Thursday, February 02, 2006

Donating Sperm for a Sibling? A Brother's Thoughts.

I got an interesting letter a while ago from a young man who I'll call Joseph.

"Hi. My sister & her (lesbian) partner have asked me to be a sperm donor. They joked about it five years ago. We kind of left it in the air for a bit then, as I was living abroad at the time. They turned to other possible donors, somewhat to my relief. Three possible donors later, each backing out after talks and meetings etc, they decided to try a fertility clinic.

We live in Ireland where no such service exists or (I think) is legal - for lesbians. In the last year they have gone 7 times. Each time was unsuccessful, each time with less and less trust in the system - there is no personal touch, no feeling of getting good service from the clinic...the prices are going up, and they feel - being 'foreigners' they are being ripped off. That's all tied up with the anguish and emotions, the fertility drugs etc., etc.

About five weeks ago they came back to me - their original first preference. I've grown up, am 34 and have very different views to 7 years ago, but I am very worried. Being a donor is one thing, being the child's uncle and father is another. They gave me a book which is very much from a woman's point of view. I'm not finding much sensitivity for the man, the donor. Even the donor's experiences seem to be coming from men who are very unattached to their sperm.

I don't think I sound crazy. But I am afraid that if I donate I will be part of something very real, a reality I will want to be part of. But what happens then? I want to help my sister, I want to help her partner. But what about my parents? What about me? I've never been given the opportunity to be a dad before. I thought that was taken from me once I came out to myself 17 years ago. I need to talk to someone who has had similar experiences, those who did it and those who didn't. I'd appreciate your comments.

Joseph - Ireland."


This was my response:

"Dear Joseph,

Thank you for contacting us. I read your story and I think that it's very good that you're taking the matter so seriously.

I would be happy to post your question on Fertility Stories along with any answers we receive. Let me know if you are interested.

Personally, I think that there are a lot of issues involved: You would be placed in an un-natural relationship with your sister, being a co-parent to her child (which, actually, biologically would be your child). What would your legal obligations be? What would your sister and her partner's expectations be from you? What would happen if your sister and her partner decide to dissolve their relationship? Would you have visitation with the child? Have to pay child support? What if you disagree with the education they choose for the child?

It seems the matter is very complicated and would have very long-term effects on your life.

I also think you are correct in that most donors have no desire to have any sort of connection with the children born of their sperm - this has its advantages, such as keeping just the 'parents' in the picture (particularly in heterosexual couples).

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rachel"


Joseph's response:

"Hi Rachel,

Thank you for your reply. I think posting my query may be a good thing, as I need some real life experience feedback. My friends are differing very much in their opinions. Some flat out no's. Others are envious.

I'm not sure if I was clear - I am gay as well as my sister. My sister is 2 years older than I and we are very alike in looks, mannerisms and personality - strong family line hey! No wonder I am their number one choice. Since I have taken on this consideration seriously my mind has wavered and weaved from positive to negative, from fear to excitement. Each step has ramifications in each and every direction. Yep, I'm feeling a little overloaded. I'm not under pressure, although a 'no' is not going to go down well.

The need, want, to have a child I think has heightened this year with the treatments and drugs, I think my sister's girlfriend is more than ready and 'wants a baby'. I was worried about my sister. I was leaning towards a negative gut feeling up until we actually sat and talked about it. I was concerned my sister was being pushed into this, her partner is persuasive and I wondered if, like me, my sister had never really thought about having kids before. It's so hard to know...maybe if I was lucky enough to be in a long term relationship and my partner was the family kind, and I loved him dearly, then yes I think I would want to have a family.

There is so much uncertainty… And that's before the legalities. I already know that there are no legalities. I mean, there is nothing in place to protect me, as a donor - to remain just a donor. No law exists in Ireland to prevent my sister &/or her girlfriend from claiming child welfare. Would I argue it? If things were to change? How could I? The child would be biologically mine. But trust is the bind. I trust my sister, her girlfriend. I trust their ability to bring a child up well. I trust them that should circumstances change, they would not turn on me.

I know to anyone reading this I may sound very selfish, but I am trying to get to the heart of why I want to do it, why I don't. Part of me thinks - stop thinking, just do it, you can't know the outcome - who knows the outcome of a child, the conception, the birth, the life. The changing of all relationships as time passes. None of it can be controlled. Is that a positive or negative?

Thanks for listening,
Joseph"

We look forward to your comments.

38 comments:

Franco (Italy) said...

I came across this site while doing a search in Google about sperm donation. I found a very interesting post about a man "Joseph" who was wondering if he should or shouldn't donate his sperm to his sister and her partner.

