S1E7 - On Choosing A Sperm Donor

Episode 7 March 08, 2023 00:21:47
S1E7 - On Choosing A Sperm Donor
Start to Finish Motherhood with Aisha
S1E7 - On Choosing A Sperm Donor

Mar 08 2023 | 00:21:47


Hosted By

Aisha Jenkins

Show Notes

In this episode, Aisha talks about choosing a sperm donor, whether through a known donor or a commercial sperm bank. Aisha herself used a commercial sperm bank and recommends it for those who are risk-averse. When choosing a sperm bank, important considerations include price, whether the sperm bank is LGBTQ+ or single-parent friendly, has a donor sibling registry, holiday and weekend policies, and the specific type of genetic testing required. Additionally, Aisha raises the topic of donor race, and suggests that potential parents should consider why they want a donor of a different race or ethnicity than their own. Aisha notes that black sperm donors are in short supply and encourages people to think carefully before using a donor from a different race or ethnicity. Ultimately, choosing a sperm donor is a deeply personal decision, and it is important to do one's due diligence in selecting the right donor.

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Episode Transcript

I'm here today to talk about. choosing a sperm donor. I want to start with the disclaimer that I used A donor from a commercial sperm bank. And the reason I did so is because I am risk averse. I wanted all of the protections in place. I wanted the health protections because I have personally known people who have lost their lives to HIV. I also wanted the severing of parental rights in place before [00:01:00] I conceived a child. The commercial sperm banks will take care of all of the FDA testing that's required. STD testing. That's required the sperm quarantine that's required and will also have the donor sign, a binding contract that legally waives, all parental rights and responsibilities to children conceived using. Their sperm. So by signing this agreement, donors forfeit all responsibility as well as liability to a child conceived through their donations. For me, that was important as a Single Mother by Choice. I want it to make sure that I had iron clad indisputable rights to solely parent my child. To take my child out of the country. If I so choose to get my child's documentations all with a sole parents, name my name on the documentation for my conscience and to protect. Myself and my future [00:02:00] offspring. These criteria and stipulations were important to me. That said, this is a deeply personal decision and some of you may choose to go with a known donor for your own reasons. A known donor is a person that you have laid eyes on. And you've met them, possibly. In-person. This is someone that you have not. had a previous relationship with, and you have agreed to accept sperm and they have agreed to deliver sperm to you. This agreement might come with a handshake. It might come with. A notarized document. It might come with a legal document. Whether or not these documents hold up in court is going to vary state by state. I would recommend taking a look at the legalities of accepting sperm from a stranger. Outside of the commercial sperm [00:03:00] banking system. My recommendation would be to do your due diligence. If you're using a known donor to make sure that you are protecting yourself in all of the ways. And you're also protecting your offspring. Now. Let's get into how you might want to go about choosing a sperm donor. Using a commercial sperm bank. There are quite a few commercial sperm banks out there. When I got started, I was naive and I was really new to the process. And I went 100% based on the recommendations and the list that my fertility clinic gave me. They gave me a list of three sperm banks that they work with. And I did go with one of those banks. Here's some criteria that might be important to you. I put together a little list. Price. Might be a consideration in your decision. As of today, I believe donor sperm at a commercial bank will range in price from $500 to roughly $1,200. And [00:04:00] as I said earlier, this includes the testing. This includes the severing of legal rights. It is a steep. Costs. So do shop around. Other criteria that might be important to you is if the sperm bank is LGBTQ. Or single parent friendly. By that, I mean do they have on their websites? Lesbian. Couples, do they have single parents spotlighted do they have a section that has support for single mothers by choice? So I would look into those things as you're looking through the different websites. Does the sperm bank have a robust donor sibling registry? So do they make it easy for people who use the same sperm donor to find each other and connect. On behalf of the children and start to build bonds and relationships that way. We have just gotten through the holiday season. So you might be interested the holiday and weekend policies [00:05:00] of some of these sperm banks and even some, some fertility clinics. will have reduced hours and availability during the holiday season. And to be honest, your ovulation Does not care that it's a holiday. You're going to ovulate on Christmas, new year's Eve and Easter. So you do want to be aware of what the policies are around shipping around the holiday season. You want to take a look at the specific type of genetic testing? That might be required for each of the donors. Then based on your own personal medical history, is there some additional advanced testing that's required to make sure that you have pregnancy that is not genetically problematic? And so you'll know you'll get tested and then you'll want to compare your tests with that. Of any of the donors that you're considering in order to avoid any genetic abnormalities. You might also be interested in. [00:06:00] Whether or not the sperm bank offers ID options. So it could be open ID options. It could be anonymous donors, that you're interested in and each. Sperm bank defines open ID ID, option anonymous. Differently. So you do want to look around the website to make sure that their definition matches with your expectations. Now. Some sperm banks will facilitate communication between