cartoon credit: Riley Freeman @ thatsfoul.com
For a few years Aunts and other relatives have been asking me when I’m going to have kids. I always joked back that I was ‘missing a few key ingredients for the baby making process’.
As a lesbian couple this is one of the first questions we had to address: where would we get said ingredients?
My partner had already (quite adamantly) expressed no desire to carry children herself and so, in order for us to look like a family we decided we wanted to use an Asian donor. This presented a few restrictions. Unfortunately most of the men I would be comfortable discussing this ‘need’ with are not Asian. I have a few male Western friends who I could speak to….
Me: How’s it going?
Friend: Not too bad…long time no see.
Me: Next time you bash the bishop do you think you could share the aftermath with us??
But I’m lacking on the close Asian male friend front unfortunately.
WW, of course has plenty of (cute) male Asian friends but was completely unwilling to have the conversation above, or any variation of it. No idea why.
After a little further discussion we decided the point was moot anyway. We were already having issues agreeing on future big decisions together. Did we really want to bring a third person into the mix? Especially living in a country where our little family would already be facing legal uncertainties? No thanks. Off to the sperm bank it is!
Not as easy as it sounds (like everything else on this journey!). Tha.iland has a rule that you can’t buy or sell body parts so there are no ‘traditional’ sperm banks. Instead you can get sperm from an infertility clinic which has been donated by student doctors but the only other information you will be given about your donor is their blood type. Plus you have to pay. I feel like that contradicts the other rule but after a few years here I’ve learned not to pull at threads like that.
This wasn’t ideal for us so I started looking into international sperm banks and found one in Denmark. Bit random but it seemed more down to earth and less money grubbing than some of the American counter parts. A quickly answered email confirmed that they shipped to our region and we were good to go.
I’ve read a few blogs which describe couples agonizing over a huge selection of potential donors, making charts and ranking systems etc. Our selection was much easier. There were only 12 Asian donors at the time. Only 5 had posted baby pictures so we immediately narrowed down the list. This felt shallow but I think when your judging a potential father with an absence of love that’s to be expected.
Next I checked the profile, looking for family illness, career choice, interests in that order. That narrowed our choices to 3 and one of those guys was Indian so then we had two. Finally we read the personal letters and compared cuteness of baby pics. I liked both pics but was sold on our donor who wrote a kind of kooky letter which included a poem about writing the letter. Obviously he had been a bit unsure what to say and so he went a little outside the box. It made me feel like we got more of a glimpse of his personality than the usual (but very nice and admirable) letter about wanting to help people. So decision made.
Our doctor advised us to order early so I got right on it. I ordered the mid quality sperm which was probably overkill when we were having IVF but after forking out all the money for IVF I didn’t want to be kicking myself for skimping on sperm. Later that day the bank sent me an email saying I’d better have all my paperwork ready and it wasn’t their fault if it got stuck at customs and defrosted.
Paperwork? Huh? What??
Definitely wasn’t mentioned when I asked if they shipped to Tha.iland. Cue panicky emailing to original contact at sperm bank, new contact and doctor. Long story short this continued for a week with the sperm bank being super tw*ty and unhelpful and me becoming obsessional about the online UPS tracker.
I needn’t* have worried. Like everything else here it just took a little time and money and the sperm arrived at the clinic safe and sound, way before the crazy expensive storage tank (which we only rented, with no returnable deposit) was due to stop keeping the swimmers frozen.
Maybe I imagined it but I’m sure our Doc was a little embarrassed when he phoned to tell us it got there. There was a definite stumble over the word ‘sperm’.
*Autocorrect flagged this and didn’t accept or offer an alternative spelling. Did I make up that word?! It’s a word right? It’s times like this that make me worry about being an English teacher.