Choosing a Donor

(I apologize in advance if there are any typos/if something is unclear. I’ll tidy this up later. I’m writing it before running out to my conversion class, but I wanted to get this posted because I’d meant to write it on Friday and got sidetracked!)

So my last blog post was about where and how to find a donor. This post is about the process (at least my process), of choosing one. (And my next post will return to the topic of conversion for a bit!)

I’ll preface this by saying there is no right way, and no wrong way, to choose a donor. This is an intensely personal decision, and this is a process during which you must be honest with yourself about what you want.

On Known Donor Registry (KDR), you have a couple of options for donation method. Those are the first things to consider. Do you want to do AI (Artificial Insemination) or NI (“Natural Insemination” – sex)? Yes, for some people that is a legitimate question – there are plenty of donors on KDR who offer NI, and plenty of recipients who take them up on it. To be fair, NI is more conducive to conception, but it also requires a woman to literally have sex with a stranger. (Never mind the potential conflicts when it comes to custody and child support – you can have a contract that both parties sign, but if a child is conceived through sex, the courts can, and have, tossed the contracts aside to either grant joint-custody or enforce child support. Yikes, big risk!)

I was not into the idea of hooking up with someone just to get pregnant, but no judgement here. To each their own. It just wasn’t the right way to go for me.

So then I had to make another decision – did I want to find someone local, or did I want to broaden my options and find someone willing to ship? In the end, that decision was more or less made for me due to the fact that there was only one local donor active on the site, and we didn’t really want the same things. (He wanted to co-parent, and while he agreed to just donate and not get into a co-parent relationship, I had the feeling he might change his mind down the road and try to fight for joint custody.) Which meant I had to look for someone who lived elsewhere, but was willing to ship.

It wasn’t just a matter of finding someone willing to ship, but someone who had done it before so I was confident that everything would go smoothly. There are so many possibilities for problems, and the donation has to be shipped overnight and used as soon as it arrives, or it isn’t any good. (Cycle 4’s shipping was particular stressful – and a little funny in a cringeworthy way – which I’ll write about later.)

So knowing that I wanted to go with AI, and that I would be finding someone who was willing to ship, I had to figure out my non-negotiables.

They were: he had to have recent clean STD tests**, he had to be intelligent, he had to be at least moderately attractive, he had to have a clean criminal record (which I could search myself on the Court of the Queen’s Bench site if he was Canadian), he had to have had previous successful donations (specifically, from when he’d shipped, so I could know his donation was strong enough to survive transport), he had to be open to communication with the child (if they want it) at least once they turn 18 (one of the benefits of a known donor), and I had to just… get a good vibe from him. I had to feel like in the real world, maybe we’d be friends, or we’d at least get along. I had to feel comfortable talking to him.

So, armed with my list of non-negotiables, I started to search the site. At first I wasn’t limiting my search to Canadians (I should have; I’d really recommend anyone limit their search to people within their own country, because shipping costs are insane otherwise.). The site is really easy to navigate, by the way. When I found a few profiles that looked promising, I started sending hello messages.

Also something to keep in mind: these guys are doing this for any number of reasons, but they aren’t machines. Don’t send them a message that says “hey, can you ship me some sperm?”. They’re people, who are potentially going to provide you with the one thing you’re missing to create a child. They deserve a whole lot more respect than a lot of people give them. Not everyone has altruistic motives, true. And there may be creepers you will have to wade through. (I didn’t connect with anyone truly creepy, but I’ve read some awful stories.)

I ended up selecting a donor in the USA, but that relationship ended up falling through before any shipments were sent. I’m actually happy it did, though, because I went back to the site, started talking to people again, and found an incredible donor who was equally as determined to make sure his recipients are good people as I was to make sure my donor was a decent human being. We messaged, and then emailed back and forth for a few weeks. We got on a Skype chat. Now we’re Facebook friends. This kind of arrangement has the potential to be awkward, or uncomfortable – but I’ve lucked out; my donor is so professional, and just plan kind. He doesn’t make me uncomfortable, at all, and makes me feel so supported throughout this whole process.

I’m currently in the first half of yet another two week wait as I write this. We did two inseminations this cycle, in the hopes that might give me the edge I need to be successful this month. But if not, we’ll try again. I’m so blessed to have found the donor I did.

