Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meet The Beatle! (a.k.a. we picked a donor)

I think we're over the hump. I should say that I think "I" am over the hump as I'm not sure M ever really had a hump to get over. She has been so great over the past few weeks - giving me wide berth to sort through my smorgasbord of emotions but checking in frequently and letting me talk it out as much as I've needed to. I think it came organically to some extent because she doesn't have a lot of strong feelings about this stuff, and as I have nothing BUT strong feelings about it, it was easy for her to defer to me. Because of that, I can't say I know for sure how she felt deep down at each step along the way. I probed her constantly for her input, hoping she'd say something that would sway me one way or another, and occasionally she did, but for the most part, she would tell me she was leaning gently toward X or Y, but she would back whatever course of action gave me the most peace.

One night, we had a conversation in which I said I just still really, really, really wanted to use KD, but I knew that wasn't a good option for many reasons, so I was ready to start looking at donors in hopes we'd find one that I could get excited about. I thought it might be too much to ask to have The Great Unknown beat out KD in the battle for my heart, but if I could pin a face or a profile to it... Maybe that would be bridge I needed.

I am always fascinated by the various criteria people use to choose donors - what is important to one person versus another. Last time we went sperm shopping, we chose based upon the overall vibe we got from his responses to the open ended questions and his essay. I remember clearly that we chose the donor we'd most like to be friends with, with the hope that his constellation of personality traits would most closely resemble ours. This time around, my priorities were for someone with English heritage (M is 100% English) so the answer to the "what are we?" question would be the same for both (all?) of our children, and for the donor who looked most like KD so that our children would be most likely to resemble each other*. (I realize this sounds shallow, but it's part of how I've come to terms with this course of action. And hey, I must not be alone in this desire given the number of banks that offer face matching services!) Oh, and we also wanted the donor to be ID-Release to mitigate one of the concerns I blogged about beforeIn Loco Parentis had given me a tip that she and her partner found Xy.tex to provide more information than some of the other banks, so while we skimmed a couple other options, that was where we started our search in earnest. We figured we could always switch to another bank if none of the Xy.tex donors floated our collective boat. M and I perused the profiles that night I brought it up and pulled out half a dozen that we liked. She picked one as her favorite. I was still feeling too unsettled about the whole thing to care much for any of them myself.

A few days later, I got an email from Xy.tex offering a discount on the membership package we'd planned to purchase anyway. We figured we'd wait until closer to our actual cycle, but I never met a sale I didn't like, so we took the plunge. We purchased the membership at something like 10pm and M headed straight to bed while I stayed up for the next several hours reviewing the profiles of every Caucasian, ID-release donor who had an adult photo on their site. There was a clear winner, and I knew it as soon as his photo popped up on the page. His baby photo (in which he is not a baby so much as a kindergartener) could easily be Elliot's brother or cousin, and his adult photo looks very much like the pictures I have seen of KD 20 years ago. Both M and I (and KD) are very musical and this donor is playing the guitar in his adult picture. That, plus his full British heritage and the features to match make me think he looks just like a Beatle, hence the blog nickname which I plan to hold on to. :-)

Imagine my delight when I scrolled down to read his profile and - I kid you not - out of the 102 Caucasian, ID-release donors with adult photos on their site, he was the very donor M had already picked as her favorite from our review of the basic profiles several nights earlier. How's that for meant to be?

His inventory is pretty low right now so we're trying to decide if we're committed enough to purchase some now and store it at our RE's office until we're ready to use it. I think we are.

Tangent: I have this one lingering anon donor sperm question that I haven't resolved yet. For those of you who have used donor sperm, how open were/are you in comparing donor numbers with other families using the same bank? For those who are still in the planning stages, what are your thoughts on this? I think I'm a little gun-shy in this area after we panicked a friend by nearly using the same donor as she did, but is there something weird about conceiving half-siblings of people you know, in or out of the computer? Or is it fine, or even desirable, because hey, there are gonna be X number of half-sibs out there whether you like it or not - at least this way you can be connected to one or more of them. Alternatively, is it easiest to stick your head in the sand on the half-sib issue altogether and take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach to other donor sperm families? I have no strong leaning on it myself (yet - ha ha), but I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks.

So, that's the story of how two people fell in love... with a donor. My world sure is spinning fast these days.

*If I'm completely honest, I don't really know what M's priorities were this time, and I'm not sure she did either. The last time we talked about it, she admitted that she was feeling pulled in multiple directions about what was most important to her. It sort of became a moot discussion point once we started looking at profiles and flagging favorites, so I'm not sure what her final ranking of priorities would have looked like. I should ask her.


N said...

We didn't go shouting it from the rooftops, but we didn't keep it a complete secret, either. I guess it's mostly that, I know there will be donor siblings out there, it's how it goes. And I suppose I'd rather know than not, especially if it's somebody I do know. Know what I mean? (How many times can I use the word know?)

I'm glad that you guys have picked somebody and come to some sort of peace with it.

loveandchaosreign said...

We didn't have close friends using the same bank, but we are in contact with half sib families through the donorsiblingregistry. Because our donor isn't ID release (wasn't available at our bank at the time) it's really nice for us to have the twins having other kids out there they can relate to.

Glad you are on track!!!

jessie said...

Ah I could have written this post! Definitely sounds like the beatle is meant to be yours. M and Greta sound very similar through this process. I've often wondered about sharing numbers and what the etiquette is aroud that. Personally I think it would be cool to find out someone I knew was using the same donor.

