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Known Donor didn't work out. Partner and I are disappointed. Anonymous sperm donor?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello Queer parents(and to be's)!


We're a couple in Berlin, Germany looking to conceive our first child. We're also a bi-national couple, and bi-racial couple. I'm African American and my partner is white Swedish. My partner is going to be the gestational parent first because she's a bit older and really wants to carry. It's been really important for us to have a black donor and we thought we found the perfect guy. He grew up in the same city I grew up in. He's an artist, Queer and really sweet. At our second meeting a few days ago it became clear that he wanted to be the daddy, and wanted to play a bigger role in parenting than I felt comfortable with. He also said something really weird along the lines like "if you have twins then I definitely want custody of one of them", and "How do you feel about the kids sharing my last name". Needless to say it was a bit stressful, as we both really like him but dont want to share :/ so much. In Germany he would also have to give up his parental rights after the child is born so I could adopt the baby, and then apply for a US passport for the child. I didn't feel like I could really trust him. DP and I are going to call it off with him, and we're looking into a more affordable feministy fertility clinic in Denmark. The clinic is called storkklinik and was started by lesbians. I just emailed them to see if one of the sperm banks they use has a Black sperm donor available. I know the answer to this question cause I already searched the two affiliate banks databases. There are basically 2 guys we could potentially chose from, and the one who has ID release is sold out. We are talking about the possibility of using an anonymous donor sperm now. Have any of you used an anonymous donor through a bank? I worry about future resentment, and I am also too threatened/shooken up by the KD route. I really like the idea an ID release donor, but if one isn't available. What have you all done?

post #2 of 12
Hey and welcome.
I'm also TTC in Germany. It sounds really rough what you experienced with the KD. My fear of situations like this were why we went straight to a bank, although I have many friends where it worked just fine with a KD.
I personally wouldn't use Storkklinik if you're in Berlin, since it is way more expensive and more hassle than using one of the local clinics and importing sperm from Denmark (Cryos or European Sperm Bank) but I heard lots of good things about them. The people working there are really nice.
A quick check of my Cryos donor database didn't show any black donors, only asian and middle eastern guys. However, I would give them a call and ask, if they would be willing to transfer some deposits from their US branch to Denmark for you. In the US they'll surely have a black donor. From my experience the clinic is very helpful. Another option would be to order straight from the US and store it in Berlin.
If you want to look at local options in Berlin, there are a couple of lesbian friendly fertility clinics who do IUIs, usually with Cryos or European Sperm Bank sperm. FERA where an IUI with US and bloodtest is about 300€ http://www.kinderwunsch-ivf-berlin.de/ and Kinderwunschklinik an der Gedächtniskirche http://www.kinderwunsch-berlin.de/index.html where it is about 400€ but they're open on saturdays, which the other one isn't. FERA is open to single women and couples without registered partnership (German civil unions) though. Oh and, did you check with SEJ Berlin, the German sperm bank if they have a donor for you? I don't like their registration fee, but if they had a black donor you might be willing to pay that?

The anonymous sperm question - yes, we're using anonymous sperm. I know that lots of lesbian couple are very concerned about keeping the option open for the child to meet their donor, but for us it isn't a priority, and from what I read the kids usually are ok with not knowing, as long as it isn't some big secret that is suddenly revealed later on. It's similiar to closed adoptions, although the kids have "at least" one bio parent. We'll talk about our reasons with the kid, explain how our family is build on social ties not genetics and hope for the best.
post #3 of 12

Hi there. I just wanted to share my empathy regarding the KD situation. My wife and I had a KD and were really excited about the whole process and everything felt good and right and he was really excited, all of our values and expectations were lining up...and then something came up and he didn't feel comfortable donating anymore. We had originally planned on our first insemination being this month, so it's been a really big let down and adjustment. 


We have exhausted our brains trying to come up with another KD option, but we have yet to think of someone we feel the same way about. So we are know getting comfortable with using a bank. We haven't talked a lot about identify release vs anonymous yet but I'm sure we will in the coming months. I don't really have any advice on using an anonymous donor, just wanted to say that I feel ya and hope everything works out and that you can find the perfect donor for your family. I think it sounds like you and your partner just have to decide what things are most important to you in a donor. 


Best of luck!

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much @Friederike and @2justicemamas. Friederike I didn't know that the FERA clinic was lesbian friendly. This could potentially work for us and we will be contacting them soon. The costs at stokklinik amount to €563 per try including anon sperm. That's what we calculated. European sperm bank as of today has 5 donors we could potentially choose from. Are you using FERA? I was a bit unclear from the website whether or not storage was included in insem.

I am still interested in hearing from more parents who have chosen or will choose anonymous donors, and how they feel about that decision. I guess the only information I have gathered on the subject has been about donor conceived children who were lied to about how their conception really happened. Talked to DP a bit about it this morning, and we're considering it a bit still. @2justicemamas DP and I were also ready to go this month with KD :( . It all felt like it was really coming together and then he started talking more like a father and not like a donor. I think from this point out we are going to go the bank route. You both have been really helpful. I have to say that I don't know many queer parents or people trying to conceive in my life and so it's really nice to have other's out there to share this kind of information with. :)

post #5 of 12

You're welcome. No, we're not working with FERA (yet). I am doing IUIs locally in Saxony, with my regular doctor; not a fertility clinic. I just asked her to do it and bring in the sperm by myself from Cryos sperm bank. She did work at a fertility center though, before she opened her private pratice some years back. My work schedule would make it really tough to even travel to Berlin, never mind Denmark, just in time for the egg to pop. We're currently waiting for the results of the 6th try and I'll try at least 3 times more. If it didn't work by then, well move on to IVF with FERA in Berlin.


