Tagged choosing a donor

How I Learned to Want to be a Mom

From the editors:  Jennifer DiGrazia describes how her perspective on motherhood shifts when she meets her partner Jamie, who is already a mom. 

Despite being a “girly-girl,” I didn’t really want children.  My dad had two more children with my step-mom when I was a teen, and I knew that they altered life.  I have memories of family vacations in a mini-van packed to the rims with the six of us, our luggage and baby paraphernalia.  The Huggies smooshed up against the back window were the ultimate embarrassment, and I hated the space taken up by strollers and car-seats and the stench of spilt formula.  I liked my half-siblings, but I quickly learned that kids required enormous amounts of work.  They totally messed up life with their constant needs.

When I was in my late twenties, finishing up my Ph.D. and starting my first real job, I married Jamie, my partner; she shared custody of her son with her ex-partner.   I first met Jacob when he was 5.  He had sparkling blue eyes, liked to brush my hair, and sat on my kitchen counter to get away from Scully, my 75-pound lab mix.  He was easy to love.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, being married to someone with a child was lonely.  Jamie and Jacob “got” each other.  We might be at a crowded park, and they would meet one another’s eyes.  Jamie would tell me it was time to go.  She just knew what he needed. Observing them made me nostalgic for something—a connection, a sense of belonging—that I had missed.  In my early thirties, I began to look longingly at women who were breastfeeding, bundles nestled into their chests, the abandon with which their babies collapsed into their bodies.

I tried to fight this urge.  I was busy starting a new career.  I thought I should feel grateful that I had never gotten pregnant during my tumultuous teens and twenties. Besides, many friends and family members didn’t exactly embrace my growing desire to have a child, and they were quick to remind me of how much I had—my partner, my pets, my step-son, a steady job in an uncertain economy. I also have major depression, which was finally controlled with with a balance of drugs, exercise and diet.  I knew all the arguments against having a child–overpopulation, the need for baby supplies and sitters, the hormonal imbalance.

But, something had shifted dramatically in my own emotional landscape.  Part of the attraction of being pregnant was that I couldn’t come first.  Previous exposure to my half-siblings and Jacob became reasons for wanting kids.  I knew, better than most, that a baby would have to come first.

There was precedent. Jamie’s partner had birthed Jacob.  When we finally agreed that we would try to get pregnant, Jamie knew how to fill out the forms and pick the “criteria” for a donor at the cryobank.  I didn’t care how we chose, so we matched some of Jamie’s characteristics: white, Jewish, and educated, with the pool of donors.  The website also gave the donors’ reasons for participating at the cryobank–some even sent a note to the prospective couple.  We read those narratives avidly, narrowed our options to three.  The first was no longer available, so we went with the second.

We got pregnant at home on the second try. I was thirty four, and I had an easy pregnancy, and nine months later, after a difficult birth, our son, Jordan, was born.

Jordan breastfed until he was over two, and I enjoyed the pressure of his sucking mouth and warm body against my breast.  I felt anchored.  My world became really small, focused on deciphering the mysteries behind his rich brown eyes and reveling in his curiosity about the world.  He said “Mama” when he was really young.  However, he rarely slept, never crawled, and at 5 months old, when he didn’t gain the requisite weight, he was given a failure to thrive diagnosis, the first of many diagnoses.

Everyone wants to know how lesbians get pregnant and these stories are interesting, important, and complicated, but of course, they don’t end there. When conception is complicated it’s easy to get caught up and lose sight of what is infinitely more important: babies become people, and sometimes they become people who don’t conform to or fit neurological, social or educational developmental expectations.

Jordan is now 8 years old, and he has a dual diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  He is the most precious–and complicated–person in my life.

Jordan is an enigma—a wonderful, difficult enigma.  When he is melting down because he can’t have computer time and he can’t regulate his emotions, when he is spewing invectives at me or anyone who challenges him, or when the special needs bus comes to collect him each morning at 7:00, Jamie will sometimes tease me, “You spawned that!”  He is incredibly perceptive, asking, in almost the same breath, details about the Greek god Poseidon when we read the latest Rick Riordan novel, and, “Does everyone have something like I do?”

Parenting Jordan leaves me feeling not only needed but overextended.  We endlessly consider medications, doctors and diagnoses. We read articles, consult experts and work to manage his behavior–while trying to maintain a semblance of childhood for him and life for ourselves.

