My partner and I are coming closer to start TTC. We keep discussing the pros and cons of using a friend vs an identity release donor from the sperm bank. How did you decide your route? It's a battle between wanting my child to be able to see some of him or herself reflected in the donor as they grow up vs the comfortable legal clarity of an IR donor from a bank.
Known Donor vs Sperm Bank
You're certainly right, in that it's a big decision. My wife and I had hoped to use a KD, maybe, if we found the right person. We discussed using each other's brother's sperm, but we spent a lot of time thinking it through and in our specific circumstance, with our brothers and the way we know them, we decided it might be too difficult for our brothers to see their biological children and not treat them differently from a niece/nephew.
Ultimately, we didn't have a KD that we knew well who fit our criteria, so we decided to go with an ID-release donor from a bank. Our kids won't get to grow up knowing their biological father, but hopefully when they're 18 they will get a chance to learn who he is. In his stead, our kids will get to grow up with uncles and grandfathers (as well as moms, aunts, and grandmothers!) who adore them and that's just going to have to be enough for them.
Best of luck to you, and feel free to join in with the Queer Conceptions thread here! Those ladies are very knowledgeable and it's a great support network.
Well my partner decided that she didn't feel comfortable moving forward with a good friend, things have become more distant lately between them and so using him as a known donor just doesn't feel right. So I guess we'll be going with the sperm bank! We are getting married (legally, yay MA!) in one month and will then relax a few months and then I guess get started. It's kind of scary, I've been thinking of it for so long and planning it in my head, and now the reality will hit soon enough...
My partner and I are using a known donor, and our decision was based primarily around two things: practicality, and the desire to keep the medical intervention as low as possible, at least in the beginning.
We're living in a country that neither of us are from, so we couldn't go with really close/old friends, or with her brother's sperm (I am the one TTC right now). So those options were out. I do have a gay male friend at home that I chatted to about it casually once, but he said he felt he would have to be the father - to play that role in some way - and I feel, personally, that making parenting decisions with ONE other person is enough for me. I'd love to be able to consider a three-way parenting situation (more love for the baby!), but it's not for me. But talking to that friend at home was a good thing - it helped me clarify where I sit on things, and helped both my partner and I to further decide what we wanted.
In the end, we asked a friend here who is the husband of a friend of mine. They are a very open and relaxed couple, kind of like contemporary day hippies, and this really sat well with their sense of the world. They have two kids, so my fears that this guy could change his mind and want to play Daddy to our baby are sufficiently quelled. There is no 'weirdness' around his trips to make a donation at our house, and once his wife (my friend) was actually waiting outside with the kids because they were all off to somewhere afterwards! We all had a great laugh about that one.
We don't have a lot of extra cash, and the IUI process with purchased/flown-in donor sperm can be expensive. We wanted to give things a go in the simplest way possible. If it doesn't work (I am 38 and have polycystic ovaries, but not PCOS), then we will go the clinical route. We do have lesbian couple friends who are going that route from the beginning, and there are definitely benefits - let's just say they aren't spending hours testing the quality of their cervical fluid, because there is an ultrasound to look for the follicle!!
It's a really personal decision, and I can definitely see the pros and cons of both. We found what feels like the perfect guy - he's attractive to us in looks and personality, he's already had his family, and I think he feels happy to be doing a good deed for us. But if he had said no, or my friend (his wife) was weird about it, then I am not sure what path we would have gone...
I'd really love to hear other people's stories!
We had a known donor to start, but unfortunately, it didn't work. It was our preferred method initially -- insem at home, keep it simple and non-medical, AND have a great friend who will be the kid's special uncle. This is how multiple couples we know got pregnant, and their relationships with their respective donors have been awesome. No weirdness at all. However, after months of it not working, we just wanted to be pregnant. The clinic was waaaay more medicalized, but after the months of stressing about timing and all the rest of it, it was sort of a relief to hand it all over to someone else and let them worry about all of that. AND we got pregnant on our first try at the clinic! So that helped with our concern about costs, and we were just super happy that it had worked!
Like Desert, ours is an open-access donor. We have his whole file, and when the LO is 18 she/he can decide if she/he wants to know more about the donor.
Honestly, I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way. Our decision was made for us in the end, but either way has good and bad elements. Good luck with whatever you decide!!
BB - I originally wanted a known donor, and we had someone who was happy to do it, but he had to have his vasectomy reversed, and the surgery was not successful. Then we asked another guy, and he said no. At that point, after some soul searching, I agreed to go with the IR donor from a bank. Some advice: We tried the first two cycles bringing the sperm home to make it more "natural," but that was a nightmare. The first cycle, we were so afraid of missing my ovulation that we picked up the sperm before the surge, and then I never surged in time (maybe because we had to put my beloved cat down that week), so we had to re-deposit the sample, incurring a bunch of extra charges. If you insem at a good clinic, the clinic can hold the sperm in its own cryo freezer indefinitely, so you don't have to worry about when to order the sperm. That has made things so much easier. You say you are getting married in MA -- congrats! Do you live in the state, like me?
My partner and I discussed the known donor option but thought it was too risky to count on someone else to remain just a donor. My fear was that even if he didn't want to be a father figure at the present moment, what if he changed his mind later on? The thought of all that drama steered us away from the known donor option.
We chose and identity option donor at the sperm bank. The ID option was important to us so that if our child one day wanted to learn who his/her father was they could find him. Choosing an ID option donor really narrowed our options but it was worth it to us.
Good luck with this tough decision!
DP and I are having the same dilemma. We thought about asking DD's father but he has a child with another woman, and we already knew she would not be okay with that, even if he was. Same with DP's brother. He had previously agreed to it, but has since had children and their mother is religious and we know she wouldn't go for it. Her best friend from high school is a gay man with no desire to have children, so he seems like a good candidate, but we're wondering about making sure his sperm is "safe" considering he's a gay man in a small town where gay men are known to perform risky sexual behavior. How does one go about this, if any of you have?
There are sperm banks that will test a donor's sperm for you and then freeze it to use later. The ones I researched had a 6-month quarantine period before you could use the sperm. I think that may be so they can retest for STD's after 6 months. I'm not sure what the legal ramifications of doing it this way are, if by going through a bank, the donor is giving up all parental rights. Otherwise, you can ask a known donor to get himself tested for genetic diseases and STD's but I assume you would be paying for that. You could also get a sperm analysis to make sure the swimmers are healthy.
Going through a bank has a lot of advantages for us. They do all the testing for you and make sure the donor is healthy and has sperm that could actually get you pregnant. And legally, the donor has no parental rights. That is why we chose to use a bank. It's safer and there's less hassle.
The disadvantage of using a bank is that fresh sperm lasts longer. It can live in your body for a few days whereas frozen only lives 12-24 hours. If you use a known donor, you are trusting them with your life and the life of your yet-to-be-conceived baby. You have to really trust that person and check them out thoroughly. I have seen many stories on here about known donors freaking out/flaking out/having lousy swimmers. Some people have excellent experiences with known donors, but you would definitely need to have legal agreements drawn up and get the proper testing done.
Now we're going to fertility clinic to do IUIs with frozen sperm.