I am feeling really weird right now – in fact, I was crying in the kitchen until I accidently made vee cry too and she told me to “go away, you weird woman!” (in the nicest possible way of course, because she understands.)

When vee got in from work, we tore open The Envelopes and eagerly surveyed our donor choices. We had 3 choices, listing their eye colour, height, weight, hair colour, occupation and ‘likes’ – it must be noted that their ‘likes’ mainly consisted of football, because that is what British men like, as well as beer, which wasn’t listed of course. It must also be noted that as I am the Other Mother, vee said that she is happy for me to have the final decision on whoever the donor is… though of course we do need to agree, essentially, and we need to decide SOON.

I am just glad there were only 3 choices, and not some major catalogue full of sperm makers. If that were the case, I’m sure I would be a wreck right now!

Donor 1 was more or less immediately rejected because his colouring would not go well with vee’s, probably resulting in any subsequent offspring being very prone to sunburn. That left donors 2 and 3. Initially there was a dilemma between them because donor 3 was how I would look if I was a bloke, albeit a bit heavier, and donor 2 looks like neither of us and is thinner. Vee and I are both prone to put on weight so we already worked out that whoever donates should ideally be skinnier, just to balance things out a bit.

That is fine, but the problem was… donor 3 looked a bit like me, or rather like my Dad, to be precise. So we were stuck with this weird dilemma; should we choose someone who looks kind of like me, the Other Mother, or should we choose the ‘healthy option’ who looks like neither of us?

And do we even care?

This is not something that’s ever bothered me before, nor something I’ve given much thought to even, but when presented with the choice, it was hard. Eventually we decided we’ll most likely go with donor 2, who seemed to be the most sensible choice, meaning we should end up with a child who looks like neither of us and doesn’t put on weight easily(!)

After making our choice, which was much harder than anticipated, the guilt started to set in. This is the weird part! I started to feel so bad for donors 1 and 3, who we had more or less rejected on physical grounds. I don’t do this kind of thing, and we were sort of freaked to even be in this situation, which was completely alien to us. But physical stuff was pretty much all we had to go by in our bid to create a healthy child… football doesn’t count. Ironically, we didn’t really think about our KD’s physical characteristics, asking him almost solely because of his life philosophy. We know zero about donor 1, 2 and 3’s philosophies but guess that they must be pretty nice to donate in the first place. After all, while the clinic gets our cash, they only get paid travelling expenses for their trouble.

And there’s the rub! What upset me was the fact that we turned down someone’s very kind offer of sperm, purely on physical grounds, which felt so superficial and horrible and well, downright offensive, even though they won’t even know this, which was possibly the stupidest part. I feel so sorry for donors 1 and 3, especially donor 1 because the other two have proven fertility (another major factor), but he hasn’t… maybe because nobody had given his sperm a chance yet? And that makes me feel sad. I know it sounds crazy, because it probably IS crazy; irrational, definitely. But I just feel so bad. Perhaps it’s because I always root for the underdog in life, and don’t like to see people getting left out? And while I try to dismiss the person behind the “offering”, I cannot ignore the fact that they did something nice for us; it just doesn’t seem respectful.

My rational self tells me that we cannot choose a donor because we feel sorry for them. We must think about health, etc, and not let craziness and whatever take control. I buy that.

And I really really hope that vee gets knocked up soon, because besides wanting a baby sooooooo much, I don’t think I can reject any more sperm(!)

Am I weird or am I weird?!

– jay x


9 responses to this post.

  1. You’re not weird. You’re caring and sensitive. It must be a strange situation to be in. I don’t know how I’d handle it. I admire you for going with health, even if you didn’t have a whole lot to go on.


  2. Not weird. You’re just in the middle of making a very weighty decision – it’s bound to be emotional! There really is SO little to go on, so whatever your parameters are, go with them. Are only main criteria was family health history. Beyond that, had some rather “superficial” criteria: legible handwriting & a sense of humor (well, as much as one can gather a sense of humor from a stranger’s essay). So you do have to make your peace with whatever criteria means the most to you. As for feeling sad about the “left out” donor … hopefully that can be chalked up to highly emotional project. I don’t know how the donor situation works in the UK, but here in the States, the donors are paid regardless of whether any one purchases (or gets pregnant with) their sperm. Try & think of it like a business transaction in the regard – maybe that might make Donor 1 seem less vulnerable somehow. Good luck with you choices!


  3. Posted by tbean on July 18, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Definitely not weird. I cannot believe all the strange and unexpected thoughts and emotions I have when dealing with donor profiles and trying to make donor decisions. It is, after all, a completely new experience for any of us and you just have to embrace that and honor your different feelings.


  4. Just think of the woman or women that will now be SO happy that donor 1 is available to them. Your perfect fit is yours & for someone else donor 1 could be THE answer.
    I’ve seen donor profiles that have just been so awful for someone like me: short, tan, dark eyes & I think, “yikes! who would pick that guy??” And then you realize that someone will b/c he will be exactly the right combo.
    But seriously- HUGE congrats on picking someone and picking someone that sounds great!!



  5. I’m right there with you, sister.
    On not choosing the guy who looks like you: I already have a son. When he was born he didn’t look like either of us. Now that he is almost two, he looks a lot like my honey and… he ACTS like me. Which totally rocks. So you have that to look forward to. Congratulations on making your choice. It feels great once you get over that initial hump.


  6. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Choosing an anonymous donor is REALLY difficult.

    When Lo and I were choosing a frozen donor, we ruled out donors with anything in their family health histories that also was in one of ours (mainly substance abuse and mental illness). But it started to feel to me like we were almost into eugenics sometimes when we talked about it. We’re really not, but it felt that way when we were choosing a donor because we kept talking about traits we wanted to discourage being passed on.

    It’s good that we had a KD, if ever so briefly (one cycle). I felt better about the whole frozen donor decision when I realized that if our KD had been an anonymous donor, we would’ve ruled him out immediately based on his health history alone. But that’s because he would have been a piece of paper. Knowing him in real life made us really want to use him as a donor, because we love him and he’s a great person.

    But with anonymous donors, all you get is the piece of paper. You can’t get to know them, so you have to decide based on the info that is available. So, if you choose based on physical traits or the like, it’s not because you’re shallow. It’s because you have to choose somehow.

    It must be weird that the donors you’re choosing aren’t really compensated for their … um… contributions. (Am I correct about that?) But just because Donor 1 isn’t what you’re looking for doesn’t mean you should feel like he’s being rejected. He may be exactly what some other woman or couple is looking for. So, let his sperm go to her/them. Choose the sperm that’s right for you. And I have to say, a donor having proven fertility is a good thing. You guys have been trying for a long time. You deserve for this to work already.


    I think it’s totally normal to doubt and doubt and doubt!
    I think when it came down to the pages and pages of info we had on our choices, we went 100% with looks.
    Congrats on making your choice! You will get over the guilt thing!


  8. We always pick the skinny donors! I too am the “other mother” and feel the need to find one that looks most like me but if it comes down to giving our kid a chance in an area we struggle…we’ll go with that. I don’t think it is weird to find the situation unsettling; it is a crazy decision to make.


  9. not weird at all… in the grander scheme of things, very few people have to make these kinds of decisions, so there are no prescribed ways of going about such things. You have to make the best decisions you can with the (limited) information you have.

    Sounds like you are doing pretty well – the right decision is the one that is right for you!


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