Despite the exhaustion, I love being one of Jordan’s parents.  I love the sparkle in his brown eyes, the mischief in his giggle, the softness of his wavy brown hair, his boundless curiosity on good days.  As we continuously help him negotiate his way in a world intolerant of mental illness and anything that challenges the norm, I see him in increasingly complex ways.  Even taking into account our time at the hospitals, our experiences in schools, the continuous monitoring he requires, when I hear my friends and colleagues describe their own parenting trials, I realize that our struggles are the struggles of all parents who want to raise good people–just amplified.  Daily, he reminds me  what I had hoped to learn: it isn’t really about me. I am so grateful for that.

jen digraziaJennifer DiGrazia grew up in Nevada and now lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with her partner Jamie, her son Jordan, two dogs and three cats.  She teaches writing at Westfield State University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s a Boy!: An Interview with Katy, Part 3


This is the third interview in a series with Katy, a 42 year-old creative director who at 35 decided to freeze her eggs and at 42 decided to go ahead with a donor. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. This interview reveals Katy’s good news!

MS: Last I talked to you, you were about to find out if you were pregnant, are you?

Katy: Yes! And it’s a boy!

MS: How do you feel about being pregnant?

Katy: I’m excited. When I first found out I was pregnant I was so stunned, grateful and excited. I felt so lucky that I got pregnant on the first try. Granted I went through IVF and had acupuncture treatments which greatly increases the odds… but still I felt incredibly lucky. It made me feel like I chose the right path.

I also felt terrified at times too, particularly in the first trimester… it was hard to let go of the safety of my single, child-free life as I have known it. It’s a major life change into the unknown and it made me feel uneasy and vulnerable at times. But reading books about parenting has helped me become more confident, which then makes me excited. Plus, when I’m around kids they fuel my excitement and then I feel like “I’ve got this.”

As far as how pregnancy feels in my body, I really enjoy feeling him kick, seeing the ultrasounds, the porn-star breasts and eating all the time… then there are other sensations and bodily changes that come along with pregnancy that aren’t so pleasant. But when I read about what’s happening each week in the baby’s development, it always amazes me and I’m reminded of what a gift it is to be pregnant.

MS: What are you excited about? What are you nervous about?

Katy: I’m excited to meet him and get to know him. I’m excited that this chapter of my life is starting: motherhood. I’m excited that I’m not on the sidelines anymore just watching others fulfill their dreams; I’m now jumping in and fulfilling my own dreams. But there are also so many unknowns that get me nervous. Will he be healthy? Will we bond? What kind of a monster will I turn into when I am sleep deprived? Will I have postpartum depression? Will he resent me because he doesn’t have a father?

MS: Before you were worried about finances and not meeting someone — what are your primary concerns now?

Katy: I’m still worried about those things, but I have focused less on when I’m going to find my partner. I think my larger concerns right now are how am I going to pull this off and still maintain my sanity… being a full time mom, working full time and getting enough sleep. I’m going to need help, so I’m sorting out where I will get this help from.

MS: You spent a good deal of time deliberating over this decision. Now that you are pregnant, how do you feel when you look back over those deliberations?

Katy: This was a major decision and I needed time to process it. But I wish I had started this process sooner. Sometimes I feel ambitious and think “maybe I’ll have another child” since I have more embryos, but my age may be an issue (I’m 42 now). It would have been nice if I was a few years younger, so I could have more flexibility with that decision in the coming years.

MS: Do people assume you have a partner or ask stupid questions about how you conceived?

Katy: Thankfully no. Maybe they assume that I got knocked up unexpectedly. But no one has asked me anything about my “husband” or how I got pregnant. When I tell people that I used a donor, they always respond with excitement and curiosity. They want to know all about the whole process. This has been a nice surprise. I spent too much time caring about people’s reactions before I got pregnant.

MS: Do you have any advice for someone considering freezing their eggs? Using a donor? Choosing to be a choice mom?

Katy: Freezing eggs: this is a no brainer for me, as you have nothing to lose… provided you can financially afford it. Just know that it can be hard on your body, and some people react strongly to the hormones.

Using a donor and deciding to become a single mom by choice: this is clearly a larger decision to make, and it needs some thoughtful consideration. There is no wrong or right decision here; it’s more about what choices can you live with. Do your research, check out Single Moms By Choice , read up on donor-conceived children , check out sperm banks (cryobanks) to learn about donors, read up on adoption processes, talk with women who have adopted, women who have used a donor and women who have decided not to have a child on their own…. decide which route is best for you. If you are considering a donor you know, meet with a lawyer to get the facts. And sometimes your finances or your health might dictate which route is best for you. The point is, there is a lot to consider… and you want to feel good about your choice. So research is key. Good luck!

