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 before. In 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.