Many donors talk things through with their friends and family before they donate. It’s an important and very personal decision which is made easier with the love and support of a partner.
But sometimes partners have reservations, don’t understand why someone might want to become a donor or are worried about the implications. Some people feel that their partner’s eggs or sperm are special and don’t like the idea of them being used to create another family. These initial thoughts and worries are a normal reaction and with time and some discussion, you can work together to make the best choice for you as a couple and your family.
Here’s one woman’s story about how she came to terms with her husband’s desire to become a sperm donor.
I had massive reservations at first – a feeling of being excluded from something which has been a joint venture up to now (two children). A weird thought of there being little beings out there carrying my partner’s genes combined with another woman. The uneasy knowledge that even though everything else we ever do, we enter into as a partnership, these children will be 50% his genetic material, but they will have no connection to me at all. This makes me feel uncomfortable about the future and the possiblity of these people wanting to involve my partner to some degree in their life. I worry that our responses will be very different in the event, and that I will be surplus to the relationship(s). We will also need to explain this to our children, who must be made aware of the possibility of their meeting half-siblings. However unlikely, I guess we must guard against the possibility of our children striking up a relationship with a half-sibling!
The other side of the coin is that we made this decision together in the end, and that we are a partnership, and we must deal with the long term issues together. What we have done together is to enable other couples out there who would otherwise have been unable to conceive their own child(ren), to have a natural pregnancy and birth, and to bring up their own baby within a loving family. I can’t imagine the desperately empty feeling of being unable to have a family, and the knowledge that we have been instrumental in this magic for other families is an amazing feeling. For these families, the joy will last a lifetime – many lifetimes – and will change the shape of many peoples’ lives, for the sake of a little awkwardness in my mind, which will probably come to nothing.
In time I’ve thought about it less and less, having dealt with the internal conflicts. It’s just something that’s out there – and it’s certainly not an issue between us as a couple. There’s the curiosity and desire to know if there have been any successful pregnancies and births, and the occasional thought of what will become of them. I still feel a little apprehensive about the future and the chance that these children may want to seek out their genetic father, but I am confident that my partner will deal with this sensitively (especially after I’ve told him to…).
I think it was important for us to work through the decision together at the start, otherwise the feeling of exclusion could never have been overcome.