Since we were on the topic of sperm (and the fact that my best friend says I need to blog more) I figured I would tell you how we chose our donor.
It wasn't an easy decision (I hope you're sitting down...this might take a while) Originally we thought we wanted to go with a known donor (a person who we know personally) for a couple reasons. The first reason being that we (and by we, I mean Meg) read that fresh sperm works better than frozen sperm. The biggest factor influencing this decision was my personal experience.
When I was a camp counselor I had two campers. The boys were always talking about their dad (and their mom), so when their mom pulled up in the same car as an obvious lesbian (with a rainbow sticker in the window) I was completely taken back. I never would have guessed.
With that said, our idea with the known donor was to recreate the camp situation and give our child as close to a "normal" life as possible. Now, I used quotes around normal, because the word has such a negative connotation. It almost insinuates that we're doing something wrong. Obviously, raising a child in a loving family (whether it be with a mom and a dad, two moms, two dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc) can never be wrong.
Meg and I know kids are cruel. We're both teachers. We've witnessed it firsthand. We know that there is going to a come a time where our child will be teased or judged or mistreated because he/she has two mom's. We thought using a known donor would limit the discrimination our child would face.
We asked one of our closest friends to be the donor, but he respectfully declined (twice...we still love him though). We then took two of our other friends out to dinner. They are a married, gay couple and we thought they might be inclined to say yes.
Our proposition was that they would be an extended version of our family. We would include them in all activities. We even agreed to make plans to see their families around the holidays (think about all the love our baby would get from 4 sets of grandparents!!!) Our intentions were great. More importantly, we were very clear that they would have to sign over their rights. They understood that while we would love them to attend Father's Day functions and be active role models in our child's life, we would be the parents.
Needless to say, it didn't work out. We eventually realized (while driving home from NY and deciding our future child should be named Usher...lol, joking) that we didn't want to run the risk of a custody battle down the line.
Moving forward, we started looking into sperm banks. We settled on the California Cryobank. Did you know you can search for celebrity look a likes??? Naturally, I typed in Justin Bieber (that's what my students call me). And just like that, there he was, (not our sperm donor), a picture of Justin Bieber!
But seriously, you can submit a picture and they will find you a donor look a like!
There are two choices when deciding on sperm donors. You can choose to use an anonymous donor (they're about $100 cheaper) but your child will never be able to contact his/her biological father OR you can you choose to use an open donor and allow your child to communicate with the donor at the age of 18.
If only it were that easy. You then have to decide which procedure you will perform. Did I mention you can buy the sperm online? Technology!
Our doctor told us to use IUI (intrauterine insemination) and we decided to go with an open donor. Meg's theory was that for $100 difference we owe it to our child to give him/her the choice as to whether or not he/she wants to find out who his/her father is.
The drawback of using an open donor (in addition to costing more...I can't get over it! It's so expensive) is that the choices are more limited. Meg and I were able to comprise a list of about 12 donors. We were able to view donor profiles, medical history, staff impressions, and personal essays for free. We compared their features and listed pros/cons to narrow the list down.
Once we had the list down to 2-3 donors we hit a road block. They were all good. We decided to pay $145 to upgrade to a level II subscription. This provided us with more in-depth medical histories, as well as additional essays, and wait for it...baby photos! (I should mention that you can buy documents a la carte)
I don't know how the baby pictures helped, but they did. Meg and I were able to decide on a donor. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He's 5'11 and is insanely good at Math. That's all I'm going to tell you because,well, I don't want you to steal him!