Saturday, 18 August 2007

Candidate #9 - Doctor Dave

Last night we met the least appropriate donor yet. We went for a drink with a junior doctor who offered his help by email; we soon discovered that he was rude, disloyal, stupid and scheming.

Doctor Dave has a girlfriend who either doesn't like the idea of him donating sperm to another couple, or doesn't know. Dave kept asking if it would be possible to donate without anybody in his own life finding out. We felt that this was entirely unsuitable because it would make it harder for our child to bond with his or her biological father in the future if he or she wished to. Whilst we're happy not to publish candidates' full names here on our blog, we do want our child to have all the information. We also don't like the sound of a man who cannot be honest with his partner.

He was also unprepared to respect our views on education and child rearing, insisting that if we have a boy, he should attend a public boarding school so that he's around other males. What is the point of having children and then paying someone else to look after them for weeks at a time? The creep even offered us money so that a boy could go to Harrow like he did. What to do should we give birth to a girl however, was completely ignored.

Dave also felt that I should be doing a dull, well-paid job rather than the satisfying part-time work that I currently embark upon. I personally don't think it's any of his business so long as I'm making an honest living and that we have enough money to give our child a good start in life, which we have.

We told Dave we'd go away and think about his offer but Sarah and I both knew he was unsuitable. We later vocalised our decision over the phone and though he seemed surprised by the rejection, it didn't seem to overly bother him.

Pros: intelligent.
Cons: arrogant; rude; dishonest; wants to keep baby a secret from his girlfriend; wants to interfere with child-rearing; doesn't respect us.

Verdict: unsuitable

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Is genetic perfection obtainable? Is it preferable?

A reader suggested that Sarah and I should spend less time focussing on genetic perfection because "child birth is a lottery." He felt that we should check for critical genetic predispositions but beyond that, should primarily focus on bringing our child up well, otherwise we could "spend too long looking and not enough time enjoying!"

This brings me to a point that has been troubling me recently. Nobody has the perfect genetic makeup and by seeking that, we could be turning a blind eye to some donors with real potential. You only have to look at the difference between our views of bipolar disorder and those of the candidate Bobby and commentator Tom Wootten, to see that our narrow-mindedness may have already lead us to reject a suitable donor. Whilst Sarah and myself felt the condition would only hinder our child, the two manic depressive men felt that bipolar disorder can be a blessing.

I'm also concerned that in looking for perfect genes we are making judgment calls that we have no right to make. To discern the donor with perfect DNA, we essentially have to rank subgroups of the population - something we feel strongly against.

So far we've been aiming to give our child the best possible start in life by trying to reduce the chance that he or she will suffer from a health condition. However perhaps we're ignoring the fact that many people living with illnesses have successful and very satisfying lives. The problem for us is that to check the extent to which a health condition is manageable, we would have to do extensive research and it may be easier just to pick a healthy donor.

Your thoughts on this matter would be greatly welcomed.

Candidate #8 - Bipolar Bobby

Sarah and I thought long and hard about whether or not to use a donor with bipolar disorder. Bobby, who we met through this blog, is almost everything we would want in a donor - he's attractive, he's smart, he's funny, he's creative and he's charismatic. The only problem is that he suffers from manic depression.

A website suggests that children with a bipolar parent have a 10-15% likelihood of developing the disorder. On the plus side, neither Sarah nor I have any mental health problems so our DNA must be quite strong in that respect.

Whilst we want to give our child the best possible life, we do feel uneasy about seeking a "perfect" donor. Straight people with hereditary illnesses reproduce and have happy, functional children so why shouldn't Bobby? The same goes for our diabetic mate Andy.

Bobby, who takes medication for his illness, claims that manic depression is at worst a bearable inconvenience and at best a blessing that increases his creativity but we're not so sure that other sufferers have such an easy ride. We'd like to hear from people who live with bipolar disorder - how hard is it?

Pros: attractive; smart; funny; creative; charismatic.
Cons: has bipolar disorder.

Verdict: Undecided.