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#1 of 15 Old 01-25-2009, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

So I am trying to sort out this whole donor sperm thing and just need to process with people who habe been there done that. As I have said and you all know I am a straight woman and my man has no sperm so we need to do donor sperm.

So I am still massively processing but also more accepting.
So at first I said- only known donor! But we asked one friend last night and he said maybe/ yes and then I relaized it may feel too too weird to have hime be someone we know really well.

So then we are looking at sperm banks.
I like the feel of the sperm bank of california- but there are only photos on xytex.

I like that tsbc only allows 10 babies per donor! But I paid the 165 dollars to look at the xytex photos and really honestly found 99% of them awful. I tohught- I would never be okay with any of these- and my dh- my sweet infertile dh is really gorgeous and all so I had to be comparing

So anyway- I finally found one- and only one- profile and picture on xytex that I like.

So do I just go for it? I kindof want to because I need to get on with this already.
But there is the cmv + status of this donor. I never heard of this thing before today.

And also- by using a sperm bank donor do I have more risks of a birth defect baby? I just don't knwownyone irl who has a baby from a sperm bank except one couple i met and their baby had severe birth defects-

Which I think is a totally random occurance- but it did scare me.

can anyone please tell me about how they used xytex or another sperm bank and have one or more perfectly beautiful healthy children?

Anyone do at home insemination and a home birth?

Thank you- this feels quite overwhelming to me.
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#2 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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First of all, be wary of any "limitations" that banks claim to place on the number of babies per donor (it's actually number of families per donor which makes more sense since you wouldn't want the bank to tell you that you couldn't have another child with your same donor due to a donor limit). The banks rely on self-reporting, and a lot of people, apparently, don't call the bank and tell them that they got pregnant using whatever donor. We used California Cryobank and they claim to limit donors to 10 families. We've already FOUND 16 families that used the same donor we did (and that's just who we've found). When we inquired about this, we were told that since many of the families don't self-report, the number of families per donor is likely closer to 30 (which could easily be 70+ children, most of the families we've found have at least 2 kids from the donor). Just FYI. I'm guessing that this is similar at other banks, but I don't know for sure (the Rainbow Flag bank is the only one I've heard of that really does limit donors to a small number of families).

Everything I've read has said that there's no higher incidence of birth defects or anything like that from using donor sperm. Our 3 kids seem perfectly healthy and plenty beautiful to me.

We did not have any pictures of our donor at the time of choosing him, but after our twins were born, a baby photo became available, and I bought it. It was a little weird to see, honestly, since I'd just been thinking of the donor as a vial of sperm, not really a person. Anyway, I don't think I would have picked our donor based on his baby photo, but it all worked out fine regardless (our kids don't look much like him, and his baby photo wasn't unattractive, just kind of intense--he has REALLY big eyes ).

I understand that you feel anxious to get the ball rolling, but I wouldn't rush into any decision about what type of donor or which donor specifically to use. This is all still pretty new for you guys, and maybe waiting another cycle to make sure that you feel good about your decision wouldn't be a bad plan.

I know nothing about the CMV status thing. That wasn't even something they tested for 6 years ago when we first bought sperm.

HTH!

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#3 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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Katie - I found it really helpful *not* to look at pictures or listen to voices.

I listened to a half-dozen donor voice samples on the Fairfax website and realized that their southern voices (Fairfax is in Georgia) were turning me off. (I have since had a very hot encounter with a man from Atlanta who had the most gorgeous southern drawl, so maybe my views have changed.)

I think of it this way - you don't have to marry the guy. You never have to meet him or have anything to do with him. He is not replacing your DH.

You might find Stephanie Brill's book really helpful - the new essential guide to lesbian conception, pregnancy, birth - she's a midwife, and her book does have lesbian in the title, but it's not only for lesbians, and she does state that explicitly. She is really frank about how to choose a donor, and I found her advice very helpful.

Sperm counts are much more important than photos, IMO. Your child will be beautiful to you no matter what, so don't worry about whether you find the donor attractive or not.

SPBC Finally a Papa! Elise Ember Soleil - 10/3/10 - 4:09 AM - 6 lbs 8 oz My daughter eats donor milk! Human milk for human babies!
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#4 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Lex and ftMpapa.

Lex I think you are right that we should give everything at least another cycle. When I feel into it all now my real feeling is- I don't Know. We did just findo ut dh's confirmed infertility ststau less than 2 weeks ago. (we knew he had no sperm but 2 weeks ago we got the results from the doc more more detailed).

Aquestion: You had twins from a sperm donor? Is there more occurance of twins from dodnors? Probably not, right? How do you think you ended up with twins?
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#5 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 01:20 AM
 
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Hey Katie,

These are all such normal fears. Before I got pregnant, I was completely obsessed with the possible donors I might use. I wanted to know what they looked like, what kind of people they were, if we would have the same senses of humor. After I got pregnant though, and definitely once she was born, I just didn't really think of the donor so much anymore. My baby is so completely, well, my baby.

