• wannabe_mom

Sperm shopping: Not as fun as shoe shopping

Updated: Mar 18

It's December 28, 2020, the Sunday after Christmas. Brian and I made a mutual decision to take a little break from infertility talk and decision-making mid-October through December. This gave us some time to process our feelings and try to enjoy the holidays.


Don't get me wrong. It was still a really rough few months full of sadness and uncertainty. And the holidays were hard––I had a hard time finding my Christmas cheer. But it felt good to not be SO focused on our infertility journey that had taken over our lives for the last 10ish months.


After yet another holiday of not having the little ones we long for, we decided it's time to at least start LOOKING👀at our donor options. So that evening, Brian and I checked out a sperm bank together for the first time.

To put it bluntly, it was overwhelming and weird. Plus, I learned that my husband's pickiness for sperm is comparable to my pickiness when it comes to shoes. (This photo is what I imagine I look like when I am shoe shopping 🛍.)



For those of you who've never gone sperm shopping, let me tell you all about it.


First, there are quite a few sperm banks to choose from (I wish they would call it something other than 'sperm bank'). Our fertility clinic has four banks linked on their website, so we started with the first one on the list.


It's basically like shopping online for a new bedspread.


You can apply filters like you would on Amazon. The filters include things like height, eye color, hair color, hair texture, blood type, ancestry, religion, education level, donor type, genetic stuff, etc. Since I am CMV Negative, our donor must also be CMV Negative, which decreases our matches quite a bit since most people are CMV Positive.


Check out this sampling of a filter menu 😆:


Height

  • 🔲6'3+

  • 🔲6'0–6'2

  • 🔲5'8-5'11

  • 🔲Super Short

Eye Color

  • 🔲Blue

  • 🔲Green

  • 🔲Brown

  • 🔲Hazel

Hair Color

  • 🔲Black

  • 🔲Brown

  • 🔲Blonde

  • 🔲Ginger (👨🏻‍🦰)

Hair Texture

  • 🔲Wavy

  • 🔲Curly

  • 🔲Straight

  • 🔲Elvis Presley

Education Level

  • 🔲Master

  • 🔲Bachelor

  • 🔲GED

  • 🔲Elementary


Can you see why I said it was overwhelming and weird?


After seeing that all of our matches were aspiring artists, screenplay writers and had absolutely nothing in common with Brian, our first shopping experience ended almost as soon as it started and ended in more tears. 😭



Honestly? I didn't realize how hard and overwhelming it was going to be to choose a donor.


I already chose the father of my children. I shouldn't have to choose another.


Yes, I know. Brian will be the father of my children. It's not about the DNA––it's about the man who raises them. Yadda, yadda, yadda.


This is another one of those things that you feel you SHOULD say to someone who has to choose a random stranger to be the genetic father of her children.

I'm here to tell you (respectfully) that it's not. And I don't blame you for not knowing–this donor sperm thing is probably new to you, too.


When you're telling me that even though our children won't have Brian's DNA, he will still be their daddy, you're not validating my feelings.


What I'm feeling in this moment is that I already chose the father of my children. That's Brian. And I waited a damn long time to find him. It's absolutely not fair, and it TOTALLY SUCKS, that we now are at a point where we have to choose a complete stranger to provide the DNA for OUR children.


I want MY husband's genetics. I chose HIM. I want to see physical similarities in our children. I want people to decide who the baby looks more like—Mom or Dad? I want to look at our son and see my husband. I want to look at our daughter and see the perfect mix of Brian and me. It's not possible for us, but it doesn't change how I feel.



How to Validate Someone's Feelings


I'm not trying to turn this post into a lesson, but I wanted to quickly tell you how easy it is to switch your angle and validate someone's feelings instead of just trying to "fix it" or make them feel better. You never know what kind of impact this could have on your loved ones☺️.


Let's break this scenario down.


Me: "I'm so sad that I have to choose a donor to be the father of my children. I already chose the father of my children when I fell in love with Brian."

You (before you knew how to validate feelings): "Yeah, but Ter, Brian WILL BE the father of your children. DNA is just DNA. Brian will treat them as his own and be the best daddy ever."


Now, let's try it again.


Me: "I'm so sad that I have to choose a donor to be the father of my children. I already chose the father of my children when I fell in love with Brian."

You (after you read this post and know how to validate feelings): "Ter, I hear you and I understand what you're saying. It's OK to feel this way. I'm so sorry this is happening to you and I want to support you in any way I can."


Easy peasy.


This journey is hard. Choosing a donor is hard. Really hard. But we were made for hard things. Stay tuned––we're just getting started.


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