Artificial Insemination – The Who.
Well. This is where the whole Artificial Insemination decision gets a little weird and sometimes a little ugly, and the ugly was only on day four of navigating this option.
My first step was to re-watch “The Switch” with Jennifer Anniston and Jason Bateman. Such a beautiful movie, silly, funny, great supporting cast, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and there is a beautiful little person created from the Love of two friends.
Hollywood version out of the way, and my resolve sufficiently fluffed, my next step was to start the Google treadmill and see what I could find.
There are some free sperm donor sites. (Google it!)
Some are seriously dodgy and I shut them down almost as quickly as I found them.
Two of the sites I found seemed to be legit at first glance, though I was only going on comments from forums at this point.
As for the forums, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the donors and their comments.
There are plenty of men offering their seed with an overinflated “God complex” who expect that because they have the “goods” we sad needy women should jump immediately when they offer it.
I was finding that side of things extremely off-putting.
In the first four days of interaction on these sites and forums, I learned that for me the guys that approach and offer without any encouragement from me are the ones to avoid. And even block if at all possible!
Within hours of connecting with one of the sites – even a site that came highly recommended by women on a particular forum I’d felt was trustworthy – I had a message in my inbox stating:
“Hello… Let me know when you are ovulating next, I will see if I can drop in. …”
This particular message did not even have any details about the guy, no profile information, no history, no specs, no photo, not even a real name – just a username. Yet, he expected – and I assume because that has been his experience so far – that I would say “Come on over!”
Um… and again… EW!
Sure, this is an unusual process with a delicate product that is produced by human beings, human men. There may be no way to discuss it without seeming, well, off.
However – for me at least – as the person who is receiving the delicate product to create life that I want to nurture for the rest of my life, then I should be the one making the approach.
As the recipient, let me review the profiles and approach the donor if I feel comfortable and ready to do so!
There are the important questions to be answered after all – before we get to the “drop in” stage.
Important for me at least, though it seems not so important for some of the donors.
- Are they healthy? Have a healthy sperm count? Any unfavourable medical history in their family?
- Are they willing to provide medical records to back up these claims? (It’s the internet, anyone can claim whatever they like!)
- Name of the donor listed on birth certificate so child can find the donor later in life
- Level of contact with the child
- Does the donor want to have updates such as photos?
- Do they want to be involved in the child’s life minimally with occasional visits?
- Are they comfortable with full disclosure with the child? (I would like my child to know from the start that someone helped me create them and who that someone is.)
- Are they wanting to pursue a co-parenting role and if so, how does that look? (On one of the sites, this question is asked of the donor and they answer with yes/no/let’s discuss.)
- How available will they be for insemination using AI methods, (that is, cup and syringe)?
- How does the providing of goods go down? Do we meet somewhere? Does he come to my home? Do I feel comfortable with him in my home, and if not, why am I using his goods?!
There are so many variables. Most importantly for me are the discussions about the donor’s current and historical health, plus the expectations for the future, and ensuring any child that results will have access to information when he/she desires it.
It would be nice to have someone interested enough to want to keep in touch through the exchange of the occasional photo as the child grows.
One site that I liked, co-parentmatch.com, actually had a thought out profile for each donor and recipient to fill out. Not everyone did fill them out, but I ruled those donor’s out immediately. See… much easier already!
(Note: snapshots posted from one of my favourites, without any identifying information)
Questions such as:
- “Will you undertake a health screening test?”
- “Contact with Child”
- “Any genetic illness within your family?”
- Education, Blood Group, Eye colour, Hair colour,
- If there are existing children in donor’s life
These are a good start, no?
The questionnaire goes on to ask what they are looking for in a recipient, then gives the donor an opportunity to write their hobbies and interests, as well as other information (many write quite a detailed outline, which is appreciated).
Then there is a section for the donor to fill out about their ideal recipient and has similar questions to the donor section above.
- Do they want the recipient to sign legal documents?
- Do they want contact with the child?
- Do they expect the recipient to have a health screening test?
Also good questions and things that should be discussed, before the “I’ll see if I can drop in…” I mean… really.
In defence of “Mr. Drop In”, that other site, which I very quickly removed myself from, was filled with recipients falling over themselves to take up these kinds of offers.
It was eye opening, and gave the whole process a bit of a seedy (pun intended) feel.
There were men on some of the forums showing their successes in the form of either positive pregnancy tests, excerpts from happy recipients’ emails, baby-bump photos, or baby photos – and some of these successes numbered in the teens or twenties for single donors.
It almost turned me off completely, as I’m not certain that I wanted my future child/ren to be a part of such a long list.
Then I discovered the co-parenting match website and felt a little less afraid and a little more hopeful.
On that site, I selected five profiles that stood out to me and discussed them with close friends.
We all agreed on the top three.
I put those names aside while I continued to research what comes next, found and connected with forums of people who had gone before, and worked up the nerve to make contact with one, two, or all three of my favourites.
That’s a little of the who…!
Next time I’ll discuss a bit of the how!
Have you walked this path? How was your experience…?
Warm smiles and Love,