the vials of donor sperm in advance. You pay about $1000.00 per vial of sperm (they recommend 3-4 vials at the fertility clinic). Fairfax is great because if you get pregnant they will buy back the vials at half price. Fairfax is the only sperm bank in Canada that buys back the sperm you don’t need (from what I know). 

Right now I have one vial of sperm (of my first choice/the one that got me pregnant) that I am paying $35.00 a month to keep stored in Hamilton. I want to keep it until the baby is born because I love my incredible donor (even though you are not supposed to get attached to your donor) and his sperm got me pregnant. 

It also took me MONTHS to get his sperm (even if the website says it is available, you still have to call the sperm bank because it may be gone). For me, shopping for donor sperm was a lot like shopping at Winners; you have to weed through A LOT of the bad to get to the good. Plus, if you don’t buy it there and all at once, it is gone.

So now for the good stuff….who is my donor? Well, I don’t know his name and I don’t have a current picture of him. I know his donor number, his health history, the health history of all of his family members, information about his physical appearance, what he looked like as a child, the staff impressions of him at the clinic, what celebrity he most looks like now, and I have read an essay he wrote as well as heard his responses (and voice) in an interview.

When I first saw his baby picture last winter, I started crying (only donor I cried over). His face reminded me so much of my sister L and I. I am not allowed to show you his picture on anything related to social media. If you know me in real life (that sounds so weird to write), I am more than happy to show you the picture of him as a child. It actually makes me super happy and proud to show you.

A couple weeks ago I ordered every bit of information the sperm bank had about my donor. I plan to make a book for my little boy so he knows exactly where he came from. His baby book even has a place under “description of donor” (purchased from Mushybooks) that gives all of the donor information in the baby book. The social worker (who I had to meet with before beginning this process) explained the importance of sharing with my child everything about the donor (making sure it is age-specific).

So here are the details about my donor: he had blonde hair as a child and now has brown hair (like me). We are almost the same height so we look quite similar. He studied business in school. He is Caucasian and has a similar background to me.

Here are some of the observations from the team as well as some information that I gathered from his profile, interview, and essay. 

My donor is:

  • Healthy (I have all of his medical docs along with the medical docs of his siblings, parents, and grandparents). There is no mental illness and he is also free of STI’s (important when trying to conceive).
  • Open-ID Donor – my child is allowed to make contact with him after my child is 18. This is SUPER important to me.
  • American – but his sperm was allowed to be shipped to Canada.
  • Optimistic – believes in the importance of making the decision to be happy in life.
  • Selfless – wants to give back to the world (including donating sperm so that other people get the chance to have a child).
  • World traveller – loves travelling and meeting people from other cultures.

So you may be thinking “wow…he sounds a little too good to be true” or “sure, those are his good qualities but he has to be human.” Totally understandable. You’d also think a lot of information about sperm donors would be so positive. NOT TRUE.

I read so many essays including one where a prospective donor decided to donate sperm because he “knew that my sperm was the best and that only I would make high-quality children.” I also read about the lesson that one donor wanted to pass on to his children. He stated that children “are not important in the world and they should learn that they aren’t that great.”

I also liked numerous donors but found out that they had health conditions/possible genetic issues. If you do select a donor that could possibly have a child with a genetic issue, you need to sign a form that you are fully aware of this and will accept it. 

Overall, I had about three donors I liked (to some degree) in the end. I think I had a selection from about ten with the requirements that I wanted.

There is a sibling donor registry that I am debating signing up for. I know some Choice Moms who have gotten together with other parents who have used the same donor. I am not sure that I am there yet but maybe one day I could see that happening. Who knows.

What I do know is that I feel so blessed. I couldn’t be happier with my donor and somehow I was able to find the perfect one for me. Sure, it took me countless hours (I would say 100+) but I am so happy and now I am 22 weeks pregnant with a little boy!