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“Baby now, partner later. Not one or the other.” Interview with Katy, Part II

This is the second interview in a series with Katy, a 42 year-old creative director who at 35 decided to freeze her eggs. Read Part 1 here. This interview focuses on her desire for a relationship and her fear of being a single mother with a baby will prevent her from finding a partner.

MS: Did freezing your eggs make dating easier? Was it a kind of an insurance policy?   

Katy: I think it did help for a while, but I always had in the back of my mind that I might not have enough frozen eggs to get pregnant with, since the doctors said I might just get one embryo from my frozen eggs. I was always thinking about it. But I thought at least I have a backup plan and if that doesn’t work, I’ll adopt. I accepted the fact that I might have just one chance with my frozen eggs, but it didn’t allow me to totally relax. I was really surprised when it came time to fertilize my eggs that I actually got six embryos out of seven eggs. That was an amazing return!

MS: Congratulations!

Katy: Thank you. That was absolutely astounding!

MS: What concerns do you have about doing this by yourself?

Katy: Oh my god. I have a long list.

I worry about not having enough help, not being able to get enough breaks and being sleep deprived on top of that.

I’m worried about finances. I wonder about, what if I want to change my career in the future? Would I be locked into a certain financial bracket that limits my career options?

I’m also very worried about how I’m going to meet someone to partner up with and finding the time and energy to date. How do you balance that? Divorced parents have every other weekend where they can spend a whole weekend with their significant other, and I’m not going to have that and that really, really concerns me. That’s my number one concern with this decision. It’s very important to me that I find my life partner. Some women who choose to be single moms by choice are choosing to have a baby over a partner. For me, I’m not giving up on having a partner in order to have a baby. I want both. I can have both. I deserve both.

But I only have this time now to have a baby. For me, it’s baby now, partner later. Not one or the other. But how much later is that? And how many quality single guys are going to be out there?

The idea of never finding a partner really scares me for the loneliness factor. I think a baby will fill a portion of that need, but certainly a baby won’t replace my need for a partner. I want to have a family unit, beyond me and my child. It bothers me that I don’t have that. At least right now I don’t. I know there are advantages to doing this as a single parent. I don’t have to argue with anyone. I don’t have to worry about getting a divorce and fighting for custody. But I really had hoped that I was going to be doing this with a partner which is why I waited so long. It was really, really hard for me to let go of the dream. I don’t know that I have let go of it completely. I’m just re-imaging a different kind of family dream now.

Now that I’m actively trying to get pregnant I don’t want to meet someone because I don’t want them to stop me from having a baby. Even though I’m lonely and I want the company, I know myself. I know I can get all starry eyed on one date, and I don’t want another guy to make me postpone this anymore. Say this IVF cycle doesn’t work, and I have to go through it again, I don’t want this guy to cause me to postpone that next cycle. It’s just emotionally confusing to date while trying to get pregnant with donor sperm.

MS: You have a no dating policy right now?

Well, if a reliable source were to set me up I’d go on a date, but I’m not looking. I feel like I’ve had several relationships that have held me up from having a baby, and I don’t want to make that mistake again.

For a while there, I wondered would I enjoy a child as much as I would if I were in a relationship. I worried I wouldn’t feel as much joy. I know the source of this worry was because I was feeling lonely and a little depressed and it was hard for me to imagine feeling that joy.

I don’t feel that way now. Once they thawed my eggs, fertilized them, and I got such an amazing return (six out of seven fertilized), there was something that shifted in me. I felt like this isn’t just good luck. It made me feel like I chose the right path. Maybe that’s naive, but I can’t help but feel like I made the right choice.

MS: Have you been telling people that you are going through this process and what are the reactions?

Katy:   I have told way too many people! I know they say not to tell people in case you have a miscarriage, but I needed a support network. I told a lot of people: neighbors, friends, some extended family, of course all of my immediate family. Everyone was so supportive, even the people who I was worried wouldn’t be supportive.

Another big concern I have is that my child won’t have a dad.  I worry about my child resenting me for bringing them into the world without a father. I have felt guilty about this but I think I’ve gotten past my guilt for the most part. It’s something I wished for my child, but that’s not happening now.