I am interested in his story because I had a similar one but I decided to donate to my sister and her partner and now they are proud parents of a baby girl. They went through the same odyssey as Joseph's sister and her partner. At the end they asked me to be their sperm donor.

I had to think about this but I accepted. I guess Joseph would put me between the "men who are very unattached to their sperm". After helping them, they asked me to help other couples that they knew. So far I have helped 2 other lesbian couples to conceive a baby and now I'm helping another one. I never had problems about giving "my babies" to other people; do you think I'm heartless? Maybe, but I do believe that fatherhood is something that you have to build little by little. An ejaculation doesn't make you a father. Even with my sister's daughter, I don't consider her my daughter -I don't have these kinds of feelings toward her. I'm heterosexual and one day if I meet the woman of my dreams I will create a family with her and the babies I'll conceive with her will be mine.

I like to be a sperm donor because I think that every woman should be allowed to be a mother regardless of her sexual preferences. These women are very good women and they really want to build a family and I thought it was a very good thing to help them to realize their dream. I'm not a naive man and I'm aware of the risks of sperm donation, as Joseph said. Sadly, we donors we don't have any rights and we are not protected, so if someday one of the couples I helped will ask me for child support or money I will take all my responsibilities. It's a big risk, I know, but if you don't risk in your life you will never live. Anyway, as I already said, I'm aware of what I'm doing and about all the troubles I could run into but I will still donate.

I grew up in an all female family so I really love women, they are precious stones for me and this is why I want to help them. My mother has always worked for women's rights - since she was young - so she's very supportive of me. She likes what I'm doing and she encourages me do to more. So now I guess you will think: ok here is a happy donor!! Oh well it's not completely true there are also a couple of side effects:

- Lesbians are not very kind with sperm donors. Most of them consider us not like human beings but just like, as an old feminist used to say, (having growing up in a feminist family I know this)"walking dildos". When everything started we didn't know anything about home insemination so since I can read English very well I started searching the internet for information about home insemination. I came across a large number of lesbian forums and groups about this subject and donors were considered an "object". I remember a woman who was saying that she "used" her donor many times in a row without any problems like he was just a sperm dispenser. I found a lot of this, of course I can't speak for everyone, I also met very kind women, but most lesbians treat men just like sperm containers. I'd like to believe that it's a form of "defense" - that it's easier to deal with just a "sterile cup" than dealing with a man. If they see the man as an object it will make things easier for them.
- I'm single now but I worry what my wife will think and say when she knows that I'm a sperm donor. I had a story with a woman last year: the second couple I helped did the insemination in a clinic so I had to donate there and I met a nurse and so she knew from the start that I was a donor and it was ok with her, but I don't know if it will be the same for the next woman.

Confused said...

I am very interested in this story because it is happening in my life right now. My husband has been asked to donate his sperm to his sister and her partner. I already have children from a previous marriage and my now husband and I decided not to have any of our 'own'. Having said that, I am uneasy with his having a child with/for someone else. The emotions I have are so mixed and although he and I have talked about it a little, I can't seem to put my feelings into words. On one hand, I think it's a wonderful gift! Being able to help someone else have a child, especially a child with your own 'genes' so to speak would be awesome!!! On the flip side, because he has no children of his 'own', how attached would be be once this child is born? I also think of the future of this child and what, if anything, would be told to him/her. There are so many other things I am thinking about, but just can't seem to voice! I would love to hear from anyone that has any advice for me! Thank you!!

Confused!

Anonymous said...

Here is a flip side to the coin. My husband was diagnosed with azoospermia. Our dreams of having children naturally was shattered. Years later we decided that a life without children didn't really fit in with our dreams, so we went on a donor list. A year later we are now at the top of the list and got issued with 4 profiles. Not one even coming close in resemblance to my husband.
It was shortly after this that friends had had a baby and I comented that the child looked exactly like the father. His response was "I'll never experience that..."
My brother in law is 32 and single, my heart craves for him to be a donor. But it's my husband who says it would be too weird.
It's breaking my heart, because I know that if it were my brother or sister in my shoes, i would never hesitate to help them out.
I know the nights I have cried myself to sleep, desiring a child.
But I don't just want anyones child...I want a part of him...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comment. This is the sort of thing I need, is feedback from other people.

Anonymous said...

I am in exactly same situation as Joseph. My sister and her partner have asked me recently to donate sperm so they would have the kids. I have been debating about doing it for them. With the legal, political and rights for lesbian couples out there is not treated fair. I am gay myself. I know I never will have kids of my own,it is for my own personal choices, but giving kids for my sister and her partner. That would make their world brighter for them. I am looking for more feedbacks. Anyone can help?

Anonymous said...