I hear you on the looks thing. I definitely wondered what she would look like, and worried that she'd be weird looking. (I know this is ridiculous, but I did.) I am happy to report, however, that she is in fact the most perfect, beautiful baby ever, so you can make a good one with donor sperm. (See the link in my sig for my blog, Hello Ocean, to see pics of her.)

I used TSBC and was very happy. And while they don't let you look at photos, you can send them a pic of your partner, and they'll match it for you to the closest donors.

I don't think that CMV status is something to worry about. They don't sell sperm from anyone with an active infection. The positive sperm is presumed non-infectious. I don't know my donor's status, and it wouldn't have mattered, since I don't know my own. I just figured it was likely that I was positive myself anyway.

I did IUI inseminations at home, and got pregnant twice out of six cycles (one miscarriage). My two pregnancies were with higher sperm count donors (over 45 or 50 million), so I would definitely prioritize that as well. I would have loved to have a homebirth, but couldn't afford it. Next time...

Take your time with all this and follow your gut. And remember that one cycle now seems like an eternity, but a month will seem like nothing once your baby is here.

Good luck!

A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!

Building queer family since 2008!

(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)

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#6 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 05:47 PM
 
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Katie,
When we were just starting TTC, I stumbled into a conversation with an acquaintance at church. To my surprise, it turned out that her husband was infertile, and they'd used bank donor sperm to create their two beautiful children. I watched their two kids playing kickball and thought, wow, it works! It was a real gift she gave me, by being honest and supportive, and so, hopefully here's some pay-forward.

First, please remember that you're not alone. There are too many sperm banks in the US to be explained just by lesbians -- thare must be many, many het women in your boat. (Walk around any large playground, and you can bet that some of those kiddos were made with the help of donors.) But AI and infertility still has a huge stigma, and het couples are reluctant to talk about it. Whereas lesbian baby-making falls outside society's expectations, and we're used to being socially stigmatized, so we talk about this stuff openly. So, if lesbians are better at talking about this stuff & writing it down, then great, those are resources you can use, too. Rachel Pepper's book (which is funnier than Brill's, and just as informative) may help you choose a donor and navigate the TTC process. She has very clear explanations about the different types of AI, the different choices at banks, etc.

Anyway, to your questions. First, known donor vs bank donor. I suggest that you have a long conversation with your partner and make sure you both understand his reservations, if any, about using a known donor. It would be natural to have reservations or resentment of a known donor, and it would be best to be honest about it now.

Also, it's hard work being a known donor (it cramps one's schedule, prevents travel, and interferes with one's sex life), so before you ask an acquaintance, you may want to read up on exactly what's required.

As for birth defects, the risks are a bit *lower* with a bank donor, because banks extensively screen for genetic diseases (most do Cystic Fibrosis, Tay Sachs, and several others.) By contrast, most straight folks don't test for before TTC. And frankly, the medical histories of most donors are much better than most people's. Finally, there's no logical reason to expect higher birth defects with AI -- it's still sperm and egg meeting, after all.

As for choosing a donor: it may help to take a step back, and remember that what one buys from a bank is not a person, but a tiny vial containing an M&M's weight of DNA. Bio-siblings have huge differences in appearance and personality, so you won't be able to make a baby that look just like the donor, even if you wanted to. We personally went by medical history, personality, and then counts. Though I did veto a few donors with ugly baby pix.

Best of luck to you!

Geek. TTC since 09/2008. M/cs 01/2009, 12/2009. IVF 7/2009, 10/2009, 1/2010.
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#7 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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You know, I always find it interesting reading people's stories about how difficult their process of choosing a donor is. Our first daughter came to us through adoption, so we had no input as to her genetic makeup. I think for us, b/c of that, the process of choosing the donor was not so intense. I think having a child by adoption changes your perspective a little.

PROUD mama to Amiya, age 6 , and Asher, born 10/2009 . Loving partner to dp, Amy.
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#8 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think the reason I fear a greater risk of birth defects by sperm donor is the sheer not knowing of the person or their family at all. I feel like even though they test for a lot of things, there is always something. I think this is also biased by the only people I have met- recently and briefly- that I think used a sperm bank donor had a child with severe defects. But I didn't get the whole story on that baby's conception etc.

Anyway- yeah. Having never been pregnant or parented- I think I just don't know what to expect.I think even if my partner were fertile I would have some fears about how the baby would turn out.

As for chosing a sperm bank donor- I simply can't get past not seeing the photo.
Which limits me a lot since only xytex does those. But then all those donors are from Georgia.

