Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Kid is Alright But the Donor Passed Away by Marla Ruth Allisan - Resolve New England Newsletter

I read this article last week in the Resolve of New England Quarterly Newsletter.  It brought me to tears.  I cannot imagine the frustration that this family must have felt.  Making the choice of what type of donor you will use, bank vs. known donor, vs. bank willing-to-be-known donor, is a huge one, to say the least.  To have made the choice that this family did to use a willing to be known donor, and then only to have just a moment's brush with the donor, is just so sad to me.  This is not something that I had ever thought of before, it likely doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

If you're having trouble viewing the .pdf within the blog, you can download load the article by clicking here.

While I was looking for the above article via the magic of Google, I came across another post:

There are so many reasons to choose sperm from a bank:

  1. All donors are carefully screened for std's
  2. Assurance that you don't have to wait for termination of donor's parental rights
  3. Certain genetic disorders can be ruled out since many banks routinely test for these things
  4. Ability to obtain the sample without the awkwardness of the in-person transfer
  5. You have only your feelings and the feelings of your partner (if applicable) to consider, not the donor's or the donor's partner/family
  6. You don't have to worry about the donor getting cold feet
  7. I'm sure there are a million other things I've not thought of (actually, what are your other reasons?)
 While a known donor, that is present in your life, may also die, you have the unique ability to form a relationship as the child grows.  In the case of choosing a willing-to-be-known donor, you must wait, in most cases, until the child has turned 18.  The concept of open donation through a bank is actually a wonderful concept, that I do hope will catch on at some point.  I think more people would choose a donor known to them if there was the added security of having the bank as a 3rd party that handles all of the legal stuffs.

On the heels of last evening's chat with my Maybe Baby Donor, I received today, the results of my Cystic Fibrosis Carrier Test and my Tay-Sachs enzyme test.  Both are negative, so hooray for that.  At least now, I know I won't need to worry about getting future donors tested should the need arise.  Honestly, this news did not do much to boost how I'm feeling today.  It seems absurd to be so disappointed about this, but I am.  I'm very pleased with the results, but I would've been over the moon under better circumstances.  It's a bummer that I finally get to this point where I'm just about ready to start with insems, only to have,  what I thought, was nearly a sure thing -- just fall apart.  Okay, it hasn't totally fallen apart, but that nearly-sure-thing part has.

Last night, I came home and instead of crying, which is what I really felt I wanted to do, I blasted some music and danced my ass off.  It was more dancing out of desperation to find that TRUST in the Universe that I keep talking about.  Today, I've been thinking a lot about the distinction between Joy and Happiness.  They aren't the same thing.  I certainly don't feel happy today, but I recognize the presence of Joy and I'm letting her in.  This is the wonderful thing about feelings, you can layer them on and experience them, and together, like friends, they get you through the tough times; for without Joy and Hope there would only be despair and sadness.

Donor Drama- Second Thoughts

As I will soon approach the time for the first insem, I decided to do a check in with my donor to be sure that everyone was on the same page.  I wanted to be sure that his partner was still on board and that they have had a good conversation about this, and about how she might feel if I got pregnant, etc.   Baby Donor agreed that this was a good idea, and we talked for the first time about some of the logistics of obtaining the sample, etc, in serious terms.  We've brushed over much of this before over the last 18 or so months since we began discussing this, but it was never entirely in a serious tone.  I mean, really, when you're talking about someone whacking off into a cup, you can only be so mature.  Well, at least I have limits.  Humor is what makes a very heavy, serious, topic a little lighter, and a little easier to discuss.  He always jokes about how I can only have the sample if it is transferred the ol' fashioned way, etc.  

The fact is, what makes him a desirable and perfect candidate, is the very thing that also makes him a liability and a this-isn't-going-to-work kind of donor.  He has a huge heart.  He's caring, and thoughtful and smart. So, here is what transpired: 

Me: So... I know you're super busy.  I just need to know if I should seek an alternative solution to my um... needs.  :-)  You don't need to explain your decision; I just need to know either way. I will not be upset, or hurt, or have any negative feelings.

3:41:14 PM: Baby Donor: I know you wouldn’t ... you’re too cool for that ...
 3:41:48 PM: Baby Donor: I have to be honest though, J... I am starting to have concerns... That I never considered before....

3:42:04 PM: Me: Totally understood.

 3:42:14 PM: Baby Donor: so daughter is 14

3:42:14 PM: Me: It's better to fully think it out now...

3:42:30 PM: Baby Donor: yeah ... and I never even thought twice about it .. until this past week
3:42:41 PM: Baby Donor: meaning , I never thought I would be concerned
3:42:51 PM: Baby Donor: ok so daughter is 14
3:43:06 PM: Baby Donor: and is the only thing tying me to this state....
3:44:04 PM: Baby Donor: am I the type of person that could do this ... and have no attachment / connection etc... I don’t think I am ...
4:09:12 PM: Baby Donor: so I started to think long and hard about it ... and I know what you are looking for.... I don’t think I can do it, there is no way I could walk away or not be involved in some sort of way ... It really wouldn’t be fair to you, me , daughter , or partner ... as soon as daughter hits college we are moving back south
4:09:46 PM: Baby Donor: I am so sorry.
4:10:18 PM: Baby Donor: not saying its 100% final ... and we can talk more ... but don’t want you to miss other opportunities /avenues