your donor and your child when they turn 18. And that could mean that they put in place away for the donor and your child at 18 to communicate, they could share contact information with your child when they reach 18. So it can, it can vary. So you do want to make sure that you understand, and in some cases, just call the bank and ask them what is their [00:07:00] definition of open ID ID, option donor. And then in the case of an. Anonymous donor. There is no contact and for some single mothers by choice, that is what they desire. So the anonymous option is still there. A lot of banks are going the route of having open ID. Options. I would also. Want to look at the family size limits. Family size is dependent on the sperm bank itself. Some sperm banks will have a family size limit of 15, some 30. And what that means is that for each family unit, so a family unit can have multiple children. And that still counts as one family unit. . So if. The size of the donor sibling pool is important to you. I would take a look at the family size limits and family units that are considered, and I would also call the sperm bank and ask them, does this also take into account? [00:08:00] International. Distributors for. The sperm bank. The vial return policy. So sometimes you can get the dud vial that, you know, has low sperm count. Low motility. Accidents happen, human error. What is the sperm banks policy on rectifying that. Also looking to what's the sperm banks buyback policy. So sometimes you might get a vial that does not work for you, and you want to sell it back to change and get a new vial You might be done with your family building and you want to return the vial. So you do want to know. What the buyback policy is for the sperm bank. Also there might be specific sperm banks that the clinic will work with for one reason or another. I told you that my fertility clinic gave me a list. That had maybe three or four sperm banks on it that they've worked with now, hindsight being 2020. I might have asked them why. [00:09:00] These particular sperm banks. And then made a more informed decision. Donor race could factor in. So if you go to a sperm bank and they have little to no donors of your particular race or your desired race, That might cause you to choose a different sperm bank. And then photos, some sperm banks might have adult photos as well as infant photos available. If you are interested in what the donor looks like as an adult, then I would go with the bank that has both infant and adult photos vial types. Depending on the procedure that you are getting, you might need an ART vial. You might need an ICI intra cervical. Insemination vial an IUI vial, which is an intrauterine insemination vial or an IVF vial which is in vitro fertilization, you might need washed sperm you might need unwashed sperm. It just depends on what's available what types of vials you need or the types of vials that you [00:10:00] can work with would be based on a conversation with your nurse or your doctor to figure out if you can not find the ideal vial type, what suitable replacements can you work with? Let's take a step to the side and talk about donor race. In particular, if you are using a donor of a different race or ethnicity than your own. Which is the case A lot of times. By necessity for black women. There is a shortage of black sperm available. And so we have to choose donors that are outside of our race but then there are also non-black women. Who are using black sperm or sperms of a different ethnic origin than themselves. And so this is just kind of like a PSA to really think about why you want to use a donor of a different race or ethnic origin. In some cases, this could be [00:11:00] cannibalizing from people who don't have a choice. So for black women, there's already a low number of black sperm donors. So are you potentially taking you away from. Black women something that they would actually need to create children who look like themselves and who would have had the same experience in the world. So just some things that I would think about. How familiar are you with the other race? Is it something that you're just like, oh, it's nice to have, I want a kid with a particular look or a particular feature that particular hair type or eye color combination. So if that why you might be using a sperm of a different race? I don't know if you're in the US. I would ask the question. What knowledge do I have? Of that race or that ethnic group's experience in the United States. And I say that because different ethnic groups were either brought to the U S or came to the US. For a [00:12:00] variety of reasons to help build the economy or infrastructure. And I would want to have a deep understanding of what that experience was like , because if you live in the US, There are still structural and systemic implications that exist for that child. And you want to make sure that you fully understand that so that you can better prepare your child for becoming one with society. So this goes into cultural competency. How comfortable are you? De-centering yourself? And realizing that your child might have a different race. Related experience in the us or globally. Based on the donor race that you choose and what their physical features will look like. Now are you personally able to affirm that child's race or ethnicity? That means. Are you on your own able to help them build [00:13:00] love, pride get them connected with their race-based communities. Are you able to do that on your own? I know that some in the Single Mother by Choice space will look for external relationships and external friendships and external people to. Help their child identify will the other race and I ask that you not do that. In the US . There is a history of black women being forced to help nurture raise educate. Children of other races and there is deeply rooted trauma. Associated with having to do that. So I would ask that you not. Overburden your black friends with that responsibility. If you cannot personally affirm your child's race or educate them in their culture, indoctrinate them into their culture. Feel comfortable going to cultural [00:14:00] events. To