In general, many doctors and clinics are open to lesbians in Berlin. The "Landesärztekammer" state guidelines in Berlin for assisted reproduction are among the best in Germany for queer couples and since the market is so huge in the city, with the high gay and lesbian population, there are various options. If you need more addresses I could send you a couple more. The 2 clinics I mentioned just seem to be the top choice for all queers I know who inseminate in the Berlin region.


I also suggest getting in contact with LSVD and for you to read their http://www.family.lsvd.de/beratungsfuehrer/index.php?id=29 Beratungsführer Kinderwunsch. The LSVD has a legal advice hotline, the opportunity to meet with one of their workers for free legal advice and emotional counceling, a queer TTC group and a LGBT parent-kid group called ILSE http://www.ilse.lsvd.de/index.php?id=94 with several local branches. There's some stuff online besides the guide I linked to, but in my experience it has been the most helpful to talk to them directly on the phone, in person or send mails with questions.

My wife and I also regularly attend the local queer TTC group with our local LGBT center and combined with this forum here for every day talk, it really helps to share with others what you're going through.

post #6 of 12

Looks like Friederike has tons of good advice specific to Germany. I'll share a little of what my wife and I did about a donor. We originally planned on using sperm from a relative. He had a vasectomy reversal, and it was unsuccessful. At first we were devastated, but now I think we are both a little relieved that the baby will be viewed as "just ours" by the family, instead of ours and the donor's.


We chose an ID release donor. For us it was the best choice in case the child wants to contact him, but my guess is, not every child will want to. If you are still hoping for ID release, I hope some of the suggestions here lead you to an acceptable black donor. Our situation was easier, because we were using a white donor. But I know the bank we used (New England Cryogenic Center) ships overseas, though I'm not sure where exactly they ship to, or how expensive it is. I checked just now and they have two ID release donors who identified themselves as black and one who is black and Asian.


If you end up going with someone anonymous, try to take comfort in the fact that your child will view you as its true, loving parents, and may not even be too concerned about who the donor was.


Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

post #7 of 12
We used ID release, but the local bank is anonymous and all my local friends used anonymous donors. The kids are all now tweens and could care less at this point.

There are many people in contact with other families who used the same donor, if you want to explore that option.
post #8 of 12

I'm sorry it didn't work out with your KD - that must be very disappointing :(


We used a KD so I don't have any input on using an anonymous donor. However, I do have strong feelings about it. You seem to really prefer an ID release (or known) donor. I feel like it's a child's right to have access to that information and whenever possible they should have that right. Yes, a child may never have a desire to know more about or to meet their donor but how can we predict how they will feel? It's a pretty big decision to make for someone imho.


As for comparing it to open/closed adoptions, the trend is actually towards having only open adoptions now. I believe in Canada all adoptions are now open (I think the UK and other European countries are the same).


I'm not trying to make you (or anyone else) feel bad about choosing an anonymous donor - I just feel there are better options. 

post #9 of 12

Well the thing is, in Europe there is almost no availablity for open-identity donors because the markets work very differently than the US one. I don't feel that we have better options, I researched a lot but didn't find them here. If Denmark didn't have such liberal laws that allow anonymous donation most EU countries would have serious shortage and long waiting lists. 2yrs in Britain or no right to choose your own donor, instead they are assigned by the physician like Norway. I read lots of studies on the impact of donor conception and according to the one that I think is the most comprehensive one with good methodology, the 2010 Adolescents of the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: the impact of having a known or an unknown donor on the stability of psychological adjustment by Bos and Gartrell published in Human Reproduction "Our findings indicate that donor type has no bearing on the development of the psychological well-being of the offspring of lesbian mothers over a 7-year period from childhood through adolescence." http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/3/630.full

Oh and according to German law all adoptions of persons under 18 are generally closed incognito adoptions. Some people privately get in touch with the birth parents through the agency if both want it.

Edited by Friederike - 4/18/13 at 3:47am
post #10 of 12
European Sperm bank USA is all ID release, right? That's a big reason we used them. They must share between banks to Europe because we were just contacted from Europe by a family with a baby who shares a donor with one of our boys. They didn't have many black donor the last time I looked but if ID release is important to you, it might be something to look into.
post #11 of 12

A bit late on coming into this thread, but wanted to share. I have 3 children, all "sired" by the same anonymous sperm donor. They are 9,8, & 6, and healthy vibrant children. No health issues, nothing. We also are fortunate to be in touch with other parents of the donor's offspring. My ex and I are separated, but share custody with the children, who see us both regularly. We also have good relationships with all of them,


But, to answer the question posed, I regret using an unknown donor and should I be fortunate enough to have more children in the future, I would not choose an anonymous donor to conceive them. My kids do ask, not to the point where they get upset about it ever, but they do question it. Additionally, I grew up without a relationship to my father, and even with no relationship to him, I appreciate knowing who he is. I am somewhat saddened that my children will not have an opportunity to know their genetic line/biological father. Even better if the guy wants to be a part of the child's life. It's a relationship that I know would most likely benefit the child. My current partner agrees and is seeking the same for when we choose to expand our family together.

post #12 of 12

I agree with august I would hate to use an anyonmous donor and live with that forever

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