So I am sorry to the people who wanted to hear that my donor was an ex-boyfriend or that my donor had a current picture I could show. Just know that I think my donor is pretty special and I hope one day my son will too.

What Is Really Going On?

There have been so many times where I’ve had questions during the process of being a single mom by choice and I’ve reached out to friends, family, and the Instagram community.  Everyone has been there for me and I decided this week I’d give back.

Below are a series of questions that people messaged me on Facebook or Instagram this week.  In fact, I received so many questions (30 thus far) that this is going to be Part One of questions and next week I will answer Part Two. Some questions deal with topics related to becoming a single mother by choice. Other questions are just things that people are wondering about regarding my pregnancy or pregnancy in general.  Please know that I am such a huge fan of learning and of being open. Feel free to ask me anything and if you would like your question featured on the blog next week, just send me an email.

Now for the fun part….

  • You said you love your donor. Is it someone you personally know? Just curious.

It is not someone I personally know yet somehow I feel like I know him. I felt that using sperm from a friend might really complicate everything and was worried that the donor might change his mind once the baby was born and want to become part of the child’s life. Yes there are court documents to ensure that you are the sole parent but my social worker suggested that these documents don’t always hold up in court.

As a result, I decided to find a donor from a sperm bank. It was so hard choosing a donor and I even had a little breakdown while finding one (am I really that horrible that nobody wants to have kids with me?) After my little pity party (which I think everyone is allowed), I was very limited in my selection. I always thought I’d get a book and could select a donor from the book. Instead, I got a few matches online that I got to select from. After seeing a baby picture of the donor, reading the essay he wrote, hearing him in an interview, reading his genetic health history of his entire family, and seeing a current day silhouette of him, I knew he was the one. 

When I saw his baby picture I actually cried (only donor I cried about) because he looked so much like my sisters and I when we were kids. His voice and calm demeanor just drew me to him but it was hard to get him as a donor. In fact, I only used him as my donor on the second IUI (sperm inside the uterus) because I was on a waiting list and the timing didn’t work out the first time.

  • How and when did you commit to being a single mom by choice?

There was not a specific moment where this happened.  There were a bunch of key events that made me realize that this was something that I wanted to do.  Some of these events include: my grandma saying she was sad I was never going to have kids, a boyfriend who (during our relationship) told me he didn’t want kids, a motherly instinct that I have always had since I was a little girl, two friends that decided to become Choice Moms that inspired me to begin the process, my 37th birthday and realizing that time was not on my side anymore, spending time with kids and realizing how much joy they brought me and how my life would not seem fulfilled without children in some way.

I always wanted children and I’d say that if I had to pick an age where I started to think about it, it would maybe have been at the age of 34 (and it took me three years to talk about it with my doc).

  • Baby names?  Have you picked them?

I am terrified of coming up with a name this early in the process. I am so afraid of having a miscarriage because it is so common.  After 20 weeks, I feel as though I will really think about this.

In the meantime, I will tell you some names I feel a connection to right now.  As a child, I loved to write stories and every protagonist in my stories was named Abigail Jenkins. Have always loved the named Abigail but who knows.

As for a boy, I keep being drawn to the name Finn. The only issue is that it is a lot like my sister’s married last name so it may not work in the long run.

  • What will you tell your child?

After seeing both a social worker (because it is mandatory as a patient of Mount Sinai) and my counsellor (because I love keeping my mental health in check), I have made a decision to be open and honest as much as possible.

I will be creating a book for my little one with all of the info from his/her Dad. It will contain pictures at the fertility clinic and will include his/her dad’s essay, etc. I’ll follow what my counsellor suggests (when looking at appropriate age/language to use). I also plan to invest in many books about kids with single parents/kids with donors.

There is also a sibling registry where my child will be able to decide if he/she wants to get the names of his/her siblings and meet them. My child will also be given information about his/her Dad at the age of 18 and the Dad has agreed to have contact with him/her.

  • Did your doctor tell you to lose weight before you were pregnant?

