Almost there

Right – in a bid to get the ‘what’s happened so far’ stuff out of the way I’m going to try and keep this shorter – I apologise for the length of some of my previous posts!  It would feel wrong to start this blog without some of the background context, but I realise none of you are that interested in my life story!  Besides, I have ttc to start obsessing over (first Doctors appointment in less than two weeks!) and a lot of more theoretical/political/arg-what-the-fuck-are-we-doing rambling that I really hope this blog can help me make sense of!

So, although we did continue to look at the previously mentioned “matching” sites, we also started to look in earnest at sperm banks.  I say we, I was more willing to let go of a known donor than L was at this point, but over several months of nothing much else cropping up on the websites, they were pretty much abandoned by us both and L was on the sperm-bank-train as well.  We had an agreement to keep looking at both options, and decided when something felt right (whichever method it was) it would just feel right  To start with, we were mostly window shopping, so didn’t pay for access to any of the extended profiles and just check out the few sites with a fair amount of info that was free both in the US and Europe (access was far more expensive than the matching sites, and we’d already let that lapse and paid again a couple of times on the sites over a couple of years – see my posts are far too long but this really is the abridged version!).

What were we looking for – healthy obviously, someone who seemed like someone we’d relate to, willing to be known non-negotiable (for ourselves as well as for UK law), over 5″11 ish, nice looking (we were never looking for movie star good looks but we didn’t want someone neither of us thought was even vaguely attractive).  Ethnicity wise we decided that it would be odd to throw something completely random into the mix that reflected neither L or myself so not someone Chinese or pale and blond (two examples among many)- perhaps strangely (or at least some of our friends think it’s strange) it was more looks than ethnic background though so dark complexion, dark hair (which is what I look like) was considered, be this south American, southern European or Indian.  One of L’s non-negotiable points was an adult photo – from reading other blogs I know some people have been horrified by this idea (if anyone can explain why in the comments I’d be very grateful – totally don’t get this!).  I might have been more prepared to accept a baby or child photo but this was never on the table for us so that was that.

This process again took forever (or it seemed like it, probably about a year) and it was yet again depressing going back to the same sites again and again to see the same 20 people (and that’s before we narrowed it down with our criteria).  Some of those profiles are now committed to memory and I swear for some of the sites I could now match the 20 baby photos with their adult job titles.  Most of the sites were in the US and the criteria for sperm in the UK is much stricter so some banks can’t export at all and for those who can it’s only for some of their donors.  UK sperm banks don’t allow photos so we have to import.  There’s an awful lot of Danish sperm around for some reason which 90% of the time meant very blond and pale and therefore out (the cast of The Killing obviously weren’t conceived using the nation’s stock of banked sperm).
Then when I called a fertility centre to start asking about prices, someone mentioned the name of the bank we settled on, and just like that there were about 60 profiles, with adult photos that shipped to the UK.  For someone who hasn’t spent years trawling the Internet for sperm (I can’t believe I typed that – but I also can’t believe I’ve spent years trawling the Internet for sperm, and I really have!) this may not seem significant, and I know in the US there are tons of banks you can use, but for us this was incredible. 60 PROFILES. ADULT PHOTOS. UK STANDARD.

We got the credit card our again, paid the $200 for unlimted access to profiles and we were off (coming to a blog near you soon – can we raise our child using only items found in bins after bankrupting ourselves in their conception)…

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4 thoughts on “Almost there

  1. So, the adult picture thing. I wouldn’t say that we were horrified by it, exactly, but it was definitely something we decided we DIDN’T want. We loved the baby pictures (and, in fact, even chose a donor in large part because his baby picture looked so similar to my own) but we just felt uncomfortable about the idea of seeing adult pics. Not horrified, but maybe…creeped out? I just didn’t want to be able to look at the picture of a man and think “That’s the guy whose sperm is going inside my wife.” I didn’t want to be able to recognize him if I passed him on the street some day (unlikely as that is). We prefer to be able to think of the donor more in the abstract, and something about seeing an adult picture made it too concrete. Not sure if that makes any sense, but that’s what was on our minds.
    Also, I’m loving your blog and am struck at how often you write something and I think I could have written it myself!

  2. Yes, that makes sense. L in particular was freaked out by the idea of no adult photo! We’re importing from the US for a number of reasons (in the UK you don’t even get to see a baby photo, and the different rules mean it all operated quite differently) but I think actually the fact the donor isn’t going to be anyone we pass in the street, and the fact that there’s that cultural difference has been a plus (so we’ve got to get lots of info but it keeps it fairly abstract because of the distance if that makes any sense at all).

    The whole thing is such an odd process…!

  3. Hi! I am not participating in ICLW, but I found you there. I can relate to each of your posts and wanted to comment on every single one, but thought that might be creepy! We’ve had very similar experiences as far as deciding on a donor, however, I’ve never heard of donor sperm/co-parenting. Which is probably for the best because then I would have obsessed over that in addition to the sperm banks. Anyway, the adult photo thing…I was dead set on an adult photo until we actually ordered one. I was completely turned off by it. It made the sperm so personal. Similar to chicagoshells, I didn’t want to see this person one day in a crowd. Especially if I wasn’t prepared for it and I also thought I would be searching for his face in crowds from then on. Childhood photos were sufficient after that experience. I look forward to your future posts!

  4. i completely agree with the first comment. Its exactly how we feel. Its going to be hard enough for Charlotte that she isn’t going to have any biological link to the child, so to potentially be able to recognise elements of the father’s features in the child would be too much.

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