We are having a particular struggle and am hoping for some comments from those who might have had similar concerns.
We strongly prefer using a known donor mostly because we really want to allow a future child the opportunity to known their origins from the beginning and to have a relationship (even if it is infrequent) with their donor. It feels similar to our committment to open adoption should adoption end up being our path to parenthood.
We are currently in discussions with KD #3. KD #1 and #2 did not work out due to a medical issue and low sperm count, respectively. All three donors have been friends because we want a donor with integrity and good relationship skills and can't assess that with strangers. With all three donors, we have had months of dialogue. Our approach to this relationship is thorough and deliberate as we want to be sure that as many potential boundary concerns and unintended consequences are explored as possible and also because working with friends brings some extra issues with it.
We are nearing the end of discussions with KD #3 and have some indications that he may decide that he can't be our donor. We don't know this for sure and are giving him some space to make whatever decision he needs to. But we're sad and concerned.
I am to carry and I am almost 39 so we are feeling time pressure. We don't know any other men that we would feel comfortable asking. And so why not just go to a sperm bank, right? Here's where our biggest struggle is.
When we were first beginning this process, donor sperm from a bank seemed like a fine back-up option. However, the process of visioning with each KD about how it might work and what we hoped for for our child has strengthened our desire for a KD, possibly to the point of any other option not being viable for us. I (and my partner to maybe a slightly lesser degree, but only slightly) feel quite burdened with the idea of creating a child that will not have any contact with their donor before age 18 and perhaps not even then if the donor decides he is not willing to be contacted. I didn't feel this way a couple of years ago but now, it feels like an ethical dilemma to me and I'm not sure my desire to give birth is stronger than my committment to the principles that inform this decision. To top it all off, it just really bothers me to shop for sperm like I'm buying a washing machine or a tv. My tolerance for pouring over donor profiles is low. It makes me feel like I'm participating in the commodifying of gametes (and children) when these things are just not commodities to me.
For those of you who may be feeling defensive about your choice to use donor sperm from a bank, please know that my/our dilemma is a personal one. I don't have judgments about other's choices in this area. In fact, I wish I didn't have the struggles myself.
I'm wondering if there are any of you out there who struggled with this. I'm spinning a bit with "if KD #3 doesn't work out and we can't bring ourselves to use sperm from a bank, then we are out of options." This makes me so sad. Adoption would have a to wait for a while as my partner is finishing school and I'm growing a business that is not yet producing income. We wouldn't pass a home study.
Anyone have some insight? Or perhaps can empathize? Thanks in advance.
Not feeling so Happycalm
I can totally relate to these feelings. When DP and I first started out we thought where the sperm came from didn't matter to us...creating our family was what mattered! However, the more we talked and researched and talked with others, we decided a KD was the option that felt right for us and for our future children. All our fears around a KD (he might want to parent, or be in our child's life) seemed to pale in comparison with our fear around not being able to provide info, and more importantly, a connection if desired, with half our child's DNA. It may end up being a total non issue and our child may never even want a relationship with her KD but the chance that she might want that (and want it very strongly) was just too much for us to risk not being able to provide that. It seems wrong to me to knowingly take away those rights.
We also felt strongly about choosing our KD very carefully. Not only did we want the option of our child having a relationship with KD but we wanted the KD to be someone we would choose to be in our child's life very deliberately. We wanted it to be someone we knew, trusted and respected.
And now that we have a daughter I'm SO happy we made that decision. Our KD does not have any relationship with our DD now other than he has met her randomly. But she will see him in our larger social circle over time and when she starts asking questions we'll start to tell her story. And he is an incredible guy and so respectful and loving and he's just been perfect about the whole thing I have to admit. And his fiance has been too!
When we recently started on #2 we were worried our KD wouldn't be into another one (when we asked him about a second he did admit that right after DD was born he felt really strong emotions and it was harder than he thought - he had never told us that before). We were in a panic about what we would do because we would rather not have an only child. It was a terrible feeling that there was a possibility that we couldn't use the same KD. Fortunately he decided that DD having a sibling was important to him too (he's the greatest, seriously! lol). My point here is that we decided that after having DD and going through the experience with a KD that we would not feel comfy going the sperm bank route.
I know we are VERY fortunate and if we hadn't found a KD I have no idea what we would have done.
So, I can totally empathize and I truly hope you are able to find a KD that is "the one."
Oh, and I was 39 when I gave birth to DD so no worries about your age ;)