I am in a very similar situation, just not with a lesbian couple. My brother has had a long history of health problems leading to an inability to concieve. He has asked me and my two other brothers to create a "cocktail" to inseminate his wife. One other brother is married, one in a new relationship, and I have been with my girlfriend for 7 years now and intend to marry and have children with her. The married brother has said no, the other has said yes. I dont know what to do.

My first reaction to the question was, "of course, I'd do anyhting for my brother." My girlfriend does not see it this way, and is opposed to it entirtely. This puts me in the middle - two people I would do anything for asking me to do contradictory things. I am a mess over it, and just don't know what to do. I go from angry at both my girlfriend and brother to sad to confused to detached, and cant get around it. To make matters worse, my parents are playing the guilt game on those of us that are reluctant. I suppose they have the same drive to have a biological grandchild as my brother has for a biological child. His current wife has a young son from a previous marriage as well.

I get caught here - If genetics matters enough for me to donate, then doesn't it matter enough for the child to be mine, to create a strong desire in the future for it to be mine entirely? I guess if genetics matters, it matters and the child would be mine (or another brothers, which really just adds uncertainty.) So there is an inhereny tautology in all this - genetics both matters and doesn't.

I also worry about the other child. He is around 6 now, but has known my brother as his dad since about 2. How will he feel? Wont he see that genetics matters to his father, enough that he would go to these extremes?

In the end I feel it is a very selfish question to ask of someone. It amounts to asking for my first born child. My girlfriend cant handle the thought, but I want to be a good brother and person. I dont know what to do. It is drving me crazy. To top it off, they are very impatient and want an answer before her next period. I just cant take it.

Anonymous said...

Any updates on this? I'm facing the same situation?

Anonymous said...

My 34 year old husband of 4 years was put into this same situation two weeks ago. His lesbian sister and her gf of 2 years just asked my husband to donate sperm to impregnate the gf. The family had no clue that the sister ever wanted a family and no one thought that their relationship was **serious**. In fact- my husband, his straight married sister, and her husband were all blown away by this request.

The problem is that I am 35. This past year I have prepared myself to have children. After much discussion- my husband decided he was too immature to have children- that he didn't really want any kids NOW. So we have decided together- not to have children.

So I was very angry at this request and very angry at the fact that my husband would even consider it. He would be willing to give a child to a woman he has only met a few times but not willing to give me a child. There was no way I would settle for him having a "biological" child in this world while I could not. No way. No how. Sorry it just isn't going to happen.

Not only that- we were concerned about the legalities of donating. Since the sister and her gf live in Australia- but we live in America- what are the laws that would protect my husband and myself? What happens if the sister and gf split up and the gf takes the child since it is her own biological child? What happens if they split and the gf sues for child support from my husband? Also if my husband is too immature to have his own child- then he is too immature to donate sperm. I don't think he is ready for that at all.

I also agree that it is a VERY SELFISH request to ask your siblings. Esp if they have decided to not have kids. I am still working through our decision to not have kids and some days it is harder for me- some days easier. But I would find it a slap to my face if my husband decided that he WANTED to donate.

And if my husband donated sperm- I would probably start to hate it like you would hate a love child your spouse conceived while you were married. I am not a saint and I wish I were- but I am human and think that I would begin to resent my husband, the sister - the gf AND the child.

To the men who are asked to donate before they are married themselves- what happens if you do donate- and then you get married and you find out that you can not conceive with your wife? Please think through this very carefully- because think of all the resentment that will build.

I completely understand WHY lesbian siblings would ask their brothers for sperm. I get it. I am not cold hearted. But I wish for once these lesbian siblings would stop being so selfish and think about others and how it would affect the brothers - the guilt- the pressure- it is so unfair and so selfish.

Just from a Wife's point of View

Anonymous said...

While I feel for the poster who's husband thinks he doesn't want children with her, I think it's she who is being selfish, and not thinking it through. The fact is, he decided for you that you were not going to have children, that much is obvious. And you resent him for that whether or not he donated to his sister. But, what if he donates to his sisters partner, and upon seeing his new baby neice/nephew decides that being a father wouldn't be so bad after all? 35 is not too old.
There are pleny of legal documents that would prevent a donor recepient from coming back to the donor for support.
And until you have been there, there is no way to understand the ramifications involved from the recipients point of veiw. There is more risk that the known-donor will suddenly want to be involved in the life of the child, a child that for practical purposes is to be the child of the couple, and only because science isn't yet far enough along to make that possible does a third party need to become involved. Depending on the sister, this can become very, very painful. Asking a brother for sperm is never an easy task, for one thing, at what point (if ever) do you tell the offspring? and if so, how?
My partner and I are in the middle of that quandry right now. Do we, or do we not, ask my brother to donate? Despite the tens of thousands of dollars more it would cost us to go through a clinic, would it not be a better option for us, and our child, in the long run? On the other hand, my parents and grandparents would have a biological grandchild, and don't they deserve to look into the eyes of a (blood)family member not some random strangers baby?
We are not planning to start trying till next year, so we are spending this time considering our options. Unfortunately, it's not an easy road.

