Saturday, 15 August 2015

Donor decisions

Obviously we have a problem. We have no sperm. No sperm, no baby.

Couples we know have used three different methods: a previously-known donor, a known donor who provides sperm to needy couples outside the bank system (usually found on the web), and sperm banks.

Option 1: previously known donor. We thought about this for quite a while when we were first talking about baby-making. We thought it would be great to have someone from Aion's side of the family involved. It would be an artificial 'genetic' bond because Aion was adopted, but it would still allow her to feel a bit more connected to the process. But we ultimately decided against it. First, we learned that it is really complicated to use a known donor through a fertility clinic. The donor has to go through all kinds of screening and tests which can, for some incomprehensible reason, only take place in Toronto, and takes quite a long time. Also, we were somewhat concerned about asking someone who didn't yet have a family of his own, particularly with one particular choice who, we know, wants children. We were also worried that asking could change our interpersonal dynamic, and be awkward, and maybe we just didn't want to have the conversation. What originally seemed like a natural choice just became more and more complicated the more that we talked about it.

Option 2: the 'Craigslist' method. Ok, I think this is just kind of creepy. I understand that most of these men just want to help people, the same way that people donate to the banks. But the in-person aspect creeps me out. And there is much less selection. And how do you deal with the screening/testing? Then there is the legal aspect. I would want an iron-clad contract, but even that isn't enough protection in my view. This is someone who knows you, who can find you. The BC courts like to make decisions based on the "best interests of the child" which often includes the right to know their genetic heritage and their 'parents'. I don't want to have legal contracts or even the slightest possibility of a threat to our custody. I also would prefer to keep this as medical as possible, and a known-donor of this nature adds a personal human aspect to this whole thing that I'm just not into.

That left Option 3: a bank. There are many advantages. There is a large selection and you get a great deal of personal and medical history from the donor. The banks have very substantial screening and testing. One just places an order and the sperm arrives at your clinic within days. There are also huge downsides, the biggest and most significant is cost. Like $500 - $800 PER VIAL, plus shipping fees from the vendor, and plus 'receiving' and storage fees from the clinic ($250 storage per year, $250 receiving fee per order).

I am content with our choice, but it is shocking how hard it can be to make these decisions. It makes me angry to think that there are families like mine who could not afford the bank option and so may make a choice they are not comfortable with solely for financial reasons, when there are so many people out there in the world who get to enjoy sex and end up with a baby. It's not fair.

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