Anyway- I am on CD 13- and I ususally ovulate around cd 17 or 18. but I am going to be out of town CD 14, 15, 16.
and I still have to get my CMV test which I figure I may as well so as to alleviate unnecessary fea r about that.

So we may just continue to be patient until NEXT cycle, unless by some chance we just go for it this cycle.

Any more responses very welcomed, I appreciate anyone taking their time to respond to me, a lot!
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#9 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is my next fear that I need to process please:

Is there more of a risk of miscarriage from frozen sperm over fresh sperm? This might influence my choice of known vs sperm bank donor.

Thanks for replies
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#10 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 10:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie34 View Post
Here is my next fear that I need to process please:

Is there more of a risk of miscarriage from frozen sperm over fresh sperm? This might influence my choice of known vs sperm bank donor.

Thanks for replies
No, not from using frozen sperm itself. I believe that there is a higher risk of miscarriage with certain fertility procedures (IVF, etc.). Because there is often an overlap of people using donor sperm and people needing said fertility procedures, it can appear as if rates of m/c are higher with donor sperm. Another issue is that many women who aren't ttc get pregnant and then miscarry and never even know that they were pregnant, so these m/cs are never reported. Obviously if you're using donor sperm, you start testing immediately, and you know if you were pregnant, even briefly.

Anyway, a long way to say that no, none of the statistics I've seen indicate that you're any more likely to miscarry with frozen sperm than with fresh.

A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!

Building queer family since 2008!

(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)

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#11 of 15 Old 01-26-2009, 11:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie34 View Post
Anyway- yeah. Having never been pregnant or parented- I think I just don't know what to expect.I think even if my partner were fertile I would have some fears about how the baby would turn out.
This is a really important perspective to have, and you are absolutely right, using donor sperm or not, pregnant intentionally or not, lots of people do have fears about how the baby will turn out!

One suggestion - you might want to find out if there's an infertility support group, or something along those lines for people in your area. I think it might alleviate some of your fears if you knew more donor conceived kids.

You might also want to think about counselling for you and your parnter. Infertility is a very hard thing to deal with, and using a donor when it's so far outside the norm for your family, community, etc. might take some time to process.

SPBC Finally a Papa! Elise Ember Soleil - 10/3/10 - 4:09 AM - 6 lbs 8 oz My daughter eats donor milk! Human milk for human babies!
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#12 of 15 Old 01-27-2009, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am glad to hear that frozen sperm is okay risk wise. thanks.

FTMpapa yes, you are right that counseling would be good for us. We actually have our first appointment set up for next week, which we need.
Luckily for me, my dh is super mellow and easygoing about everything and is taking this all very well. As you can see, I am the one heavy processing. But it helps me a lot to be informed.

Also,I think you are right tha if I knew a lot of healthy happy kids born from donor sperm I would have less fears. I know none. But for example, almost everyone I know in my community has had a home birth or 2 or 3 and so as far as when I give birth, I am looking forward to that and have lots of tangible info of it's okayness. So I know what you mean- fear of the unknown I think.
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#13 of 15 Old 01-27-2009, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My next question is:

who did you all get to sign the documentation to allow the sperm bank to deliver sperm to your home for at home insemination?
I just talked to my gynocologist and she said she doesn't do that.
She said she only does IUI's in the office for insemnation.

So- I have a call into another doctor but that receptionist said they have only ever done IUI's for insem.

hmmm...
more obstacles

We are definatley wanting to inseminate in the privacy of our own bedroom.
Can I ask any doc or midwife?
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#14 of 15 Old 03-14-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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I just wanted to say that as I am moving through the process of choosing a cryobank and determining what is important to us in a donor I am finding reading all of this really really helpful.

So grateful for the OP asking the questions, and so grateful to all of you for being open and honest and helpful in answering them.

- Sarah

Sarah photosmile2.gif, 29 - married and entirely love.gif with DH geek.gif. Mama to our one and only amazing Adeline joy.gif 11.05  Forever holding 4 brokenheart.gifs .
 
 
 
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#15 of 15 Old 03-15-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jodybird511 View Post
You know, I always find it interesting reading people's stories about how difficult their process of choosing a donor is. Our first daughter came to us through adoption, so we had no input as to her genetic makeup. I think for us, b/c of that, the process of choosing the donor was not so intense. I think having a child by adoption changes your perspective a little.
I agree! Our twins are also adopted. But since we are doing a surrogacy this time we are trying to chose a donor that is similar to the girls. Good Luck! We start our first cycle in about 10 days! Also we are using Midwest Sperm Bank out of Chicago. Funny as our girls were born in Chicago!

Mamma to identical twin girls (June, 2006 born at 30 weeks), new bundle of joy due August, 2011
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