Saturday, 21 July 2007

Selling Sperm? No thanks!

Half a dozen readers have expressed an interest in selling us sperm; to those I say thanks but no thanks.

Even if we were morally comfortable with paying a donor (which we're not) we simply don't have the finances for it. We want to use what little savings we have, on giving our child the best possible start in life. By which we mean placing a deposit on a larger property, moving to an area with a better school or purchasing baby equipment, but not spending money on semen.

Generosity is an important quality in a donor. We would like to meet an altruistic person who wants to donate because he feels for our cause and supports our right to have a child, not someone who stepped in purely to make a bit of cash.

However we are grateful that you took an interest, thank you.

Candidate #5 - Sarah's Father

A reader suggested Sarah's father as a sperm donor. He's not an option that we would give more than a moment's consideration, not least because he's a cantankerous old homophobe who doesn't know that his daughter is gay. Added to which, using Sarah's father as a donor would make her the mother of her own biological half sister!

Pros: shares 50% of Sarah's DNA.
Cons: homophobic; wouldn't agree to it; we'd have to come out to him; I don't want to give birth to my girlfriend's sister.

Verdict: Extremely unsuitable.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Homophobic Preachers Not Prepared to Listen to Fair Discussion

In the last few hours I've stumbled across two examples of blogs whose writers have chosen to speak out against homosexuality yet have disabled public comments thereby hindering feedback and fair discussions of they views. If you're going to attack a group of people then you should allow them a forum in which to defend themselves.

The first culprit is professional ex-gay Stephen Bennett whose blog needs no further explanation.

The other is Mass Resistance, a blog written by people who think their kids are at risk of being turned gay by homosexual activists in schools and want to save them through obnoxious writing. One post claims that articles such as one posted in The Boston Parents' Paper, in favour of gay parenting are anti-heterosexual propaganda. They claim that people are already well educated on homosexuality then follow with one of the most ignorant descriptions of gay parenting that I've ever seen. The paragraph that particularly offends me reads:

"But who are the "parents"? One assumes the two men partake of anal intercourse. If they were habitual smokers, or drug users, what would the PP say? Would they hold them up as model "parents"? Yet it is medical fact that anal intercourse and other typical homosexual sex practices are inherently unhealthy, even if the couple is monogamous and "committed." And the boy will of course accept it as normal, and perhaps be drawn into the very unhealthy and dangerous GLBT world."
1. The percentage of gay men who partake in anal intercourse is surprisingly low.
2. Anal sex can be a perfectly safe practice if precautions are taken.
3. Why is the word "committed" in quotes?
4. The GLBT world is not inherently unhealthy and dangerous.
5. If children's sexuality reflects that of their parents' then why do so many straight couples have gay children?

I would go so far as to say that the writers of Mass Resistance are vulgar, ill-informed, oppressive bullies who want to take away our human rights, and if they want to object, I'm more than happy to take comments on the matter.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Elucidating Clues to Character

In her article "Never too old" Ruth Mavin Webster writes, on picking sperm from a catalogue:
"Random, unprotected sex with a complete stranger (to loosely quote Austin Powers) would be less of a crapshoot than this. At least sex in the parking lot at closing time is personal. You can see how he holds his beer, can see if he twitches or swears; you may determine what car he drives. These are much more elucidating clues to character than a nameless, faceless stranger on a form. In fact, no photo or video of the donor is provided -- to protect his anonymity."
Whilst we're not planning on random sex, the way a man holds his beer and whether or not he twitches and swears are just the sort of elucidating clues we want to see when evaluating whether or not a man would make a suitable biological father for our child.

Candidate #4 - Geriatric George

When a professor from Cambridge responded to our advert on Gumtree, Sarah and I jumped with delight. He gave us an indication of his build, skin tone and superb medical record. What he neglected to tell us was that he was well into his seventies! You can imagine our faces as we sat in a bar nervously waiting for a man who could potentially father our child, when in walked a man old enough to be my grandfather.

Granted, a clean bill of health at 79 is even more spectacular than still being able to get it up at that age, but Sarah and I had envisaged ourselves finding a donor who was at least below 50. Granted, sperm is sperm but by the time our offspring is old enough to consider tracking down his/her biological father, George may well no longer be the lively Willy Wonka figure that he is now.

George's story was rather sad. He fell in love with a girl when he was in his twenties and she died whilst carrying his baby. He then married a right old witch who divorced him after eight years. After that he was bitten by the travel bug and never found a part of the world where he was happy to settle down.

Although George is very keen to pass his DNA onto future generations and even offered to provide for our child in his will, I just didn't feel comfortable with such an elderly donor (let alone accepting money from him.) I knew instantly that Sarah wasn't keen either and George must have caught the brief nervous glance we exchanged because he seemed to know we wouldn't select him even before we even had a chance to really get chatting

Pros: great long-term health; probably won't interfere with child rearing (because he'll be dead)
Cons: old enough to be my grandfather; might die before our child has a chance to meet him.

