I am just catching up on my Sunday New York Times reading and I came across the Modern Love column in the Styles Section. The piece, entitled, “The Man I Wish Was Your Father” happens to be about a lesbian mom who is reflecting on her donor choice.
The author, Virginia Smith, started out wanting a known donor who would be a part of her children’s lives. She fantasized about her kids having a relationship with their ‘father’ even though she was fully prepared to be a single parent and pay for everything. She even kind of ‘fell in love’ with a potential candidate, named Andrew. She writes “And so we began our odd seduction a courtship that was not about sexuality or marriage but nevertheless involved many of the same concerns…” Eventually, she changed her mind about using Andrew’s sperm out of fear.
Fifteen years ago when she started her TTC journey AIDS was everywhere. The fear of AIDS touching her family and her children lead her to withdraw from Andrew and use an anonymous open donor. She writes, “I couldn’t take it any more, the overwhelming fear that AIDS could devastate our lives and the lives of the children we might have together. Even continuing the friendship was too painful.”
I was glad to see this topic featured in Modern Love and I choose not to judge Virginia’s decision because choosing a donor is so very complicated.
Nadia and I have decided to go with an open anonymous donor because we want the child to be ‘ours’. We fear having a known donor who might one day fight for custody or fail to relinquish his rights when the time comes for Nadia to adopt. And even though I am confident our decision, I have to admit that I waiver sometimes. If we went with a known donor who wanted to be involved, Nadia and I could definitely use the extra pair of hands. And the child would benefit from that extended security blanket –you know, it takes a village to raise a child.
At the end of her piece, Virginia Smith seems to be a bit melancholy about her choice. She winds up googling Andrew only to discover that he is still alive and still with the man he introduced her to many years ago. Even though she loves her children, she seems to second guess her choice to go with an anonymous donor.
Right now, Nadia and I feel good about our decision to go with an open anonymous donor. I just hope we don’t have any regrets.