According to the BMI, I am considered “obese.”  Through tears I asked my fertility doctor if I should try to lose a bunch of weight before getting pregnant. I asked if I should put everything on hold.

She informed me that studied show that when a patient puts a hold on the process and tries to lose weight, this almost never happens.  She indicated that we were against timing already (with my age being 37 at the time) so she determined that we needed to start right away.

I did try and lose weight but I have such a complicated relationship with food.  When I start restricting food I binge. I also eat when I am stressed, and have been stressed and challenged more through this process than with anything in my life.

I am also reminded that women all over the world with a lot of different sizes get pregnant every day. They even have healthy pregnancies.  I have no idea if weight will become a major issue during my pregnancy but I will keep you posted.

  • How do you handle the judgement? Has everyone been kind to you online and in real life?

I would say that I am VERY surprised that most people (about 99%) are positive.  I worried about hater/ people responding negatively to my blog.

There have been a couple times where I have been hurt by the things that people have said but I think over time I am building a tougher skin (which is crazy to say because anyone who knows me knows that I am an overly sensitive person).

When I started the process, I was totally embarrassed at the doctor’s when the receptionist told me that she couldn’t fax my form to the fertility office because I didn’t have a partner. After indicating infront of everyone in the waiting room that I was using a donor, she finally faxed the form.

About a month later when I called Mount Sinai to see what the hold-up was in becoming their patient, they explained that the didn’t process my form because under “partner info” it read “N/A.” Once again, I had to inform them that I was doing it on my own.

I also had a “friend” on my Facebook write something really negative about how I shouldn’t be writing any of this because my child wouldn’t want any of this to be published.  For the first couple hours, I didn’t even do anything. In fact, I didn’t even know she had posted that. My other friends started protecting me and came to my defense. They started writing things under her post and I realized that I really did have an army protecting me.

Eventually I gave her about six different reasons as to why I was sharing this info and reminded her that I thought long and hard about publishing this type of info. My child will know his/her story and I can remove everything if he/she wants me to. I just feel like this is such an important topic and one that should not be ignored. If I could help someone else out, I would try my best.

Have also had people that won’t talk to me about it or say that they aren’t interested in any of this which is TOTALLY fine.

  • Will you stay in Toronto? It is crazy expensive there. What is your plan?

Plans make me very nervous so I *think* I have a plan for the first year. As of right now, the first year of the baby’s life will be spent in Toronto.

After that, I will most likely be moving.  Everything really depends on my job and if I were to go somewhere new, I would lose all of my seniority as a teacher. It sounds a little crazy to leave a full teaching contract position of 15 years to start somewhere new.

That being said, I plan to give my child the best life he/she can have. If it means taking chances and moving to somewhere much more affordable, it is not out of the question.

  • How did you tell your parents?

This seems like so long ago! I feel like I started by making little jokes about it to see the reaction on their face.  That lasted for a couple of months. From there, I called my Mom up and explained that I was seriously thinking about it. I knew she was going on vacation and I wanted her to tell my Dad. I figured they could talk about it while they were away.

When they came back from their vacation my Mom told me (infront of the entire family) that she asked my Dad about it. She announced that Dad had said that “if your baby makes you as happy as the three of my girls have made me, it is worth it.”

It was very sweet and reminded me that you never know how people will take the news. I was so worried about what he would think of me and I didn’t need to worry at all.

  • No one is supporting me. What do I do?

I am so sorry that this is happening to you and know that it is totally normal. I’ve been VERY lucky to have this much support. I would suggest you invest in a good counsellor. A counsellor will be your biggest supporter and fan. When you start to doubt yourself, he/she will be there to help you.

A counsellor will work on all of your fears with you. He/she will help you process the feelings of others as well as any feelings you have yourself.  I have also heard of many people who didn’t support the single mother until she had the baby. Once the baby was born, she received a lot of support from people who were against the whole process.

  • How did you tell people you were pregnant?

