Back in May, I wrote a post about our alternative lifestyle. It prompted a question which I started to answer here and here.
This is part three.
We both always wanted children. We both wanted to experience pregnancy. I had always wanted six. Käri thought maybe two. Timing was discussed. I would have liked to have children early in our relationship, Käri wanted to wait. Thank God we waited. I know many people have kids right away, I'm just glad we didn't. We had time to settle into our relationship with each other first before we added kids.
We began the process of adding to our family in our 6th year together. There were a couple of friends who offered their... ahem, services. But, we were worried about the consequences of accepting their assistance. We had heard too many stories of donor's not wanting to be involved with the child at the onset and then changing their minds after seeing the baby. One of our friends offered to be a third parent, and that just seemed like too much. Imagine trying to decide on a name for the baby, which school to go to, and what about where to live with three parents. While there are many families that do this, we decided to go with option three, the anonymous donor.
Be forewarned, this may be TMI for some...
We decided that Käri should start, simply, because she is 19 months older. And so began the arduous task of choosing a Sperm Bank and then donor. Initially, we chose a bank that was somewhat local because we were worried about timing and having samples delivered and sitting for too long...
See, this was back in the mid 90's when performing regular old insemination at home on our own, was a popular option- instead of the now more popular, IUI, or Intrauterine Insemination. (Think, simple as inserting a tampon vs. Dr. appointment, speculum, and placement of sperm into the uterus.) The theory is that IUI is more successful. I contend, that the research is primarily focused on women with infertility issues and that it is also one more way to make money. We would get the sample frozen and have to keep it on dry ice until the most opportune time. And at the time, dry ice was either a ferry ride away (count on 3 hours, at least) or a two hour round trip drive. If the sample thawed, we were screwed, or not, depending on your sense of humor! ;) We had taken basal body temperatures for several months as well as watched mucus, paid attention to other signs of ovulation and charted. We were feeling prepared. Having a Baby Without a Man: The Womans Guide to Alternative Insemination was our bible.
Donor's bio's were sent to us and devoured. We set out to use a donor that matched physical and ethnic characteristics of each other. We hoped to have children that might favor the non birth mom in outward features so that our family might look more cohesive. (what did we know, then?) Looking at the lists prompted many discussions about how to pick a donor. Intelligence, health, eyesight, hair texture, height, complexion, history of acne??? The lists were pretty detailed with a physical description of the donor as well as his health history, sibling, parent, aunt, uncle, and grandparent health history, hobbies, education level, reasons why they wanted to donate, skills etc. Could they have lied, made stuff up...? Sure. We didn't have much control over that, but sometimes we would have a good laugh at the nearly blind, body builder, who was just under 5 feet tall, a pilot and had climbed Mt. Everest, all before the age of nineteen!
We ended up using health history as the #1 consideration, as well as sticking to using a donor for Käri that matched my racial background and similar physical description and vice versa. If we were a straight couple we wouldn't even be discussing this. By that, I mean if I was married to a man, regardless of his personal health history, physical description, or family history, chances are we would just go for it, right? Unless we both carried some recessive gene for some terrible malady or another. In any case...
The quest to join egg and sperm = child, began. For a year and a half we tried with Käri with no confirmed success. We suspect there may have been one conception that ended just a day or two past the day Kär was due for her period. 18 months of "do you feel any different?", a wicked roller coaster and we had really just begun.
I've been sitting on this post for eight weeks, trying to finish... part 1 will have to do for now.