When I told a male coworker that my child would have three uncles as male role models, he said, “I’m glad to hear you say that,” because he wonders if women who pursue motherhood using a donor feel like a dad isn’t necessary. Maybe there are women who feel that way, but personally I had an awesome dad. I’m so grateful for that, and I’m sad that my child won’t have that relationship. My Dad was just amazing. By no means do I feel like a dad isn’t important. It’s just there isn’t one in the picture.

Having three uncles for my child makes me more comfortable. If my child ever got upset with me I would tell them I couldn’t imagine life without them, and I had to do it even though it wasn’t the perfect family unit.

MS: So you find out in two days whether or not you are pregnant. How does that feel?

Katy: It’s super exciting. I’m very excited. It’s crazy to think how this news will change my life. I found myself last night for the first time starting to think… what steps are next?, assuming that I find out I am pregnant. Then that thought induced some anxiety… the overwhelmingness of it all. There are things I need to work out, such as my job situation. I don’t have a full-time, salaried job, I have full-time contract work. I plan to work up until maternity leave, but I don’t know if I have a guaranteed job to come back to. I would like to stay in my house but I might need my mom’s help, and my house is too small for her to stay with me. So should I move in with her temporarily and rent out my house? These are things that give me anxiety.

MS: At every step this process was more complicated than you expected, more painful physically and emotionally than you expected. You are 42 now, what would you tell your 34 year self to do?

Katy: I would tell myself to do exactly what I did: harvest the eggs. I think I made a good call not to harvest more because it was hard on my body, but I would have told myself to start this process earlier. I would have told myself to research single parenting and donors even before I was ready to dive in. Just research the details of the whole process, mull it over at my leisure without feeling like I had to rush and process things at the same time. Not every woman feels the need to process emotions like I did. A lot of women jump right into it and have no problem so that was something that took me by surprise.

MS: You know a lot of women who are doing this. Do you think that made it easier for you to do it?

Katy: Yes, I have a close friend who did this, so luckily I got to witness her entire process years before I embarked upon my own. Also I reached out to the community of Single Mothers By Choice, but after I was deep into the fertility process. I had two previous IVF attempts and canceled them both because I had doubts. It would have been helpful to have known this group of women before I jumped in. Reaching out to this group helped quite a bit because everyone had different experiences to share, and it became less lonely to me to have a child as a single mom. It felt empowering in a way, like there’s a movement. All of these women are so brave and so vulnerable, they were so afraid and just did it anyway. It was really encouraging to hear a lot of them say, “Oh, I completely doubted myself. I wasn’t sure but I did it anyways.” They were there for every step of the way. Of course, once I started telling people that I was doing this, they started connecting me with other women they knew who had become single moms by choice.

MS: So, on Wednesday you find out if you are pregnant?

Katy: Yes, I go in for blood work and they will call me later to tell me the news. I want your readers to know that I was not sure about my decision before moving forward, but it was something I kept coming back to: I just have to do this or I’ll regret it if I don’t.

MS: What pushed you to just go for it?

Katy: In the spring, I considered not doing it but something kept bringing me back, and I would think, there’s no way I’m not doing this. But I couldn’t retain that “sure” feeling all the time. I was still really nervous. I would have days when I was gung ho and days when I didn’t know what I was doing. I averaged a freak out a week. At one point I just made the call to go for it, despite the fear and doubts.

I know this sounds strange, but once I made the call to thaw and fertilize my eggs with donor sperm, I kind of surrendered.

The whole thing is nerve wracking. Something I think that’s been helpful is reaching out to people often and regularly. Talking to people about what I’m going through has been helpful.

MS: Can we talk to you again after you find out if you are pregnant?

Katy: Yes!

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Choosing a Donor: An Interview with Katy, Part I.

Katy, a creative director from Atlanta, froze her eggs at 35 and started reviewing sperm donors at 41. At 42, after agonizing over the decision for a few years she decided she was ready to become a single mother by choice. Katy has agreed to be interviewed throughout this process.

MS: Was 35 the magic number for you?

Katy: Yes, because the doctors all said that 35 is the year when your fertility drops off significantly.

MS: Why did you decide to freeze them?  

Katy: I read a magazine article about egg freezing in my early thirties, and it stuck in my head. I don’t even know why I was thinking about that at the time. I knew I wanted kids, but I wasn’t worried about it happening. I was having fun and wasn’t in a hurry to become a parent. I remember around 34 my biological clock kicked in like a switch. The term really makes sense to me now. So, at 35 when my relationship didn’t work out I decided, okay, I’m going to freeze my eggs and buy some time. So I researched different fertility clinics in Atlanta and found the best one and went for it. Luckily my insurance at the time covered one round completely.

