Thursday, July 20, 2006

A3 - Questions of Self Worth - Richard

Since discovering your own infertilty how has your own view of what it means to be a man changed? Do you believe using another man's sperm changes your view?

I'm not your typical macho guy, so generally such things don't bother me. Would I be less of a man if I brought up a child that my wife might hypothetically have had from a previous relationship? I think not.

To be honest I think I can honestly answer this question with a simple no. Being infertile has not effected my own view of my masculinity, my virilty, my sexuality or any other part of those things that society typically associates with being a man.

That said, I think I can understand how people brought up in a different way might feel very differently. If I wasn't comfortable being open about such things I might believe the myth that producing a few sperm cells could define my manhood. Infertility and the requirement to effectively bring a 3rd person into your marriage can be very disturbing if the two of you don't sit down and discuss with each other how you really feel about it and what you're afraid that it might change.

I'll answer this question with another question. Who is more of a man? The guy who gets a woman pregnant and then walks away because he can't handle the commitment or the guy who says I'm man enough to handle doing whatever it takes to give my wife and I the chance to raise a family together. I know which one I'd rather be.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A3 - Questions of Self Worth - Bob

Since discovering your own infertilty how has your own view of what it means to be a man changed? Do you believe using another man's sperm changes your view?

I don’t equate fertility with manhood. My infertility is a fact. My status as a man is a fact. Of course, I’ve known about my infertility for five years now. I do remember having feelings of weakness and self doubt in the beginning.

Rather than my view of being a man, what is most impacted is my view of being a husband. My wife was absolutely devastated by not being able to get pregnant by me, and not being able to have kids the old fashioned way. Watching her go through the strains of IVF cycles and failed DI IUIs, and my not being able to “fix” the situation was and is tough. Especially when it was my condition and not hers that caused all the physical pain and mental anguish.

Using another man’s sperm was the most viable fix to our situation. I am grateful that was an option.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Q3: Questions of Self Worth

Since discovering your own infertilty how has your own view of what it means to be a man changed? Do you believe using another man's sperm changes your view?

- Eric

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A2 - Choosing a Donor - Richard

Q2: How did you (or do you) and your partner / spouse go about picking a donor? What are the most important characteristics to you and why? Are there any donors you would not choose?

In the UK it's not so much a question of choosing a donor but rather finding one in the first place. We were given the choice of just one donor, who is now no longer active. The form that we filled in to specify our donor criteria was based very much around the old idea of 'not telling' I guess. The form contains details of physical characteristics and these are considered the most important when selecting a donor.

For me the most important things are different. The thing that I have most in common with my father is the way in which I view the world. I think my left-handedness plays a part in that and I would have liked a left handed donor if it were possible. My wife is right handed and, as I've said before, having a left handed child would give me a relationship with my child that my wife did not have.

As for donors I would not choose, I would have say that a donor would always need to be of the same ethnic origin as me and my wife. While I would have no problem with a child that had a different skin colour to me, I think it would be very hard for the child to get away from the fact that daddy was not their 'real' father. I also think that I'd steer away from anonymous donors or donors from abroad. It's hard enough to explain to your kids that their biological father is not the man who brought them up without then telling them that they can never find out who he was or that he lived on the other side of the world and shares no cultural heritage with them.

The shortage of donors here in the UK, however, may change my opinions. Never say never.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A2 - Choosing a Donor - Bob

Q2: How did you (or do you) and your partner / spouse go about picking a donor? What are the most important characteristics to you and why? Are there any donors you would not choose?

The short answer is: We chose a donor who matched physical characteristics with either me or my wife. The most important factor was that he be of northern European descent. We ruled out anyone who listed history of family mental illness, or who listed family members who, other than accident, died at an early age.

I’m 6’ 1” (185 cm) tall, so I found it important that the donor range between 6’ 0” and 6’ 2”. We chose a donor who was about 165 lbs. (75 kg), the weight I was when I was the age of most donors.

For traits like hair and eye color, it was necessary that he matched either my wife or me.

My wife has environmental allergies. We ruled out one otherwise acceptable donor because he had allergies. No need to saddle the child with an almost guarantee of teary eyes for the rest of their life. We also wanted someone who had begun or completed college.

After the filtering, we ended up with three profiles. I had a slight preference for two, and my wife had a slight preference for two. We chose the one for which we both had a slight preference.