Well everyone knew when I would find out if I was pregnant (I posted the date of my second IUI). They knew it would be a two week wait.

I told my family over Facebook messenger and recorded their responses. You may remember that a little while back, my Mac died and I haven’t been able to afford a new laptop. As a result, I was storing all pictures and videos on my phone but before long my iPhone storage had reached the limit. I emailed the videos to myself and just assumed they would always stay in iCloud. It turns out that videos are only stored for 30 days. I have now lost all of the videos I made with reactions I received when telling my closest fam and friends about my pregnancy.

I am sure there will be some sort of video made before the baby is born but I might just interview fam and friends about the arrival of the baby and have my bro in law (master of technology) put something together.

  • How are you feeling?

I am not feeling well at all. Morning sickness/all day sickness has been A LOT to handle. I am now in week 11 and can barely keep food down. I have one random day out of about seven where I feel okay and able to do something.

My days have been spent taking diclectin (now up to three a day), sipping ginger ale, avoiding most foods, having to cancel plans with friends/family, and watching a lot of Netflix.

It is totally worth it but in the meantime, people have given me A LOT of tips to help with the morning sickness. These include things such as taking meds at night, taking ginger gravol, eating ginger candies, eating jolly ranchers, carrying bags with me, acupuncture, eating a variety of small meals every day, talking to my OB, etc.

I also need to keep saying “no” to things and to not feel guilty about it. Right now, I feel like that flaky friend that always bails. I keep having to remind myself that I am doing the right thing for me and my little one.

  • Have you received your results for the Harmony test?

Yes! My baby has tested negative for Down’s and for a couple other genetic abnormalities. I found out on Friday.

I also want everyone to know that I have two friends who have children with Down’s and they inspire me every day. Their kids are the absolute best and bring them so much joy.

I just wanted the information to have the testing done. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I wanted to know.

Some of you also know that you can find out the gender by doing this test. Personally, I don’t want to know the gender until later. As someone who is constantly worried about pregnancy loss, I am just not ready to know yet.

Thanks for sending in your questions and please know that next week I’ll be answering more. If you sent me a question that hasn’t been answered yet, please know that I’ll answer it next week.

Wishing everyone an amazing and healthy week ahead!

Hello! I’d Like You To Meet My Sperm Donor

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:

  1. 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.

Selecting a Sperm Donor Part Two

Never in my entire life did I think that I would need to pay for sperm to have a baby but it is where I am.  I can’t believe I need to pay a minimum $6000 – $8000 because I can’t find someone to be my partner.

Where did I go wrong?  How did I become so unlovable?

From the age of 16 – until my marriage ended at 32, I was always dating someone. Sure there were times where I’d be single but I’d say that I was single for maybe 3-4 months and I would just find myself in another relationship.  I was a relationship woman where I felt safe and secure.  If I didn’t love myself, at least I had someone in my life who loved me, right?

I was also thin and beautiful.  I look back at those pictures and can’t even recognize that woman before me.  Would that woman have had to pay for sperm?  Would that woman have ever thought that there would be a point in her life where she couldn’t find a man?

Summer 2008: Was in Vegas with my then boyfriend (who I later married and divorced). I thought I had my entire life figured out and couldn’t wait to get married.
Summer 2011: My Wedding Day. I got engaged in November and we planned our wedding for that August because I wanted to get started on baby making right away!

When I got divorced, I felt like the ground below me shifted.  I got married and thought it would last forever.  We were supposed to have kids together and live in that beautiful home.  It felt like someone ripped my dream from me.  What if I just put another man in that house?  What if I just carried on with my plan to have kids?  It wouldn’t hurt as much if I just did that, right?  I couldn’t lie to myself.

I couldn’t date anyone for a long time. 

As someone who got my whole sense of self from external sources (like male attention) I really struggled. Normally I would just meet someone else and hoped I’d be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief because he would show myself and others that I was still lovable and that I could find love.

