A few months before we were married, we started talking more seriously about what our future family would look like and started to do some basic research into the options. We looked at a couple of sperm banks on the internet and the options were endless, however they were expensive. Some sites even had paid subscriptions to their “all access” features. After looking for a couple of hours sporadically for about a week, we decided that when it got closer to the time we would start our family we would get a subscription and look more in detail. After that we put choosing the donor on the back burner and didn’t really talk about it much more.
Fast forward to April of 2017 after meeting with the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to discuss our options to becoming pregnant, we realized we had to make a decision about picking a donor. It was the next logical step. Our doctor used the joke several times that we could go down to the Varsity (a local bar in Ohio) and find some college dude to be our donor. He was kidding of course…if only it were that easy. For many couples, this can be one of the hardest parts of the baby making process. Should we go with a known donor? If we choose from a sperm bank, could our child one day get in contact with the donor? Before we were married, we already discussed most of these things. In fact, for a short period of time, we even entertained choosing a known donor. While every couple is different, we personally felt that having an anonymous donor chosen from a sperm bank would be the best decision for us. Then we got to work!
So, if you are new to the TTC journey as we are, we quickly found out that SPERM IS EXPENSIVE! It costs money to see pictures, listen to interviews, and receive minimal information about the donor. The actual sperm is pricey, and then it costs quite a bit if you have to ship it. We researched several sperm banks throughout the country while trying to compare prices and read the reviews. The place for insemination that we planned to utilize actually had a sperm bank located next door. For us, it helped to alleviate the roughly $200 shipping charge tacked on by EVERY SINGLE legitimate sperm bank. So, we honed in on their sperm bank and began looking for donors. Early on, we decided that we wanted the donor to look similar to us (at least in eye color, hair color, and skin tone). After checking those basic characteristics, our results were less than we had desired. We clicked through donor after donor, taking the time to read and analyze their medical history, education, and personal essays. Then, we narrowed it down to a handful of men who had available pictures and paid $50 per picture…UGH! The two of us sat there for awhile staring at the pictures, without an immediate “this is our donor” decision. In fact, we just kept sitting there, staring at the computer screen hardly saying anything. There was one donor that had many of the characteristics we were searching for but he was without a picture, as some of the donors want to be kept completely anonymous. All we had was a silhouette and a description. Then, Katie suggested that we think about choosing him. Jocelynn seemed hesitant and kept staring at the photos of the other donors. After a while, Katie asked “is it that bad if we don’t ever know exactly what he looks like?” From her perspective she thought about it in the sense that in public, we wouldn’t be looking around and wondering if a guy that looks similar to the photo could be our children’s biological father. Jocelynn just kept sitting there thinking in silence, like she normally does and Katie was left waiting for her response. In the end, the truth was that neither of us felt like we had found our donor in the photos we had seen. The descriptions; however, were an accurate depiction of what we saw. We took a few days to think about it but we couldn’t take too long as the the IUI was soon approaching. Ultimately, we went back to the donor without the photo. He had all of the features we wanted and the descriptions were accurate for the pictures we did see, so we decided to go with our gut and……. DECISION MADE!