Tuesday, 20 August 2013

donor issues

We've gotten past the three month mark now and A&P are emerging more and more as people everyday. I feel a bit more confident with them, though still so terrified that I'm doing a terrible job most of the time.

After my last post we decided to extend the storage on our remaining donor straws for another three years. It is hard to imagine the circumstances in which we would even think about trying to have another baby, but still, I felt unable to say goodbye to the chance of a full genetic sibling for A&P if we should change our minds.

When I called the clinic to extend the storage I decided to ask if they would give me information on how many other families had used the same donor. It wasn't entirely off-the-cuff - I had heard of other donor recipients asking for this information and being denied or clinics starting not to give it out so I wanted to ask sooner rather than later.

They told me that the donor had been discontinued because he'd 'reached his quota.' This means 25 families in the US and 27 families internationally (they wouldn't say which countries).

I'm not entirely surprised by this number but it's still a little overwhelming. That probably means at a minimum 50-something children (although I'm not totally clear on whether actually these all result in live births as it sounded that it was kind of unusual that we reported our success to them). And at a maximum, I have no idea? 100? 150? more?

I worry that this is a totally overwhelming number for A&P to take in someday. Though we went with a donor that was UK-compatible (10 families in the UK max) there was no guarantee of limiting the numbers. In a way I suppose there are some upsides - I have thought we would register them on the Donor Sibling Registry at some point and this means that there is even more likelihood of finding genetic half siblings for them (there are already 4 children on there).

But there's a lot that it brings up as well. In the short term, the hardest thing for me has been knowing how to talk to S about it. He's really shut down any time anything about the donor has come up, like when I've asked if he wants to register on the DSR or with the Human Fertilisation and E.mbryology Authority here.

He says he wants to feel more secure in his own relationship to them as their father before he starts thinking about the donor.

On the one hand I get this, I understand that we are just growing into our roles as parents and I certainly don't want to do anything to threaten that. On the other hand I'm sort of surprised about how much the discussion seems to affect him, I sort of thought he was in a more secure place about our decision and it scares/worries me a bit that it is so raw.

I worry that it will remain a hot button issue for him, in such a way that if A&P bring it up he'll react badly in the future. Or that they will subconsciously pick up that it is not okay to talk about it - the absolute LAST thing I want them to feel.

I don't know how to support him to get to a place where bringing it up doesn't have that kind of power over him. I was trying to encourage him to get back to counselling (either going together or on his own) or to connect with two of the men he knows from the Donor Conception Network. He doesn't seem keen to rush out to do either, and I'm left with trying to bide my time a little until he feels more ready.

It was a tough conversation. It is not about me and my timeline but at the same time I'm not sure he'd really get out there and get on with trying to deal with it proactively enough to make me feel like its a safe topic in the meantime.

Am I pushing too hard? Is it ridiculous to even be thinking about these things now? I wish I didn't feel so unsure of it all.


  1. I don't have any advice, but I'm worried about similar issues. My husband has NOA, and while we're waiting to see if his varicocelectomy will result in us finding even one s.perm, we're not hopeful. So I've recently purchased 10 (I call them vials; my husband is Indian, there aren't many Indian donors, so our RE advised that if we find one we like, we should buy them as good Indian donors tend to sell out) of DS for the same reasons you did--total paranoia that this will take a long time and that we want more than one and we want them to be full genetic siblings. In any case, one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with are the siblings. If I had all the money in the world, I probably would have just kept buying all our donor's vials.

    We're about 9 months away from moving forward with anyone's sperm, but I worry all the time about how we'll deal with these same issues. Right now my husband is adamantly against telling anyone anything, which I believe also would include our future children. I'm not OK with that approach, but I have a hard time bringing it up because it's so difficult for him.

    Again, no advice, but I understand your struggles and have similar worries of my own. It's a difficult path, and one that I hope will get easier for your husband (and mine)once he starts to feel more secure in his role as their father.

  2. You're not pushing too hard. If you really want a baby, nothing is too hard in the line of pushing just to get pregnant. Good luck in your journey to motherhood.

  3. Hello from ICLW. I don't have any assvice, but just wanted to send you some support. These are big issues. I think it is important that your husband is fully on board and comfortable with everything before moving forward. But it must be hard to balance what he needs/wants with what you feel might be fairest/most appropriate for your children.
    PS. I have no experience with twins, but things got SO much easier for us with E. at six months, and then again at a year, and then at about 16 months we just hit this golden age that has yet to stop. Hang in there!

  4. This is obviously a really important part of this whole process for you as a family, and I think it's good to give S time and space to think about how he wants to handle these issues. At the same time, communicating about it openly and often is the only way you're both going to end up on the same page. It's tricky, and I hope you find the right balance. I have no advice about how to get there, other than to say do what feels right to you.

  5. We kind of ran into the same issue. Before we had our baby my husband got to a point where he was totally comfortable with talking about the donor and what it means for the future. Then when our daughter was born he started acting differently about discussing this with regards to registering on DSR and whatnot. He said something about it feeling very different now that she was actually here and everything was "real." I guess before it was all in theory and now he's got to process everything again through different eyes. I've been giving him time to do this and haven't brought it up since he said this. I don't know when I should bring it back up, but for now everything seems ok.