Choosing a sperm donor
“Choosing a donor is quite a journey, initially you think it will be easy but it can be quite overwhelming because there is so much choice and also so much information, ultimately what I learned is to narrow your focus and look at the things that are most important to you. It can be difficult as a couple to find someone that you are both really happy with but we got there in the end. ” [Chloe Jenkins]
Finding the love of your life often result in the great wish of having a child. Being a lesbian it is pretty obvious that it’s nothing you just do – or that comes naturally. When Chloe and Emma from Glasgow, UK, met each other while in their mid 30s, they quickly starting talking about having a child. Emma was going to be the one carrying the baby being slightly younger than Chloe (and also healthier, according to Chloe).
The couple hoped they would conceive quickly and it was clear to both of them that using a sperm donor from a professional sperm bank was the only right option for them. They knew others who had gone through the same reflections and spoke fondly of getting help through a sperm bank:
“The first big decision is choosing a known donor or not. I pushed for us using a sperm bank because I didn’t feel comfortable with using someone we knew as I felt it complicated our family relationship with our future child” Chloe says.
As the couple resides in the UK choosing a non-contact wasn’t an option. It might not be the right solution for everyone but Chloe and Emma from the beginning felt that openness and honesty was the way to go so there wasn’t a doubt in their mind that using an open donor was the only and best decision for them and their future baby.
When going through the process of actually choosing a donor it became complicated. The couple felt overwhelmed by the options on the website https://www.europeanspermbank.com. They started out by going through the donor list separately – hoping that afterwards, when comparing the donors, they would have selected some of the same donors. That didn’t happen as they had different approaches:
“I started by looking at very detailed information in a search for the ‚perfect‘ donor which became a little overwhelming. I took some advice from my parents and some friends who advised that I be much more instinctual about it (which was Emma’s approach!) they said find donors you connect with either through their pictures or with simple information like their jobs and interest and only then once you like someone check out the detailed info.”[Chloe Jenkins] Chloe says.
Finally, the couple sat down together and started their search for a donor by only using one filter: a Caucasian donor. They didn’t want to put any further layers of complexity on their future baby’s identity than necessary. They both wanted a donor they could connect to rather than being very specific on hair and eye color. Family medical history is something that takes up quite a bit in the extended profile. This is very important for some people when choosing a donor, but for Emma and Chloe it was much more important to feel some kind of connection with the donor’s interest:
“This for me made it all a much more natural process after all we don’t rule potential partners out based on their grandparent’s health history!”[Chloe Jenkins]
The donor list showed 50 available donors and the couple started out by looking at baby pictures. It wasn’t anything particular they were looking for – they just wanted to go with their gut feeling. They narrowed it down to about a dozen donors and then began to look through the donors’ profiles and staff impressions. Chloe and Emma tried to continue going with their gut feeling and ended up with seven potential donors and asked each other which of these really stood out. They were left with the final three options.
The final match came with the handwritten note. There wasn’t a doubt in their minds that they had found their donor. He was not perfect, but then who really is?
“In the end we are really happy about our choice as a couple and feel that we have a strong story to tell any future children about the donor who so kindly helped us to bring them into the world.”[Chloe Jenkins]