Rachel Inbar said...

To the wife who doesn't want her husband to donate sperm to her SILs partner: I think very few people wouldn't understand your feelings. As theoretical as everything sounds before it happens, once it does, there's no going back and you'd have to live with the consequences forever. I, for one, completely understand your feelings and even though my husband & I have been blessed with children, I still would never be able OK with him donating sperm.

Anonymous said...

To the ananomous that is caught between your girlfriend and your brother. I understand your girlfriends feelings but they are her feelings and to love someone as i'm sure she loves you then she should respect you for what ever you decide. I myself battled cancer and cannot have a baby. Last night my brother offered his sperm if my boyfriend couldnot give or otherwise chooses not to. That is the most imazing feeling to know that I am loved that much. All the other little things that are stopping you from doing so are petty im sure. Life is too short not to share something so wonderful as the gift of life, and to who better than your own sibling. Knowone is more like you than your own brother. All the genetic issues are just to much to worry about. Let it go and love your family wether it be your neice or your biological child. Let him enjoy being a father thats whats important. He I'm sure went through a much harder battle with his health than you are with this. Put yourself in his health shoes for a week and you'll see that there is too many reasons why you shouldn't donate. God Bless.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

holy cow! I am gay a gay man and just had this conversation with my gay sister about donating sperm for her partner to get pregnant. I am so glad i found this blog from a google search. I am having such mixed, confused emotions about the whole thing

Anonymous said...

i'm so glad i found this blog. TO ANY MEN THINKING OF DONATING...DONT DO IT. my partner did, before got together, and it's the most horrible, horrible thing. it's definitely made me think more than twice about the relationship, the possibility of us having children etc.
I think it's an incredibly selfish thing to ask of someone (he donated to friends of his) and now I have to deal with his 'first born' being in the world - not to mention the confusion that she (the child) feels about it all.
JUST DON'T DO IT.
And to the woman who's husband has azoospermia - i feel for you. It would be horrible not have children of your own. But i think you should think about the possible future partner of your brother, crying herself to sleep because the situation she's found herself in (ie: he already has a biological child) is one she would never had chosen for herself.

Jealousofwhatfeelsstolen said...

I totally agree with the last post - men don't do it. You may be persuaded into thinking you are just giving 'the gift of life' but this is rubbish - there will be lots of emotional consequences for your partner at the very least. If you stay in touch with the mother your partner is going to feel she is in a mormon like relationship. My partner donated sperm to his lesbian best friend without thinking that any future partner would mind. I met him 2 months after she conceived. I spent the early months of our relationship feeling very uncomfortable knowing there was another woman out there carrying his child. This woman wants my partner in her/their (depending on your point of view) child's life in an uncle like role. He's now between a rock and a hard place - he wants to honour the commitment to her but he realises how I feel very mournful about the whole thing and he does not want to upset me. I am very confused. I understand why that child has a right to know her father but I can't stand the fact that her mother and this stupid decision puts me in a such a horrible position. The right to have a child should be something special to a couple, not given away like a commodity.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how old these postings are, but the information and thoughts are very pertinent to my current situation. I have so many questions, and don't know where to turn to get some answers or advice. I've only started to explore the Internet for some guidance. It would be nice to talk to someone that have donated sperm, but don’t know where to turn.

Anonymous said...

Good reading. Great seeds for discussion here - I'm sure everyone could write more!

My sister-in-law and her wife have asked my husband and his brother to donate. We have two children - so there isn't the first born issue - and are very close with them. They initially wanted to do a "cocktail" but after talking about it decided that everyone including the child had a right to know who their father was. We've had lots of intense conversations about the legality and future consequences - met w/ lawyers, done std testing...

I am thrilled. I don't know if I could part with my eggs as easily, but feel strongly that this a great thing for him to do. It makes things more complicated, but life is complicated. My kids will have half siblings, but they will know the truth and have a closer bond as cousins. I have found that when I share this to friends, I am met with many of the same doubts as found here.

Anonymous said...

As the term 'selfishness' has been so openly used in this comments section, particularly by the partners of men asked to be sperm donors, I ask, surely the 'selfishness' in this equation comes from the partners of the men asked to donate?