My doctors recommended doing more than one round because I didn’t have enough eggs. They collected eight eggs and one didn’t make it, and they said you need six to have one good embryo, and often it takes multiple attempts to get pregnant. They were hoping I would have 18 eggs. So I tried a second round and my body didn’t respond at all, which was worrying, so they told me to take a break and try again in six months.

I didn’t want to do it again. It’s really hard on your body. You have to take daily hormone injections that stimulate your follicles to be able to drop multiple eggs. I remember having to go to the doctor’s office every other day to check my hormone levels. Once they see you are at a certain level, they give you a trigger shot that tells your body to release all the eggs at one time. It takes about 36 hours for that to happen, so 36 hours later you are in the operating room, and they are scooping up the eggs. You go under general anesthesia, they go through your cervix with an instrument like a straw that scoops them up. You are crampy for a day. That wasn’t a big deal, but I definitely noticed that after I got off the drugs I had withdrawal symptoms and was very teary and emotional for months, which was why I didn’t do it again.

MS: Did you have reservations about freezing eggs in first place?

Katy: I didn’t. It was covered financially. I would have a backup fertility plan. I didn’t have to commit to anything at that point in time. It seemed like a win-win.

MS: When did you decide you wanted to go ahead with fertilizing your frozen eggs?  

Katy: It happened in stages.

I was dating this guy when I was 39 and he didn’t want kids, but I was hoping he would change his mind, and he was hoping I would change mine but neither one of us budged. We broke up because of this. That was the spring before I turned 40.  At that point I decided to go ahead and have a baby on my own.  Meanwhile I had not researched what was involved.  I didn’t know about the Pandora’s box of the donor realm. I thought, I will just buy some sperm and that’ll be it. I totally underestimated that.

That spring I had an exam to ensure my uterus was in good shape for conception and low and behold I had a polyp on my uterus, so I had to have it removed surgically because it would prevent an embryo from implanting.

Around that time, I went under contract on a house. Then I lost my job at the same time and found myself with a new house and no full-time job, so I wasn’t wanting to jump on the baby thing right away, and I didn’t want to give up the idea of having a baby with someone I love. So, I decided to date online for six months and see if I met anyone and if not, then I’d do it. It felt lonely, the idea of having a baby alone.

So when I started dating a new guy in the winter, I told myself I won’t think about the baby thing for a while. He said in the beginning that he wanted another kid (he already had a daughter), so I relaxed.

Fast forward several months, I turned 41 and really start feeling the pinch. So I ended up having a conversation with my boyfriend in September where I told him that I was feeling that biological clock pressure, yet I didn’t feel like we were at a point where we could make a commitment to each other. He agreed. He also told me at this point, “I’m not ready to have another kid.” Then he said, “Why don’t you just go ahead and have a baby using donor sperm since you were considering it before you met me. Then we can continue dating and see if things are right between us and if they are I can become the step-father of your child, if not we’ll go our separate ways.”

For some reason, that made sense to me at the time. It was like a green light to get pregnant!  It was comforting to be in a relationship and move forward with having a baby, rather than doing it entirely on my own. I just dove forward, I was over the moon excited about it. It was the first time, where I felt this real desire to go for it. Of course, I had his companionship all the time, so I didn’t feel lonely, but shortly after that conversation we started growing apart and ended up splitting up.

MS: How did you choose a donor?

Katy: I had a lot of trouble selecting a donor. I didn’t realize there was so much involved. It was not as simple as I expected.

There are known and unknown donors. Known is just how it sounds. You’ve met the donor, he could be your best friend or introduced to you through someone you know. One day someone suggested to me, “You always speak highly of your male friends, would one of them be willing to be a donor?” At first I thought absolutely not, but then I started thinking about it and became interested in the idea. On one hand, I could imagine a harmonious parenting scenario, but I knew they didn’t want kids. I decided not to ask them, just to process it. Then I met with a lawyer about the ramifications of using a known donor. She said if you have a child with a known donor and that child never sees the donor until adulthood, you can be pretty much be guaranteed that the donor can’t claim custody of your child. Also this route is very expensive, you have to go to court several times to tidy up paperwork. But if the donor sees your child, it opens the door for the donor to get custody of your child. As much as I would like to believe that would never happen with my friends, everyone I talked to had stories about harmonious situations like this, until the donor becomes really interested all of a sudden, wants custody of the child and it becomes a mess. I thought, oh my god, that sounds like a bad idea. So in the end I never talked to my friends about it, I went forward with an unknown donor. I feel good about my choice.