Laurie said...

Wow! The stars aligned with Beatle! I'm glad that everything has fallen into place.

As for the half-sibling question... we don't keep our donor a secret, although I don't think anyone has ever asked. I do wonder if any other bloggers used the same donor, though... especially since sometimes I swear I see a resemblance between Ryan and other kiddos! :)

Stacey said...

Sounds like it worked out and is meant to be. ;)

We used Xytex too and have shared our donor number. We have met up with 2 half siblings in Ontario and have a Yahoo group of others. We are meeting up with 2 other families when we head to Disney World. For us, the connection is nice. Our kids will have this support network if they'd like it and we can share information like allergies, skin issues, etc. We've also shared donor information as some had another package of pictures we didn't know existed and then we all found out the true identity of our open id donor (his gf posted it on his myspace) so we've shared videos and other info we found. Kind of crazy.

There are A LOT of families. Xytex sells up to 35 families and then retires the donor. Then they sell up to 40 families before limiting all sales to families with offspring from the donor. That means you can have 40+ families out there...I mean, how do they really stop it at that exact 40 if people are TTC and get pregnant at the same time? It's kind of insane in my mind. But families can be all over the place. We have families in Australia, Norway, the US and Canada. We have a half sibling in the burbs of Toronto and others in Ontario.

I like knowing others but that's our decision. We feel like we're open to it and our kids will grow up knowing of their half siblings--not family but they have that connection and the same donor so I think it's nice.

I grew up not knowing my bio father and I would have loved to have contact with other offspring if there were any. I'm sure it's a personal decision though.

Strawberry said...

So happy you found the right donor! For us, ID-release didn't matter (actually, we preferred anonymous), so following that, we haven't really shared our donor number. However, I think curiosity might get the better of me if I ever meet someone who used sperm from the same bank (that's not happened IRL). I don't know. I doubt it would change things. Our son's genetic make-up has always not been a big deal to us.

CD and SP said...

i love that nickname!

you know, after we had Theo, we registered on the DSR because his donor was out-of-stock, and we wanted to see if anyone had extra vials. We both feel pretty strongly that we do not want to meet donor sibs, but still like that there are others out there, somewhere.

just re-caught up with your blog and were in your exact shoes just over a year ago, with 2 failed FETs (including one m/c) and then having to choose a new donor from Theo's donor. It's a hard decision all around, but it sounds like you're accepting what has to be done and putting your best foot forward. Good luck!

anofferingoflove said...

i agree with the pp'ers, it sounds like the beatle is meant to be yours. i know this was an incredibly difficult thing to come to terms with, so im happy to see you making peace with it.

as for donor sibs, we've decided not to look. it seems so irreversible. also, in the same way they'll have a right to look when they are older, i think they have a right NOT to look/know too. making that decision for them now seems unfair (to us). to each their own though, we have definitely been curious, so i totally get the desire to make contact.

Pomegranate said...

Perfect! We care a lot about appearances, too. In fact, we're planning on using two different donors if we both end up TTC--one for me who looks like Tam/is of her ethnic background and one for Tam who looks like me/is of my ethnic background. Our priority is making sure our family LOOKS like a family.

As for being open about the donor, we are. I actually learned another blogger was using our donor and we were thrilled, but they ended up switching donors and are now pregnant with a different donor.

Emily said...

I'm open to sharing our number with our real-life friends, but I think that is it. At this point, we're not looking to meet other donor families or bio-half-siblings. Maybe some day I'll change my mind, but right now it isn't a priority for us.

B.V. said...

I've been reading your blog for a while and I just wanted to say Hello, plus congratulations on finding a donor and good luck with your upcoming TTC efforts.

Reading mommy blogs is something that helps me deal with my feelings about being childless, so thank you for sharing!

Katie said...

It's tricky, isn't it? My DW and I tend to be pretty different on these kinds of questions...she is much more private than I am. We used X.ytex also and I don't think I know anyone IRL that used them, so that hasn't come up. I'd be likely to share my donor # with online friends, I think, but our donor has been retired/otherwise unavailable for quite a while so I don't think I'll know anyone who used him. I did take a peek at the DSR and there is one other kid listed on there, but I haven't registered myself. Okay, I don't think this made any sense...sorry to ramble. Basically just agreeing that it's tricky and you'll have to do what feels right.

lezbemoms said...

Hi, I found your blog by clicking a link on Pomegranate's blog... I just wanted to say hi and that we seem like we're in really similar positions- my partner and I trying to sort through all the hoopla and pick a donor as well. Congrats on having found yours! And nice to meetcha. =)

Bionic Baby Mama said...

like pom, i don't think choosing a donor with an eye to appearances is particularly shallow. we certainly tried to do as much, although we ended up compromising on appearances in order to satisfy other criteria (genetic testing issues, ID release, doesn't-sound-like-a-total-tool-in-audio-clip, etc.). it's strange to me that we had trouble finding a match for sugar, given that we were looking for the tall, blond, blue-eyed donor that is always talked about in those alarmist news reports about how Evil Women are using donor sperm to make Aryan super babies....

i'm not sure where we will end up on the donor sibling question. i feel every which way about it at the moment, but i assume some feeling or other will become dominant eventually. i think i am on the whole more interested than sugar, which is not surprising since i have a genetic relationship to the bean and she doesn't.