To these women, it may trouble you to think of your partner having other children or your first child with him not being his 'first-born', but can your troubles be in any way related to the devastation that your sister-in-law is feeling, knowing that she cannot have children that are 100% genetically hers and her husbands and that the only possibility of them ever having a child that resembles and ii genetically related to both of them is by using his brother sperm to conceive a child?

Think of all the step-parents in the world who accept and love their step-children despite knowing that these children are their partners 'first-borns' and their children together wont be.

Also, if your partner is happy and willing to donate (perhaps he even offered his sperm to his brother without asking?) surely you can accept that your partner has allowed his brother to have children that are as similar to him as he will ever get, which is an amazing thing for your partner to given.

It's devastating to be told that any children you have with your husband or wife wont be 100% genetically yours, and in my opinion, denying your partner's brother and wife a child that shares 75% of their genetics (50% from the mother and 25% from your partner as he and his brother are 50% genetically similar) and the chance to have a child that resembles your partner's brother and continues his genetic line is the greatest act of selfishness of them all.

Anonymous said...

This is so crazy.. i had no idea so many people in the world were going through the same exact thing as me and my girlfriend. We have only been together for 3 years but we are very much in love and we both want children so badly together. But being to females its impossible for us to have a baby together. A few months ago we were talking about our options and her brother asked how we felt about him maybe being a donor.
My girlfriend is all for the idea because the baby would resemble her and we both want it to come from us.. Technically.
But im a little more hesitent. I mean its a great thing that the baby would be from both our genes, but im just afraid that she wont think of it as "ours" that she will feel like its her brothers and not hers. She keeps reasuring me that she wouldnt think like that and her brother says that he would love the baby as an uncle and not as a father, that he would never throw that up at us. I dont know i really want to do it because its the only way it will really be both ours. Im just scared..
Any advice??

Anonymous said...

Dear readers,
i am in a relationship with a girl, we have been together for 3 years. I am ever young but i do know what i want. I am an only child but she has 3 brothers, two of them are older, and the last one is one year younger than her. Her younger brother is from the same mom and the same dad as her. I spoke to my partner about having kids some day (i really want a child in the future). We than spoke to her younger brother about donating his sperm to us so my partner and i can have a family. Everyone we tell ses "that is grows it is like her brothers child."
As my partner and i were talking she asked me, "as the child gets older wouldnt he or she get teased for having two mothers and no father"? So is it a good idea having my brother-in-law donate his sperm to his sister and me?... I am not sure if my brother-in-law does want to doanate his sperm, if he does donate his sperm, what will thier family say, what will they tell the child we have. Is it a good idea to raise a child with two mothers?
My partner and I are planing on getting merried and hoping to have kids. I dont want to have kids from doners we dont know, the child i consive for my partner and i should also have the same genes as my girlfriend.
I need answers to my questions...
Thank You for reading!

Anonymous said...

Dear all, I have azoospermia and my wife has ovarian failure. I am considering using a sperm bank + egg donor and my wife would carry the baby for 9 months. We plan to tell the child, since an early age, that he/she is adopted - the details would be gradually revealed. I plan to pick a sperm donor with adult photos available, as well as ID OPTION (OPEN) - when offspring reaches 18 yo the identification details might be released upon request (of the child). Egg donors info (including adult photos) are pretty much available at the agencies, very different from sperm banks... there are even albuns with many high resolution pics...! My wife thinks it would be easier to go for adoption but the thing is that it usually takes so long for an adoption process to be complete (up to many years). Please, I would appreciate comments and/or insights on this situation. Tks a lot.

Anonymous said...

I am going through the same thing right now and am very against it. I can't watch my husband give his sperm to my brother and sister in law and then see him in their child if it works out. I think it is just too weird and A LOT for them to ask of us. It's been sooo hard.

Anonymous said...

dear reader,
So i have desited to wright again. i am the girl that is with a girl for 3 years. she has the two older brothers and younger brother from the same mom and dad.
Well my girlfriend and i talked alot about having a baby, but she does not want to have a child any more. both her and her family knows i want a child a baby that i share with the one i love (my girlfriend). i am very confusted about the whole thing. i love kids and i do want one of my own. My girlfriend ses she has mixed fellings about this, and i dont want to force her into something she doesnt want. i mean i cant have a child with her brothers donated sperm and she not want the child as her own.
My brother-in-law is also confused and worried about the baby's future. i need help and advise. my girlfriend and i are still very young but so much in love. so if anyone has advise please wright me as (m+e).
thank you,
(m+e)

Anonymous said...