support them, then I would ask that you not use a black sperm donor. Are you familiar with microaggressions against that particular race? Or macro aggressions against that race. How comfortable are you with? The microaggressions that you may have imparted on other people. Have you come to terms with the roles that you may have played in microaggressions on to other people of that particular race, would you be able to recognize a micro macro aggression against your child? So typically a microaggression against a child might be othering that child by saying a compliment, but it's totally objectifying your child based on their physical features. You could potentially objectify your child. I could potentially objectify my child. Others can. How comfortable are you at. Stopping the microaggressions. For me, I typically will get like, oh, your girls are so [00:15:00] tall. And as a black person that comes with a number of connotations that comes with the adultification of black children, it comes with, oh, they're only good for sports. So will they be running track or will they be basketball players? My goal is to nip that in the bud. And so there's something that I do intentionally in my home. I have a rule that says we do not talk about children's physical features and that nips it in the bud. I don't talk about my child's physical features. I try my hardest not to talk about other people's children's physical features. That forces other people, including health providers to focus on something else related to that child. Whether it's their intellect, their skillset, things that they do well, we will not talk about, oh, how pretty she is how gorgeous her hair is. how beautiful their. Eyes are. The longer legs are or things of that nature. I nipped that in the bud, but [00:16:00] that's just one of the things that I do to address macro and microaggressions against my black children. So, yeah, those are just some of the things that you want to think about often in the Single Mother by Choice space, the reasoning that people will say, oh, I'm okay. Using a donor of a different race or ethnicity is because I dated some people of that race. Or I have friends of that race or ethnicity. I want to clarify that as a Single Mother by Choice. Who you dated or who you hope to marry in the future or who you hope to date in the future has no real relevance to you choosing a donor because your relationship with your child and the whole categorization of Single Mother by Choice is that you are going to be the sole care. Provider. Of that child from the beginning. And so no romantic relationships should factor into that decision. Choose based on your cultural competency and not based on vanity or, you know [00:17:00] Objectification of another race or ethnic group. That being said, This is how I went about picking my sperm donor from start to finish. When I got started back in 2012/2013 with the Single Mother by Choice path, I was working with the fertility clinic. They gave me a list of sperm banks to work with. And I got to work. Now. The first time you sit down at a computer and you're you type in sperm or Cryobank. it does feel weird. I went through and. I'm having a list of criteria. What I was looking for, I wanted a black donor. I wanted a donor that was a certain height. I wanted a clean medical history. I want an open ID, those four criteria or the top of my list for things that were important. When I sat down to actually enter in the criteria. I got six donors for the bank that I was using. And that was [00:18:00] typing in race height And looking through medical history. Then once I added ID option, that took him from six to two. I searched based on number of pregnancies that took me out to zero. Then I went all the way back to the beginning and I said, I might need to take a different approach. That was the first reality check that, okay, this might not be as simple as I thought. And. Being a black woman. A black person in the United States. I know that the color black is a spectrum. You can go from the bluest black to the very, very, very fair skin. So knowing that it's a color spectrum. I began at the darkest end of the spectrum. And I was prepared to work my way toward the lightest end of the spectrum. I knew that for me and my relationship with other races in this country that I could not have a white donor. [00:19:00] And so my goal. Then, if I could not get a black donor was to get a donor that would give me a child who would look black. A donor who would give me a child with. Black kinky hair texture. And so that's how I said about looking for my donor. I ended up getting a donor that was in the African diaspora That's had tightly curled Hair, which I knew combined with my hair, would give me a child. Who's hair could be corn rowed because then it wasn't important to me and my heritage here in this country. Now I will tell you that even as meticulous as I was in choosing my donor. I still was not sure. The little person I was going to meet on the other side of those 40 weeks was going to be a complete and total surprise. My children look like they fit in my family and I feel that I am able to ground them in my culture [00:20:00] without having their racial identities questioned And that was important for me as a Single Mother by Choice, because there are some challenges that come with this path. I did not want race or race questioning to be a challenge that came with it. You know, going into it that you're going to love your child regardless of what your child looks like. But it was also really satisfying to know that I made the best choices with what I had, and I got some pretty. cool Children out of it. So that was my approach to finding a donor. I've identified some criteria that might be important to you to research as you began your donor journey. And that's it. So, if you got anything out of this video, if it was helpful, To you please comment down below. What parts of the video was helpful to you? Subscribe to my channel follow [00:21:00] starttofinishmotherhood on social media. And I look forward to talking with you again in the future

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