Verdict: Unsuitable

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Whose baby is it anyway?

It's our baby! We will be parents equally, regardless of which one of us gives birth. However, due to me being slightly older (31 to Sarah's 27) and Sarah's career just starting to kick off, we've decided that I'll give birth to our first born. Hopefully, in a few years time, Sarah will give birth to a new brother or sister for him/her.

Candidate # 3 - Our Mate 'Big Brian'

We've only known Big Brian for ten months but we've become really good friends in that short period of time. Brian is a 45 year old man and who's really keen to have biological children but probably won't due to being gay. He's a decent bloke with quite a lot of money which he's willing to give us in child support. However, we do not want financial support from a donor. We want our child to be our child and that includes providing for him or her ourselves.

Although Brian says he understands that Sarah and I would be the baby's parents, we just get the feeling that Brian's determination to have a child of his own is so powerful that he would end up wanting more involvement than we're happy to allow. We feel bad for Brian because we of all people understand how it feels to desperately want children but at the end of the day, we have to think about what's best for us and what's best for our child and we want to avoid foreseeable parental conflicts.

Pros: willing and able; really wants kids.
Cons: was a 10 stone baby; could be a backseat parent.

Verdict: Unsuitable

Candidate # 2 - Our mate Andy

At first Andy seemed like the perfect donor. He's handsome, he's got a PhD in mathematics and, while we'll always be friends, he's moving to Spain is a few months so he won't be hanging around trying to tell us how to raise our baby.

Ever since we've known Andy we've all joked together about one of us having his baby. He's unlikely to raise his own children because he just can't see himself settling down but he'd happily be a donor for a couple he knew would love and cherish their baby.

So why aren't we doing our thing with the turkey baster? Well, for one thing, Andy is almost entirely bald (at 23), but more importantly, he has Type I diabetes. Whilst, as far as we can work out, this only leaves Andy's offspring with a 4-8% chance of developing it, that's significantly more than the base rate of 1-2%. Were I in a relationship with Andy, it'd be a risk I'd be willing to take but given that we have the option of hunting for another donor, that's what we're going to do. Andy completely understood.

Pros: bloody gorgeous; trustworthy; prepared to allow us control.
Cons: type I diabetes; male pattern baldness

Verdict: Not suitable.

Candidate # 1 - Sarah's brother Jamie

Aside from the film "El Favor", I've never heard of a lesbian being inseminated by her partner's brother and have to admit, I find the idea a tad disturbing. Nevertheless, a frightening majority of the people we've spoken to about this suggested Sarah's brother Jamie as a donor so we didn't want to be too quick to dismiss the idea.

Having known I prefer women for many years I've more or less resigned to the notion that I will never have biological children with the person I'm in love with, yet when I considered a donor who shares Sarah's DNA, I felt surprisingly excited. Being related to Sarah, Jamie is funny, smart and incredibly good-looking. If we chose him as a donor then the baby may well have looked a little like both of us.

However, whilst Jamie fulfils the criteria that our child would be able to get to know his/her genetic father if he or she so wished, having the donor so close to us could cause the parental roles to blur. We want to establish that our child has exactly two nurturing parents, Sarah and myself. The donor may play a minor role later in life if the child wishes it once he or she is old enough to understand the facts of life. Having an uncle as a parent could well confuse our offspring.

The other obstacle here is Jamie's wife - a conservative, Christian fundamentalist. Whilst Jamie is reasonably open-minded, his partner is not. She has many reservations about Sarah and myself raising a family and would certainly not consent to Jamie helping us out as a donor. Jamie and Anna already have one child (a three year old girl) who they are raising according to Anna's religious principles. I'm not sure that I want our child to have a sister who's brought up to believe in things that we stand against, for example that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality and that abortion is wrong under any circumstances. We believe in freedom of choice and expression.

We have not discussed this with Jamie because we felt it would create an awkward atmosphere. Perhaps if we felt more positive about the idea we would have done.

Pros: shares 50% of Sarah's DNA; can be trusted.
Cons: uptight wife; too close to us for us to define distinct parental roles.

Verdict: Not suitable.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Could you be the perfect sperm donor for us?

We, Sarah and I, are a young lesbian couple who've been together for seven years and we're hoping to start a family soon. We feel that sperm banks are too impersonal for us and would rather find a donor that we can get to know and vet for ourselves. We're not looking for someone to fill the role of a father, in fact we'd prefer a silent donor, but we do want someone who our child can contact later in life should he or she feel the need to investigate his or her genetic origins.

Although we do have some preconceived ideas about what we're looking for in a donor, we're not expecting to know exactly what we're after until we find it. We'd like to hear from any man who feels he has a strong, healthy genetic make-up and the strength of character to fill the role we need.