I have been on both sides of this issue. Before my husband was diagnosed with Sertoli Cell only syndrome, I would not have allowed either one of us to participate in donating to anyone else because of judgments I had made about the process and circumstances of fertility treatment. But now we are DEVASTATED by this diagnosis- we can NEVER have a child that is both of ours. I have had to swallow many bitter pills to realize how WRONG I had been in judging people in these kinds of situations. I say for certain that those who refuse to give the gift of life are the selfish ones. They should be more compassionate, because it could so very easily be them in the situation of needing help. We are using my husbands brother as a donor. When he found out our situation, he agreed immediately to help. His wife had no problem with the donation, but rather logistical details.

Pure love and not jealousy should rule your actions in life. It may be hard to donate, but it's harder by far to need the help.

Anonymous said...

I have been diagnosed with asospermia. I am scheduled to have a biopsy and the Dr. is doubtful that I will have any sperm. I have two brtohers that have two children each. I want nothing more than to have a family of my own. My brothers were both willing to donate until I actually asked them and their wives prohibited it. That is the most hurt I have ever felt in my life. Especially since friends and quasi-strangers have tryuly offered without being asked. I am going to resort to an anonymouse donor, at leaset my wife can experience the joy of child bearing and motherhood. I will love the child, but am having a very hard time looking my brothers or sister-in-laws in the eye. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling so hurt and angry and other times I feel so disgusted and betrayed that I could care less about being involved in their lives any further.

Anonymous said...

hi not sure how old these posts are but this site might be able to answer some questions
www.stonewall.org.uk
Donors who donate their sperm through a licensed clinic are not normally treated as being legal parents of the children they help conceive. This means that clinic donors cannot be held financially responsible for maintaining their genetic children, and nor will their donor-conceived children have any rights of inheritance from them.

A donor who donates sperm outside the context of a licensed fertility clinic (for example, a friend or a donor found through a website online) does not acquire this automatic protection and may be treated as the legal father of the child. However, where a child has a mother and a second female parent he or she does not also have a father. This means that, where a donor donates informally in circumstances where both lesbian partners will be treated as legal parents (including civil partners conceiving at home), the donor will no longer have any legal or financial responsibility for any resulting child.

Anonymous said...

I have wanted children for many years but because I am gay I have not conceived naturally. After trying to find a known donor, who would be part of our child's life, my girlfriend and I went to a fertility clinic.

We have twins and I want to donate my frozen embryos to someone else. To everyone agonising about their choices out there: being childless when all you want is a baby of your own is agony. Donate and give someone else the most incredible thing you can. Take part in the child's life but have your own too.

I can never be more grateful to our donor and fertility clinic - having babies has made me the person I have always wanted to be.

You too can banish a terrible heartache from somebody's life and create new life. Don't be afraid. Just donate. Until you are in the position of facing dying childless you don't understand how much it kills you. Help someone out. Do it. I know I will change someoe else's life when I donate my embryos.

Anonymous said...

If you are considering donating make sure you have the support of your wife/partner and of any children you may already have. If you do - great. If however your life is in a state of flux - if you are single yet hoping to meet someone special down the line - have regard to the fact that your decision now will also in all likelihood impact weigh heavily on them. Your future wife/partner (especially if she wants kids) may well feel very destabilised by the fact that you were willing to give away your genes to someone you did not romantically love to make a child in this manner. How will any future offspring of yours view the fact that dad was willing to do this? Are you prepared to risk that they may well feel less special to you as a result? Be prepared to accept that you may come under great pressure from the recipient of your "gift" to donate again - even though your life circumstances have changed and you possibly regret the decision to donate in the first place. The creation of a child has lifelong consequences for everyone involved in the process.... and everyone who may one day have a relationship with you.

Anonymous said...

December 2010. This is my 3rd time wrighting here. I am the girl with the girlfriend and she has the 3 brothers and only one oof her brothers is from the same dad as her on the secont post i put (m+e). So anyways i have found out that my periods are irragular. so woman whos periods are like that cant have children. Im not sure if that is completly true, im praying and hopping its not. My girlfriend and i are going on to 4 years in about 3 more months. its ben about a year since i wrote my first and secont post. The sperm donating situation hasnt been answerd yet from my brother-in-law. we dont talk about it so in the future wel see. GOOD LUCK EVERYONE AND WISH ME LUCK ALSO!!
(m+e)

Anonymous said...

March 2011. This is to the girl with the girlfriend with 3 brothers... (long name lol :)
I'm in a similar situation. We're thinking of asking my partner's brother for his sperm. He has mentioned in the past that it would be fine. He doesn't plan on ever getting married or having children, so I'm not sure what sorts of issues might be bothering him - haven't had a long talk yet.

I'm surprised how many people think its selfish to ask. I know that I would donate an egg/carry a baby for my sister without a second thought - and my Partner would be fine with it. I suppose it takes being in the situation to appreciate it from all perspectives.

I love the idea of having a baby that is genetically related to my partner's family. If that can't happen, then I would ask a friend - after reading this forum, I'll be sure to ask friend without a partner to avoid the drama.

I have seen people cringe at the idea, makes me feel uneasy. But then again, I imagine it will be different to be a child with two mothers too. Wish I lived in San Francisco :)

I would love to hear more stories from people who have had children this way.

This has been really helpful.

liz said...

THIS IS NORMAL. My girlfriend and I have been together 7 years. We both love kids. So whats wrong with me having my younger brother donate? He DOES think the gift of life is the greatest gift. He supports me and wants ME to be happy. Im sure he will have a part in the childs life. He is just "stepping in" in this one aspect, where i cannot provide. He is the closest thing to me, genetically, emotionally. And my girlfriend loves me, and is very close with my brother. So she would OF COURSE would want some part of us to reflect in her child. The child will have 2 moms, & a father. I believe some form of male figure in a childs life is good. ANYWAY just days away from seeing if the first attempt worked...wish us all (3) luck! :D ps, it is hard living in mississippi (or anywhere really) for people to understand, but in the long run, what matters is YOU.

Anonymous said...

My closest friend and his wife have been trying to have a baby for 3 years. So far they are unable to conceive even in a clinic. They do not wish to go all the way with IVF as it feels too unnatural to them.

They have 3 attempts left (only 6 allowed) to make it work, but it seems very unlikely. I have offered to be a donor for them as i love them both more than anything or anyone else in the world. And I want so badly for my friends to be parents.

the husband, to whom I am closer, has said that he doesn't want to use a donor or to adopt as he would always feel like he was raising a stranger's child. I told him this way, he wouldn't be raising a stranger's child, but a child born completely out of love. I also stated that I would not try to be the "father" or anything like that.

In fact, I am offering that this can be done completely as a secret between me, my friend and his wife. No one else would ever have to know that my friend is not the biological father unless they choose to tell.

My friend's reaction so far has been to say that he fears it wold 'muddy the waters' in our relationship. My response to that is that there are no waters left to muddy. He and his wife both know how much I love them (in fact they are already the beneficiaries of my life insurance and the heirs to my will, and health care power of attorney). We share a spiritual life together and are closer than I have ever been to anyone. Yes, I am in love with my friend, he and his wife know this and have known it for a while, that is not going to change whether or not they decide on me being a donor, so, yes, all those waters have already been tread.

I will never have children of my own, and they aren't likely to have them either unless they go with a donor. So, if their final attempts (going into a clinic and injecting) don't work, I really hope they'll decide to use me a donor. At least then they can tell everyone they conceived naturally, the child is 100% theirs (no one need ever know but the 3 of us), and the child would be conceived entirely in a loving relationship.

what do you think?

Cliff Cox said...

I am one of the potential "donors." I am married for ten years, have a great wife and three beautiful children. We are through with having babies. An acquaintence I know is unable to have children on his own, and HE asked me if I would donate. Since then I agreed to meet his wife. They are both young, bright eyed, bushy tailed couple. They just got married after a long dating period and both have good careers started.
It appears to me they have good heads on their shoulders and are willing and ready to take this step.

He is an EMT, and is versed in the "turkey baster" method (which, by the way to the "nay sayers" is a VERY litigimate conception method - do your research and you will see)

They have asked us to remain distantly involved in their lives. such as "uncle & aunt" type of thing. They intend to have three children, and would like me to donate for each.

I love my children and cannot fathom life without them. I had a great single life, traveled, great experiences, etc. I wish that my wife and I had the funds and the time to do some of that, but we kind of traded that opportunity for our kids for now.

In my opinion, I cannot imagine NOT being able to have kids. The fact that is acquaintence (from volunteering for hurricane relief) thinks enough of me to ask is flattering.

My wife is concerned, of course. I researched the legal aspects and in my state, there are no reprecussions to a donor if written and signed as such by both parties.

The emotional problem is a bit greater, I assume. Having studied a good bit of sociology in college, I realize there is a connection our families will have. I realize there will be traits from me that will be apparent in her offspring, and that may bring up questions down the road. But with all the books and guidance out there for sperm donation now, concerned parents have tons of resources to ensure that they can educate their children...(THEIR children) on donation. I had reservations.

Yet I cannot shake the feeling that they want nothing more than to have children and cannot. I took the time to research the legal aspects. I took time to reserach the validity of the turkey baster method. I researched the emotional issues.

All have risks, to a degree. But I find that there is nothing in this world worth doing without some degree of risk.

I have told my wife I will not do this, no matter how much it may break their hearts, without her support. I asked her to do the research herself and let me know. Finally, I asked if she would meet the couple together and we can discuss it as a group....or at least she can get a feel for them.