But that didn’t happen. 

When I went back out into the dating world it wasn’t like it was before.  Who knows what changed but I figure a big part of it was me.  I had lost every single bit of confidence and felt like a baby deer getting used to my new legs. 

I tried a variety of techniques – pretending to have confidence, pretending not to care, pretending to be okay with who I was.  Then I switched to pretending I was always having fun, using my dates towards blog entries so that I felt I was getting something out of it when it didn’t work and when it was a waste of time.  At least there would be a good story out of it that I could tell at a party and everyone would laugh. And while I pretended that dating was fun and that I loved these stories, if I were really honest with myself, I would have known that I was lonelier than ever.

After a while, I decided to stop pretending to be someone else on dates and to be me.  I tried to be open and honest with the men I was going on dates with and I’d be honest with myself.  This is where the right man would show up, right?  Nope.  It was one thing when men were rejecting me when I was pretending to be someone else but now they were rejecting me as a person.  I know you aren’t supposed to look at rejection like that but some part of me did and it hurt.

And in the meantime all anyone wanted for me was to have love.

Part of me feels like a complete failure.  Everyone knows that I want to find someone.  I want to love again and it is just not happening. It’s like we could all breathe better if I found love.

And through the process of trying to date again while somehow trying to accept who I am, my body started changing.  Food became my new partner because I was so lonely.  The more rejection I faced, the more I would turn to binge eating episodes to cure me of my loneliness.  I’d go through phases in my dating life where I would just eat instead of going out.  If I stayed home to eat, I’d know there would be moments of happiness but going out on a date was a complete gamble.  Most of the time dating just left me feeling so lonely and empty.  Then food started making me feel lonely and empty and I couldn’t escape. It was a repeated pattern – and for anyone who doesn’t believe in binge eating as an eating disorder, trust me, it is so real.

Summer 2018 with Roxy from “The Real Housewives.” I am wearing a shirt and shorts. You can’t see this but my shorts ripped and were barely staying together.

So here I am.  I haven’t been able to find a partner and my dreams of the wedding; beautiful homes and two lovely kids are not happening.

I want to be a Mom but I’m scared as hell because I don’t even know how I am going to financially afford to be a Mom.  I don’t even know how I am going to deal with all of the stress when I don’t have a partner to hand my baby off to at the end of the day. 

So yes, to everyone who thinks that I am a brave woman, I am.  Most of the time, I know 99% I can do this.  There are just steps in the process that make me look at myself and look at my life and this is one that I don’t like at all. 

When I press “buy” I am confirming that my dream is dead. 

Yes, I may find someone later, but for now, I have to realize that my dream of having a baby with a partner is dead.

This is the real reason why I can’t find a sperm donor.

I know that people don’t see me as a failure and that there will be messages reminding me that I am enough but this whole journey really makes you dig deep and examine your strength as a person.

For the people who keep saying I am so lucky to have a choice, I am but my options are not the options I want.

Option 1: Use someone so that I can be a Mom  

Option 2: Become a single Mom.

Option 3:  Don’t have a baby. 

What the hell are those options?  I am making the best choice with what I have but honestly, I really just wish I had a partner with me this whole time. And yes, I am fully aware that some partners are horrible to have around.  Sometimes, it is easier to have kids without a partner BUT I still want that dream.  Some of you reading this do have the most wonderful partners because I have seen it and it really does exist.

For some, the process of finding a sperm donor is empowering and easy.  For me, it has been a really low point in my life where someone is holding up a mirror to me and saying “this is your life.  You don’t have a partner. Put on your big girl pants and deal with it.” It’s tough to process and for a super emotional person who loves love so much, this has been really hard.

So I am going to give myself a break, feel all the feels and not pressure myself into finding my donor sperm because this process doesn’t begin until the Spring. I am sure it will happen soon but for right now it just feels like it is too much. In the meantime, I promise to keep practising self-care and to remind myself that I am enough – with or without a man.