What we're REALLY up to

Blog Carnival: Donor Sperm

So a bunch of bloggers are writing about some aspect of using donor sperm today. Whenever you get a couple of women who want a baby, you’ve got to get the sperm somewhere. It’s inevitable. And there are different options out there, depending on what you are looking for.

We used an anonymous donor from a sperm bank, as was my wife’s preference. As the non-gestating mother, she got to make the final decision. I thought that she had “more to lose” in terms of not having a genetic link to our kids and therefore I wanted to do whatever she was comfortable with, and sperm was “her job” in the process. But I’m not going to write about that.

I’m sure many of you have seen the article in the Boston Globe about the dude who donated sperm and has 70-something kids. It was all about how he was reaching out to them and blah blah blah. And some people gasped, “70 kids! That’s insane.”

I am here to tell you that I would not be at all surprised if my children have more than 70 genetic half-siblings. We purchased from a bank with a high guaranteed sperm count who also is willing to give that sperm to a LOT of families. I am not sure if I am remembering correctly, but I think it was 40 families. They would sell to FORTY families.

Think about that for a moment. They sell to forty families and families have multiple kids. And then maybe some people have some leftover sperm after their families are completely and they sell those vials to other families – outside of the bank’s knowledge – and then there are more than 40 families. And our donor had a pretty good success rate, I have to give him that. Let’s put it this way: I used him twice, and I have two children. End of story.

So what I worry about, more than “donor sibling incest” or about whether or not my children will be upset that their donor is not willing to be known (because really? even a dude with good intentions is not going to have much to offer 80 kids), it’s that one day my children, my absolutely special, lights-of-my-life, perfectly unique and wonderful children are going to think about their origins and feel mass-produced. They are my children, and they are my wife’s children, but they are – in some ways – products of donor #9558. Products like IKEA furniture. (You know – they’re cool, they’re hip, they’re really cute, BUT EVERYONE HAS THEM.)

Will my children one day find out that they are 2 of (let’s say) 80 and feel less special? Will they feel like pieces of meat? Will they feel somehow cheapened that all of these other children share half of their genetic origins? My brother and I are the only two combinations of our mother’s DNA and our father’s DNA. Neither of them had other children. We are IT. There is something concise and neat about it. My two sets of grandparents each had two children. My mother and her sister each had two children. My father had (obviously) two children and his brother adopted one child. My children’s father may have 70 children, or 80, or more. And worse (or better?), we will never know how many. I believe last reported tally was over 40 but we all know that many people don’t report births to the bank.

Our donor still has vials being sold. (Would you like to have kid #81? He makes cute babies.) They started being sold more than eight years ago, as I know of a donor sibling who is eight or slightly older. Sometimes I can’t help but picture a little assembly line-type machine spitting out babies, and in my mind it looks a lot like the “Children’s Television Sausage Factory.”

(Follow the conversation over at http://firsttimesecondtime.com/2011/09/donor-sibling-registry-yay-nay/)


Comments on: "Blog Carnival: Donor Sperm" (4)

  1. Dave Marciniak said:

    Your kids will find this blog when they are older, and will refer to themselves as Ektorp and Poang in protest. Which will be kind of awesome.

  2. […] Path to Parenthood: The Donor Post Love Plus Love Equals Marriage: Donor Talk The Real Gay Agenda: Blog Carnival: Donor Sperm First Time Second Time: Donor Sibling Registry, yay…or nay…or… Bionic Mamas: Blog […]

  3. Thanks for bringing a light touch to this heavy topic.

    I wonder if it would change our reaction if we could think of sperm donation as a little less like fatherhood and a little more like organ/tissue donation. Apparently one organ donor can contribute to up to 50 recipients, so someday there could be 50 people walking around with a little piece of me inside. Yet it doesn’t cheapen an organ recipient’s experience to know that 49 other people also got a gift from the same person.

    A heart or cornea is not the same thing as genetic material, but it’s interesting to think about why we (me included) are a bit put off by one person’s contributing 50% to the creation of 50 lives, but feel fine about one person’s saving 50 lives through a different kind of donation.

    (I’m the non-bio mama of 2 kids, for whom we used an anonymous donor. We’ve looked at the DSR, but we haven’t made contact with anyone. I think we will do that only if the kids seem to need it.)

    • While I think it would be easier and certainly less emotionally charged to think of sperm donation like organ donation (not that organ donation isn’t emotional, just not charged), I don’t see it as a fair comparison. It is truly a gift to get a second chance with someone’s organ and it is truly a gift to get a first chance with someone’s sperm. Some people want to meet relatives of organ donors but a donated organ doesn’t cut to the heart of who a person is.

      While it’s true that I am not my genetics, it is also true that so much of who I am is contribited to by genetics, down to which hand I write with and how well I can see.

      I think I am in a minority but I /do/ see a sperm donor as a father. Not a parent and not a dad but a father. He fathered a child – many in this guy’s case. I wonder if he really thought about that when he needed some money and had good swimmers. My kids’ donor had a bio kid at the time of his donation. I wonder what he thinks about s/he having a lot of bio sibs.

      Regardless, I think he is awesome because my kids are awesome and I owe at least part of that to him. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: