Signe Fjord here: I am grateful to be able to share this personal story from Anne – a Danish woman. I can clearly remember how it felt choosing a sperm donor. If I also had been held accountable for my choice by my midwife, I actually think I might have lost my courage.
Personal story from Anne about donor choice:
”My insemination had been years in the making. Therefore the whole process was very well considered. Including the choice of donor, even though in the end it was a gut feeling that chose him.
Just like when I picked a puppy from a pack as a child and let my emotions tell me which one it was going to be. When I saw his text and baby picture I knew at once that it had to be him.
I have brown eyes and dark curly hair myself, so I had narrowed the search to brown eyes. I love brown eyes. On his baby picture I could see that he was a very light skinned mulatto, and even though I am not a mulatto, but a different mix, I felt a resemblance.
I had been to a meeting at the clinic where I was going to be inseminated and has spoken to a lovely midwife that I had a really good feeling about. When the time came for the actual insemination I walked into the clinic filled with happiness and anticipation. But it all disappeared when I saw the midwife on duty – there was a strange vibe in the air as soon as she saw me in the waiting room.
My dear friend was with me in the waiting room felt it too.
I could just sense that something was not authentic in the tone of voice the midwife used.
So I just sat there and waited for it to come out.
And then it did. She wanted to know why I had chosen that donor. Because apparently the clinic was of the opinion that it was best to choose a donor that resembled oneself.
For the child’s sake.
So it felt connected and not estranged.
She could see from my file that I had chosen an African American donor.
Apparently she hadn’t seen his baby picture because it sounded like she was sure that he was dark skinned.
Really – and so what if he had been?
I have always loved dark skinned people and mixed children.
I didn’t even feel like telling her that the donor wasn’t anymore dark skinned than myself. Instead I told her that my own half sister was blonde witj green eyes and we had always enjoyed a loving and caring sibling relationship – inspite of our differences. Because feelings and memories mean more than colors. I also told her that my sister had a son with red hair that he had inherited from his grandfather and great-grandfather – so he did not look like either his mother or father.
My own daughter is 7 and looks like her father with light brown hair and green eyes. And because she looks so much like father, it won’t matter whether I have my next child with a sperm donor or a boyfriend – my next child will not resemble my daughter, because she doesn’t look like me. But we will still feel like a family – because it is all about the feelings.
The midwife had felt the need to tell me that she didn’t approve of my choice.
I also joked that I couldn’t find a donor that was the same mix as myself.
The midwife actually said to my face, that if I did not become pregnant from this insemination she would encourage me to reconsider my choice of donor.
She could hear that I was set on this donor, so she ended up saying that her own daughter did not look like her or her husband but also looked like a more distant relative.
I was very disappointed in her approach to me.
I mean the sperm was bought and paid for – and defrosted now – any concerns regarding my choice should have been brought up earlier.
Her attitude and statements actually made me lie there and wonder if she was doing a good job with my insemination.
Really not a nice feeling on the day that I had decided to make special and beautiful.
She ruined my mood, even though I tried not to let it get to me. I thought to myself that it was her issues and had nothing to do with me personally.
But when I left the clinic I had a strong need to talk it through with my friend. And later with others too.
I felt that it was inappropriate of the midwife and so did my family and friends.
In the evening I found a picture of myself as I child and placed it next to his donor picture and I didn’t think that we looked like we came from different worlds as the midwife had made it seem.
I felt that there were other issues with donor insemination that had given cause to more thought than skin color.
For example the fact that my older daughter has a father that she sees every other weekend, but the next child won’t have a father.
It could be difficult for the little one, but also for the big one, because she won’t be home with us all the time.
But my attitude toward life is that I’ll deal with problems if and when the come and that it usually works out.
There is no sense in drowning yourself in worries over things that haven’t happened yet.
Everything is well-considered.
My donor is non-anonymous. But I would probably have chosen him anyways if he had been anonymous.
It was the right feeling that I was looking for.
But I actually like the thought that my child has the opportunity to get some answers if and when any identity questions should arise.
But even if it had been an anonymous donor, I am sure that we would have made it. I am pretty neutral in regard to the question of anonymous versus non-anonymous. I just felt that this was the right donor – and I really liked his baby picture.
It meant a lot to me and will be nice to have when the baby comes, so we can see the differences and similarities.