I hope it proceeds...for their sake. If its only one child, that is fine. If it is three as they hope, that is fine as well.

We will not tell our children until they are older and know about such things. They will do the same. Until then, they may interact with each other at birthday parties and such.

And I think as a whole, it will enrich all our lives....not deter them.

Jealousofwhatfeelsstolen said...

To one of the potential donors I would question how you donating enriches your wife or your children's lives. Your wife will have to accept having her role as the most important woman in your life put to one side with respect to her physical needs as you keep yourself in tiptop shape to impregnate another woman. Your wife will know there is another woman out there who is carrying her husband's child and her siblings half brothers and sisters. The children you have with another woman will not be hers and yet will be related to the most special people in her life, you and her children. Your "real" children will know what you were prepared to have other children and give them away.....in my view that devalues them all. I am the wife of a donor and it has brought nothing but emotional difficulties to our family. Think very long and hard about it. The emotional well being of your own family should be paramount in any consideration and the situation just gets worse over time.

Anonymous said...

Five years latter and five years ago.
It's 2011 as I write this.

Five years ago, while Joseph was asking this question, I had a ten year old daughter from my ended marriage.

My life had changed in several ways, the big one being admitting to myself hat I was a lesbian.

I love my oldest daughter, and loved her so much at the time.

In the USA, most states do have fertility clinics and most the laws do protect sperm donors from responsibility for the resulting child.

In San Francisco I found a clinic that was very supportive.

My ex husband donated the sperm. He did this for our daughter, so she's be a full sister to the child I would have.

And it worked just fine.
Legally my second oldest daughter is my child, and her birth certificate shows she is the result of artificial insemination.

That was five years ago and between that time a few women have asked me about using a clinic.

I can say, in California using a clinic will give the donor no rights for the child, and no responsibility either.

And since Joseph's letter, I personally know two lesbian couples that have used a male relative from the non carrying partner for the sperm. They both said it was a way for the other partner to be part of the baby.

Sometime in the next dozen or so years, they are going to be able to take the DNA from an egg and use it to replace the DNA in a sperm cell and a whole universe of possibilities are going to open.

Another Rachel

Anonymous said...

Hi

I have read all these amazing comments. Some I agree with and some I don't, although also understand their points.

I am a lesbian and we are thinking of asking my partners brother who is only in his 20's and single, to donate.

My problem would be explaining to the child who thier father is? As the question will be asked! What effect will the answer "your uncle is actually your dad" have upon the child? Or your sidling is actually your cousin? Or is it better to be straight with them from an early age - but the brother may not want to be classified as "dad"?

As for everything else I'm up for having my partner's brother donate (as long as he agrees with it!!)

Rachel Inbar said...

Hey, Anonymous :-)

Personally, if I were in your position, I would be honest with the child from birth - not referring to your partner's brother as the dad, but rather as the biological father or birth father. It's important for your partner's brother to also consider all of the implications (future relationships, future children, etc.) and, as in every situation that is not straightforward, it is probably a good idea to get legal advice. Obviously, right now you plan to stay together forever, but it is good to cover what will happen if things change. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I understand that couples in need of sperm donation are going through something incredibly difficult. It would be my worst nightmare to find out I could not have my own biological child, so that pain is one I can understand hurts like no other.
However I am very, very upset to read how many of the men feel bullied or guilty about their reluctance to donate their sperm. The idea that there is something wrong with a man who would not immediately give away sperm to a sibling- I just don't understand this. Even though siblings share much of their DNA, its not as if siblings have the same DNA, or that a child resulting from your sibling's sperm would be the same as your own. The amount of genetic material which is different from yours could actually be the majority of it from a scientific standpoint. Siblings on average would share 50% of their DNA, but it always varies!
It seems as if siblings feel they have some right to the DNA of their siblings.
I think the main issue is coming to terms with the fact that, as someone with an infertility diagnosis, or as a lesbian who will not be contributing the egg, you ail not have a child who is genetically yours. Not even with your brother's sperm.
The child who results form your brother's sperm will always be genetically theirs. It won't soften the reality.
People who I have known who come to realization that they have to use donor sperm or eggs to have a child fully embrace and love their children, whatever the genetics. They say whole heartedly that the DNA does not matter in the end. It is my feeling that guilt tripping someone into donating their sperm, or holding feelings against them for not donating their sperm, means that there has not been full acceptance of the fact that your child will not be biologically yours. You can't get around that through using a sibling.
Reproduction is incredibly complex, the feelings and attachments have evolved through the generations to be incredibly strong. If somebody had strong feelings about their reproductive material, this is only human, this is fully human, and it is to be respected. Please do not push anyone to donate when they are not fully enthusiastic.