Definitions first: There are 3 types of donors.
- Known Donor: A known donor will not be the legal parent of a child if the child is conceived through a licensed fertility clinic and the birth person can enter into an agreement providing for their partner to be other legal parent, regardless of whether or not they are married or in a civil partnership. Whilst a known donor is generally asked to agree to the same anonymity requirements as an anonymous donor, the situation can be complicated by their relationship as a friend or family member with the parent/s.
- Anonymous Donor: An individual who provides a sperm donation anonymously under the condition that recipients and offspring will never learn the identity of the donor.
- Open-identity Donor: Allows for the possibility of communication between a donor and donor-conceived child.
We chose an open-identity donor. While we would selfishly (and rightfully) want no one else to be a part of our family because of being our own unit, we wouldn’t be considering how the child feels and their rights. The reality is that our child will one day not be a child anymore. They will grow up to be adults like us. They will be deserving of making their own choices; therefore, we decided they need to have allowance in considering different options. Having an open-identity donor gives them such options. When they’re of age (18), they can have an important choice as to whether they wish to reach out to the donor and go from there.
We believe ourselves to be a transparent, open-communication family. When we feel the need, we ought to share our feelings and talk it out together. We also strive to be a family that develops warm, trusting relationships. Though it is hard work, we trust our creativity and love for our child to producing the best way in sharing their birth story and origins. The longer we hold onto non-disclosure, we believe more likely it will be a byproduct of significant psychological distress. We plan to share with our child the donor origins and experience whenever the topic comes up. If our child asks, we will provide them a meaningful answer. We can learn and adjust our language as we go.
Now, choosing a sperm bank and donor… that wasn’t easy but with it being a part of the process in achieving a dream, we continued. We researched each bank that was approved by the FDA. After we narrowed down to three, we chose Fairfax Cyrobank in Fairfax, Virginia. We ultimately chose Fairfax because it is within driving distance from where we live. We wanted the experience of driving to the sperm bank and picking up our sperm vials and personally deliver them to our fertility clinic for storage.
From there, we started the process of picking a sperm donor. This part was most difficult for me. While we are choosing to keep this part of our story private, we’ll say this. This is completely uncharted territory. It’s entirely up to you how you make a selection for a donor. There’s no right or wrong way. For some, it’ll be easy because you know exactly what you want. For others, it won’t be so easy. The process is unusual and often times, one engages with the process having no one else to talk with who can relate. You will make the best choice for you.
On Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020, Maya and I excitedly drove to Fairfax. Upon walking into the sperm bank’s client pick-up area, taking a “before” picture without the sperm, and within 5 minutes, we had our sperm vials in a storage container, ready for delivery! Before we left, took an “after” picture of us with the sperm vials. We were totally giddy then. We were yet another step closer to the realities of having a child together. It felt more real when we had something physical to manage. Maya and I grinned the whole way to the fertility clinic. When we dropped off the vials, we only needed to wait 10 minutes before they gave back the empty storage container so we could return it to Fairfax Cyrobank the following week as instructed. We were speechless, overwhelmed, and dealing with all sorts of adrenaline. But the one feeling we had that was securing was: Yes, we want to commit to having a family together.