Over the past few years I have heard friends partners joke about giving me their sperm for "free" whenever I discussed my choice of becoming a mother using donor insemination. This was said in fun of course, but sometimes it felt like they didn't understand where I was in my life. I usually just laughed along with them to avoid my own reality. However, I have a very close friend who I have known most of my life who I felt very comfortable asking him if he'd donate his sperm for me to have a baby. He said he'd think about. Over the years he listened to me when I talked about wanting to become a mother. After I was referred to a clinic and started to go through the process, he came forward and said he would donate his sperm for me to have a baby.
When he first offered I was over the moon. He was really happy with his decision as well. Even our parents were thrilled with our alternative decision to bring a baby into all of our lives. As I shared my exciting news with friends they kept asking me what his role would look like? I didn't have the answers to their questions. I knew I would be primary care-giver and I knew he would be involved somehow because we're best friends and no matter who the baby's biological father was, he was already an uncle through our friendship.
I started to wonder what his role would be if he was the biological father too?
Then I started to think and plan his role for him. This went on for about week. As the questions buzzed in my head I continued to spin various stories about how we looked in the baby's future. I had gone from living and working in the city I was currently in to moving next door to him and looking for work in the city he was currently living. I started to send him emails, texts, leave him phone messages about every thought that entered into my mind on what co-parents would need to think about. I asked him everything from circumcision to Baptism to school choices (French vs. English). By the end of the next week he had decided that maybe his offer to help his dear friend become a mother may not have been the best choice. His words were quite lovely and loving. His want to be a sperm donor was to help fulfill my desire to become a mother, not his desire to be a father. His love for me as a friend was so great he was willing to give me a beautiful gift of life, until I spun my thoughts too far into our futures and freaked us both out. His words were surprisingly a relief for me at the time as well.
We left this topic alone for months and I began to seek more information on unknown donors. As I started my first cycle monitoring, on DAY 10 the ultra sound revealed that my egg was in my left fallopian tube and expected to release in a few days. Possibly the idea of me being "ready" to ovulate forced us to discuss sperm donor again, at this time he agreed to donate his sperm and followed through for that cycle.
I felt that I had a better understanding of what a "known donor's" role was by then, also some of the pros and cons of our choice. No matter how much planning anyone does in preparing to have a baby, you can't plan everything. The one thing I do know is how comforting it was to go through the process of insemination and know my baby's biological father. His role in my baby's life can't be defined by me, but his role as my best friend is always oscar winning. Even though I am leaving it up to him to create his role, to ease my own anxiety about it I continue to think of him as an uncle to my child who is also "donor dad".
I know I will create an age appropriate but truthful story about how my baby and I came to be a family. To help me explain this to my child in the future I decided to begin a journal of my journey to bring us together. I started it on DAY 1 of my first cycle monitoring, I want my baby to know how much s/he was wanted and desired. That s/he was well thought of long before s/he arrived to be in my life. I want to be able to share my positive thoughts about the whole process so s/he will be able to read my love as well as live it no matter how long it may take for us to be together.
As for our parents, they couldn't be happier for all of us. My friend's parents have been like parents to me for most of my life. They were always in my plans for my child's other grandparents, now maybe they'll also be biological grandparents too. This is definitely uncharted territory for all of us. We will continue to keep the line of communication open and if our view of family needs adjustment I'm confident we'll respectfully discuss it and implement changes as needed.
When thinking about using a "known donor" you have to search yourself for every question you have for you and your donor friend to ensure you're both entering into this agreement with your eyes wide open, even at the risk of freaking both of you out, your baby is worth all of it.