As already mentioned in previous articles, I was really scrolling through many sperm donor profiles. At least during the time when I was still thinking back and forth whether I should really dare to do it alone. Back when everything was still more a dream than something I would really follow up on.
I searched the profiles for the perfect man, the man who would possibly become the biological father of my child.
And I couldn’t help but dream of and imagine my future child:
- Red or brown hair? Or maybe blond like me?
- In any case with curls, a cute real tousled curly head, …
- Blue or maybe rather green eyes?
- In any case tall and not overweight, artistic, sporty and super smart, …
And that was exactly my problem:
As soon as I started to read through a profile, I imagined what my child would be like: I created a picture of our life together, of my child (appearance and character). A very detailed picture, a perfect one, …
I felt more and more like I’m in a shopping center choosing that perfect child, a design baby, …
However, I was also aware that this child would by no means correspond to this ideal. And I found it very much unfair to have these expectations of a little person who didn’t even exist yet.
Finding oneself and be your true self is really hard enough without having to live up to the expectations of one’s parents, let alone expectations that can never be fulfilled. After all there’s no such thing as ‘perfect’!
Therefore, when it really came down to choosing a sperm donor, I chose:
I left the choice of sperm donor to the clinic…
Of course, there were some criteria that were still very important to me and that I insisted on despite not choosing a specific donor.
For example, I would not accept an anonymous sperm donor, I told them that it has to be a Yes donor. This means that my little one can later contact the man whose DNA was passed on to him. Whether he will do so will be his decision; not mine and certainly not that of the clinic…
Why choosing an open sperm donor is so important
Yes, the donor sperm from anonymous sperm donors are cheaper, but for the sake of the child’s well-being:
Please, please choose an open sperm donor!
Because this is something I have read over and over again in the course of my research: It may be extremely important for a donor child to have the opportunity to get to know the donor, to get to know where he or she came from to create their own identity. Taking this chance from them leaves them (maybe) incomplete. There are a lot of adults out there that were conceived with the help of a anonymous donor fighting for their right to know where they came from, to get laws to change.
In Switzerland and many other countries it is now – exactly due to this reasoning – forbidden to donate anonymously or to use anonymous donor sperm. There might even come further laws in effect in regard to sperm donors that will allow kids to get to know the donors earlier than when they reach adulthood, hopefully.
It is not a question of the conceived children seeing or understanding a father in their donor. It is about giving them the opportunity to ask questions in order to find their own identity. It can also be that the child is not interested in the donor at all, might be a possiblity, true.
But what if they are?
If you choose an anonymous donor, you decide for your child (or children), because no matter if he or she is interested in the donor’s identity later or not, they will not have the possibility to contact him at all. Unless they’re lucky enough to find him by other means.
Unfortunately, it has already happened that clinics abroad have advised to choose an anonymous donor, the mothers in question regret their decision very much now that they have read more about the subject.
Therefore, please don’t rush this decision, take your time, inform yourself and know the consequences.
Disadvantages of my own decision
But my decision to have the clinic select a donor also had devastating disadvantages: The clinic did not have much information about the donor, as I had to find out later on.
Somehow I expected that more information would be sent to me after it worked out; I knew the detailed public profiles of the sperm donors of the European Sperm Bank and I expected to be able to buy such a profile in hindsight.
When my little one was born, however, he only received a letter explaining that he could contact the clinic at the age of 18 and thus contact the sperm donor. He also received the sperm donor number. No further information, nothing. And I couldn’t do anything with the number either, names are used on the website of the sperm bank.
I had no idea which profile would match up with that donor number.
So what am I going to tell my son before he turns 18; when he comes to me with questions? After all puberty and identity finding start much earlier than them reaching adulthood. To put him off until his 18th birthday worried me a little.
So I wrote to the sperm bank, which was accommodating but couldn’t really help me and advised me to write to the clinic. Which I did…
Then it turned out that I was even wrong with the information I thought I had (hair- and eyecolor). I had been so nervous that I didn’t register that we were switching to another donor during the third, successful attempt. I gave my consent, it was discussed, still I didn’t realize they’d actually done it; after all everything went wrong (and yet extremely right) that third time around.
So from the clinic I finally got some information, all they had at their disposal, which wasn’t much though:
- Hair colour
- Eye colour
- Blood type
- Course of studies
I was incredibly disappointed and annoyed with myself. I knew it was my fault, my decision and I wish I’d chosen different.
Fortunately, in our case this disadvantage has now become superfluous, I have now got to the entire sperm donor profile via detours, but that was pure luck.
But I’d like to tell you how this happened another time. There’s still so much to share before I start talking about halfsiblings and the like…