4:10:25 PM: Me: i totally understand
4:10:38 PM: Me: Well, I've been advised to never stipulate what the relationship will be once the child is born.
 Ideally, in my world where everything is perfect and blissful, I envision something like the role of an uncle.  However, I have no desire to try to co-parent with someone that is not my partner.  This sounds cold, but otherwise, things get much too complicated.
 Obviously, being advised not to stipulate a relationship has to do with intent and severing of parental rights. 
 So, I never pictured that you'd be in the day to day picture, but I did imagine that you would be present in some capacity and hopefully in an important way.  If you were to move out of state, hopefully the relationship would allow for it to evolve into something that could work.  One of the main points of my wanting a known donor was so that this would be a possibility, but it is something that I cannot promise.  Though, it is something that I do hope would eventually be comfortable for everyone. 
 Part of what makes you so wonderful and why I asked you, is your thoughtful and kind nature, but it's also the same part of you that makes you doubt your ability to have no connection/attachment.  I'm not really asking for no connection or attachment, I just don't want to share parenting with you or day to day decision making about the child with you. 
 My heart is open to the possibility to include you/daughter/partner/ in whatever capacity seems comfortable to everyone.  Like an extended family, but not like parents.
4:12:46 PM: Me: the severing of parental rights is a legality that is necessary for both of our protection, yours for financial protection so that i would never have any legal grounds for child support
4:20:10 PM: Me: I've always felt that if I was adopted or a child from a donor, that I would have a strong desire to know my roots.  I know biology is only part of the picture, but any child of mine I believe would want to know.  It's important for me to have that door open.  I know a couple of people that have wonderful relationships and have built wonderful extended families with their donors.  In my heart of hearts, I hope that's what would happen. (But these same people also stressed the importance of not putting that in the contract.)
4:20:45 PM: Me: I'm happy to let you continue to think on it.  I'll continue to keep my options open and we can revisit again when it looks like I'll be ready to try.
4:21:37 PM: Me: My cycle is all bizarre right now since the hemorrhage and I have some medical-ish things that need to happen first anyway.  so, my initial schedule has been pushed back. And honestly, I'm so touched an honored that you even considered it to begin with.

Baby Donor: J , ty for being so understanding... and Like I said .. its not a "NO" ...lets keep discussing and thinking  etc... so that when we/you are closer we can figure it out
4:51:11 PM: Baby Donor: I just wanted me some J...
4:51:13 PM: Baby Donor: lol
4:51:14 PM: Baby Donor: :-)

4:51:15 PM: Me: I think that sounds like a lovely plan.
4:51:17 PM: Me: lol

4:51:43 PM: Baby Donor: totally teasing .. and please don’t think i am brushing you off ... etc.. definitley not the case .. work stinks fro me now

4:51:44 PM: Me: This is not your everyday situation, it requires lots of dialogue

4:51:48 PM: Baby Donor: amen

4:51:52 PM: Me: and humor
4:52:50 PM: Me: And as I said before, it's best to discuss these things now rather than later.  I mean, we can only do so much preparing, but it's good to talk through them in the abstract as preparation, vs. trying to navigate it blind, later.
4:53:34 PM: Me: And I never for once felt as though you were brushing me off, you're a thoughtful person, it never even crossed my mind.
4:53:48 PM: Me: And I value, so much, that you can be honest.  It's the only way this would ever even work.

4:54:12 PM: Baby Donor: agreed... and ty

4:55:03 PM: Me: Thank YOU.

After this conversation, I felt deflated and yet glad to know that he has put real thought into this.  I also realized that I was way more attached to having him as the donor than I realized.  While I would rather know these things now, before there is a baby to consider, part of me is truly crushed.  I understand and respect his position, but I am also saddened by it.  I'm buoyed by the thought that he is still open to the idea, and still processing things.  But I'm crushed to think that I'm back at square 1.  For so many reasons.  It's difficult to pick a donor, there is much to be considered.  

  1. What kind of person are they?  
  2. What's their sexual history? 
  3. How many partners have they had? 
  4. How many serious relationships?  
  5. What's their current partner's sexual history?  
  6. What is their medical background?  
  7. Will they be willing to get testing done -- both for STD's but also DNA tests for genetic diseases?  
  8. Are they fertile?
  9. Would they be willing to submit to a sperm test?
  10. Are they willing to terminite parental rights?
  11. Do you see this person as someone with whom you can speak openly and honestly?
  12. Is this someone that you can trust ?
  13. Is this someone you would like to see in your extended family?
There is a lot to go through before you get to that first insem.  

I went to see a psychic a couple of weekends ago.  She told me to trust in the Universe. I'm trying, I'm REALLY TRYING, but there is so much riding on this.  I really, really, really, want to work with this donor.  Maybe all of this is because Mecury is in retrograde... I should never have addressed this now... or at least that's what the astrologers say....

How did you decide on which donor to use?  What was your process? I'm curious -- for both known and unknown donors, how did you go about making your donor selection?  I've looked into some banks, but it feels strange to me.  It feels like I'm picking my baby out of a catalog. It feels a little bit like shopping for a shed-- with little more to go on other than features and maybe a photo or two, it ends up feeling so shallow.  The essays and voice clips just don't seem to be enough for me.  And then I get hung up on whether or not I'd even want to be friends with this person, never mind put their sperm inside of me.  

And then... there is the issue of cost.  I cannot afford sperm bank sperm. I simply cannot... and I still really would like to use a known donor.  I want my child to have the opportunity to know its roots intimately if he or she desires. A sperm bank just doesn't provide for that opportunity.