I’m glad I’m recording all this finally, and I’m looking forward to getting it all down. Hopefully someone might stumble across this one day, and find it helps them a little – even just knowing they aren’t alone in this process. If you’re reading this and you’re considering this as an option for you, I’d be happy to talk. Feel free to comment below and I’ll get in contact with you. 🙂

** KDR is just a platform, kind of like Facebook. They don’t require donors submit anything to post a profile. It is 100% up to the recipient to make sure they are getting information (like STD test results, etc.) from their donor, and ensuring that it is legitimate. However, KDR will remove members (be they donors or recipients) for lying, if it’s discovered they have an STD, for harassing, for asking for money for donations, for pushing for NI when the recipient is only looking for AI, if someone reports the offending user.

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The thing that’s been on my mind for months.

Back in October, when I last posted (has it really been 6 months?), I said there was some stuff going on in my life that I wasn’t really ready to write about publicly. I’d talked to friends and family about it, but I wasn’t ready to put it out there, on the internet.

But I think this is a pretty safe place to write about it. It’s not connected to my Facebook and I don’t know of anyone in my circle who is following this page. And at this point, enough people know that even if someone who knows me did stumble across this blog, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they read what I’m about to write.

Last April, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. Again. The last two times she’d had it (many, many years ago), she’d been given a few weeks/months to live, but she’d kicked ass and beat it. This time, it was in her brain, along with other places, and although she started off strong and fiercely positive, it quickly took away her willpower. We had no idea there was cancer spreading through her brain when we got together for our birthdays (hers, April 3rd, mine, April 10th) mid-April 2017. By May 27th 2017, she was gone. I sat next to her for 8 hours before she died, and was there with my mom, my grandpa and my aunts when she took her last breath.

It was my first time losing someone close to me. It was my first time being with someone as they passed. It reminded me, as death often reminds people, of how uncertain life is. How fragile. And how awful it would be to be facing the end alone.

I’m not dating anyone. I haven’t dated anyone in years. I live alone (with my two adorable cats). My best friends live in the United States and I don’t have a lot of friends here. My mom and I are close, but her family either doesn’t care much for us, or lives too far away to be much help/support. And as close as my mom and I are, due to the fact that she is, obviously, older than I, there’s a good chance she’ll die before I do. (Hopefully not for many, many years.)

Basically, I am alone. And while I’m happy enough being independent — paying my bills, on my own, doing my own thing, going/doing what I want, etc. — I don’t want to die alone, with no family there. No one to mourn me. No one to remember me when I’m gone.

I’d already been thinking for a while that maybe, just maybe, I’d want to consider going the route of having kids on my own. It’s not entirely unheard of — there’s this  organization called Single Mothers by Choice that has chapters all over the world. I’ve looked into them, and they seem pretty great. For a while I just figured I’d adopt, but that I’d do it when I was 30 if I hadn’t had any kids yet. (Most Single Mothers by Choice are in their 30s and up.)

But… I’ve always wanted kids. I used to think I’d have three or four by the time I was 30, not be just starting out. I dreamed of being a mother far more than I dreamed of finding a prince charming and having some fairy-tale wedding. (Honestly, I don’t know that I ever fantasized about what my future wedding would look like.) Every birthday I’ve had so far in my adult life has just made me sad — the start of another year in which I was childless and alone.

For the record — I want kids because I want kids. Not because I feel like I should have them by now. Not due to any external pressures – societal or otherwise. I legit just want to have kids and always have.

So when my grandma passed away, I decided to hell with it. Life is short, why wait for some magical milestone (why is 30 this age where it’s “okay” to “settle” and start looking into doing this, by the way?)? At that point I had just turned 27, I knew the process wasn’t going to be a quick one, and I thought, I’m going to do this.

So I found a donor, and here I am, on my fourth cycle attempting to get pregnant. (I’ll write about how and where I found a donor later — I didn’t go the “normal” route. I’ll also write – in super general, non-TMI/non-specific terms – about how I’m going about this. Hint – there are no doctors/medical professionals involved.)

It’s already been a long road (except not really… some women try a year + to get pregnant). I’ve had one super early miscarriage/loss (cycle #2), which sucked.

But having kids is a non-negotiable for me. And if this is the way I have to go about it, so be it.

This is my life, by choice. And it’s going to be amazing. ❤

PS. I’m long overdue posting about my conversion. I’m going to backtrack, and write a whole bunch of posts about that as well. My conversion is coming up on May 27th, 2018. (And I’m starting an introductory Hebrew class this week Wednesday.) It’s been a whirlwind, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.