An unknown donor is through a cryobank. The benefits of an unknown donor are that they are pre-screened for HIV/STD’s, their entire family medical history, genetic diseases… information you might never know about your spouse. They have profiles set up, which is a lot like online dating, they list information such as their eye and hair color, height, weight, race, blood type, interests, occupation, education, social tendencies, family dynamics, etc. You can listen to an interview where they answer pointed questions about themselves, and most of them provide pictures. The information you get is pretty detailed. And, you know with an unknown donor that your child is legally yours. There’s no threat of the donor claiming custody of your child.

There are anonymous unknown donors and “willing to be known” unknown donors. Anonymous means your child will never meet or be able to make contact with the donor. Willing to be known means when your child is 18 the cryobank will set up an arrangement between your child and the donor. It can be a personal meeting, a phone call, or an email depending on the donor’s choice. They guarantee one meeting and then it’s up to your child and the donor beyond that. That was without a doubt a “must have” for me. I think it’s so important for my child to have contact with the donor. Of course, children are going to be curious about the biological father who’s not in their life, especially in their teenage years, and I want to grant my child the right to contact him. This led me to look for a compassionate donor. I was really looking for clues into his character. I wanted some assurance that he’s not going to bail out years down the road and go MIA.

MS: What concerns did you have about using a sperm donor?

Katy: I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to accept emotionally. For a while there I was having an issue with the whole idea of a stranger’s sperm mixed with my own eggs and inserted into my body. I would be having a baby with someone I’ve never met!

That was really hard to accept. I changed my donor twice. I kept having little issues with the first two donors. It seemed like nitpicky stuff, but I think part of it was my process of getting comfortable with using a donor.  The first time I selected a donor, I was not ready yet. I started my IVF cycle before I had even picked out a donor, which is not a good idea. I didn’t realize how much there was to process emotionally. Ultimately I had to accept my circumstances. Okay, I thought, these are my choices: I can use a sperm donor, I can adopt or take my chances that a relationship will work out where we have children together. I finally reached a point where I felt like I not only needed to move on it but I was ready to.

I learned over time that I had to reframe how I thought of this donor, so that I could feel comfortable with it because I knew in my heart it was important to me to have a genetic child. If I couldn’t have a genetic child I would happily adopt or foster, but I had those frozen eggs waiting for me giving me the chance for a genetic child.

I was also focused on finding a cryobank with a low family limit. When you use a donor through a cryobank they have limits on how many families they sell one donor’s sperm to. The average U.S. limit is 25 families which could easily mean 50 kids per donor, sometimes more. And there’s no great monitoring system in the U.S. The scary part about using an unknown donor is not knowing how many half siblings exist and wanting to make sure your child won’t become romantically involved with a half sibling one day.

There is a network called the Donor Sibling Registry. They set up an international registry for donor-conceived kids to connect with other kids conceived by the same donor. The parents can find out about any genetic health problems other half siblings may have. It’s also a good way to see how many other half siblings are out there and where they live. A lot of these extended families are getting together and having their own family reunions. When I was first reading about this, I was thinking, there’s something kind of cool about this… these extended families.

MS: What characteristics did you look for in selecting a donor?

Katy: Someone who has a clean medical record, no history of cancer in his family, is well educated, seems like a warm-hearted good person, has a similar ancestral background to mine and is attractive. And these are all qualities that my current donor has.

The first donor I picked out looked like my ex-boyfriend, and initially I liked that. But I ultimately became worried about looking at my child and seeing my ex-boyfriend in his face, so that was one reason I changed to a new donor.

Ideally, I wanted someone who was not just doing this for the money but also wanted to help people conceive. Of course, money is what drives someone to do this so that was hard to find. These guys are mostly college students, my guy was a law school student. He was an accountant preparing for the bar when he donated.

His spirit was the thing that made him stand out against the others. He sounded like someone I would naturally be attracted to.

He was also compassionate. He spent a summer in Costa Rica saving sea turtle eggs. I got to witness sea turtles laying eggs when I was in Costa Rica, and it’s really magical. There’s this whole thing about sea turtles returning to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs. My point is something that seemed magical to me was important to him, so that drew me to him.

I was left with a good feeling about him, I stopped questioning what I was doing and felt comfortable using his donated sperm.