Choosing My Donor

How does one choose the other half of their child’s genetics? On what do you base that kind of decision? In a typical nuclear family, the other half of a child is chosen by love. You fall in love and want to produce a child that is half of each of you. Well…I didn’t fall in love. I didn’t get married. I just want a child. So what do I use to pick that genetic “other half”?

I can tell you it’s a stressful process. I “know”, in my mind, that no matter what sperm I choose, I will have the child I was meant to have. I “know” that whatever choice I make will be the perfect one. But I can’t convince my emotional side. I really thought I could take the emotion out of it. My rational side wins out a fair amount of the time, so why not here? I can be rational about this, right? Not a chance. The irrational, emotional me keeps thinking…”I’m choosing my child here.” If I pick donor A, I get one child. If I pick donor B, it would be a completely different child. Heck…if I buy sperm from donor A today, I’ll get a different vial than if I bought it next week…that’s a completely different child too! You could really drive yourself insane here.

I started out fairly rational. I picked a bank. That was a pretty easy choice. It did take me a while to get past the idea of large donor sibling groups. The extra info on the donors eventually won out. So the bank was picked, no big deal. Then I searched the catalog. I wanted someone who was an open ID donor, taller than 6′, blue eyes, with adult pictures. Great, that gave me 30 to choose from. No problem, nice and rational.

Then it came time to buy the subscription to the bank. For $195 I could see every picture, hear every audio interview, and see any other info on all their donors. So I bought it and off I went looking through my 30 favorite donors. This is where the rational thing went out the window… I had, somewhere in my heart, thought I would see a picture and say “That’s him! He’s the one!” But I didn’t. I felt very disappointed and overwhelmed. That was it. One of THOSE donors would father my child. No magic connection. No “I just knew.” Then I thought…maybe the perfect one is out there, but he’s not that tall. So I widened my search to 5’10. Added two  others to my list, but still didn’t find “the one”. Then I thought, well…maybe the perfect donor doesn’t have blue eyes. So I looked at other eye colors. Added two more to the list, but still didn’t feel any connection.

That night I went to bed disappointed, overwhelmed, sad, and little angry. Funny where the grief over going this route can pop up. But the next morning I felt much better. I set to work going through the profiles more rationally. I realized I didn’t need a connection to this man. I would have a connection to the child, but not the donor. I separated them into “Yes” “Maybe” and “No”. I ended up with eight yeses. I pulled my top two maybes and had a top ten.

I printed my top ten and had my dearest friends over for a donor picking party. We ate, drank, played games, and went through donor profiles. It was very interesting to hear what they thought was important and get a few different perspectives. By the end of the night, we had axed five of them and ranked the remaining five. I’m really glad I did the party. It took so much stress out of the decision. I feel really good about the choices I made. Once the choice was made, the stress over picking just the right one faded away. I really like my top two, but if it comes down to it, I would be willing to use any of my top five.

So then I was ready to call and order sperm. Of course, my top choice (who we named Ian) was sold out. But #2 (Brian) had stock. So I currently own one little vial of Brian who will have his chance to shine in March. Wish me luck!



6 thoughts on “Choosing My Donor”

  1. i’m going through the process as well and i thought it was going to be a piece of cake picking a donor but when it came down to it i found it to be the hardest decision of my life. Reading your story, i was glad to know that i wasn’t just being crazy and over reacting to this wonderful decision i’m making. I also know that i have made the right decision after many sleepless nights. I wish you much happiness in your future with your child.

  2. wow, in Europe, in my country at least, we cannot choose the donor. Only thing you can ask for (with no guarantee that they will actually do it, as also there might be none available) is a donor that has similar looks to you. So the donor will be by law the same race and with a compatible blood type. And then as an extra they will try to find someone with similar hair and eye color, similar height and weight. That’s all.
    After reading your post I am actually happy it is that way… haha… or I would have gone mad making a choice.


  3. The truth is, in the end, you have no idea what traits the baby will get. The baby may be exactly like you. The baby may be like his Great Uncle Joe or your Aunt Sue. It’s a real crapshoot. I have three siblings – my sister looks as much like my half sister as she does me; my older brother and I don’t look related at all; my younger brother has a somewhat similar look but if you saw us on the street you likely wouldn’t know we are related. My mom and my uncle don’t look alike except for their noses – he has dark brown eyes and she has blue. She’s broad and tall and he’s slender and small framed. My aunts are completely differently looking – brown and blue eyed, one shorter and heavier; another with a thin angular face. If you didn’t know they were sisters you would never think they’re related. In the end you just never know.

  4. So true – its hard to not judge yourself and those you examine too closely, right? This process is so surreal. Its so strange. Something that has helped me is my Dear Baby diary. I am writing letters to my future baby, knowing that while the details aren’t worked out just yet, somewhere in time my baby is real, and I already feel that love.

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I am in this phase right now and feeling exactly what you felt. I started listening to donor voices yesterday and got totally overwhelmed and emotional. I like the party idea – I had already decided to do that, actually. I think it will help take the edge off. Thanks again! Needed this today!

  6. Good luck…I know its not an easy choice but u r right…at the end of the day you will have a connection with your child and he or she will be the center of your world no matter who ur helper is. I wish you the best:)

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