What should we be thinking about? - KD question - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 09-27-2010, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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My sister and her partner want to have two kids. My sister really wants the experience of pregnancy, but her partner isn't sure she does, so my sister is up first. We are discussing the possibility of my husband becoming their known donor.

Some potentially relevent (or not?) facts: DH and I have a 9 month old and would like to have one or two more children. Sister, partner, and I are all one race and my DH is a different race (DS of course is biracial). DH is adopted and does not know his medical history. Part of what appeals to him about known donation is the pleasure of helping my sister become a mother, and helping all of us to enjoy an enlarged extended family. Part is for our son and any future siblings to have more biological relatives who look somewhat like them and might have similar blood and tissue types if anyone ever needed that (DH and DS are healthy now). DH is a very hands-on, engaged father and will be an involved uncle no matter who provides sperm to my sister and/or her partner. My sister and I grew up as part of a "gang" of beloved cousins and hope our kids can have some of that experience.

I'm just wondering whether anyone has advice for us on what we should be thinking about and talking through as we make this decision. We are pretty clear on the legal issues; it's the more emotional stuff I'm wondering about.
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#2 of 5 Old 09-27-2010, 08:59 PM
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Our donor went out and found other donors to speak to about their experiences - one had a fantastic experience and the other was a horror story. From our experience thus far, I think it's been key to talk openly and honestly about how we're feeling. We used a known donor, who will not be a co-parent to this child but will be more than a donor. Our baby will also be multiracial and a blend of our different cultures (I present as white, the donor as East Indian). There's no guideline to set out boundaries for this kind of relationship. This has been like having a relationship with three people, and in your case, possibly four. And, we created a mutual road map to discuss, outline and mutually agree upon our expectations.

We thought through the following:
  • how do you want to be known to the kid
  • who will know that your husband is the donor (are you open/closed about this)
  • who will you talk to about how the pregnancy occurred
  • how many times will you try
  • what kind of say will you have in education, health, life, discipline
  • what about relocation
  • what about legal costs
  • what kind of involvement do you want in the kid's life
  • what about cultural traditions, vacation and access

As you both think through the following about what you want, you can then discuss with your sister and her partner to see if you're on the same page. This is just a start and some of these were so nuanced in our discussions.

DW and I are moms to two teens (DD 17 and DS 15) adopted through CAS in 2007 and a toddler (DD 2) born at home in March 2011.

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#3 of 5 Old 09-28-2010, 06:36 AM
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A big huge and to everything gumshoe says.

Also, I recently read And baby makes more which is an anthology of essays by several known donors and their familial constellations, and you may find it helpful to read the been there, done that stories.

And there are several threads on here about KDs but not a lot from the perspective (if any?) of donors themselves.

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 5 Old 09-28-2010, 06:40 AM
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Oh, and - his family.

That has been A Topic with my us (donor and me). He is close with his, I am estranged and difficult with mine. So we've spent a bit of time introducing me to his family and talking about things around that.

He has struggled with his family's reaction to me and my pregnancy and his donorhood, but it's been a useful struggle.

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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#5 of 5 Old 09-29-2010, 11:01 PM
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It sounds like you are being really thoughtful about all of this. In our journey with our known donor, we have also found papa's recommended "and baby makes more" helpful, but the most helpful was really stephanie brill's "essential guide....". the chapter there on known donors was extremely useful and there is a part on using a relative as a known donor. I found her to be pretty cautionary about using someone's brother or other relative (i think she worries about the extended family's reactions and the emphasis on genetics leaving out the non-bio parent) and i think those are useful cautions but i think in practice people have done it really successfully and i think the racial identity dynamics you are describing add another dimension to it that is important to weigh.
i would second the suggestion to search the archives as there have been lots of threads on this known donor stuff.
we also found folks for our donor to talk to about their donating experience just by asking around in our extended community and i think that was helpful.
good luck!
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