My wife and I always knew that we wanted to start a family together, and it was inevitable that we would need assistance of some sort. Even if we opted for the simplest method of conception, at the very least we would require the help of a sperm donor.
In 2013, we found ourselves ready to choose our donor. In some ways the decisions felt monumental. We were going to choose a man who would hopefully become half of our child’s genetic composition, and part of their history.
It may sound shallow, but we had already decided that we wanted a donor who had similar colouring to us, so that our child would at least resemble the mother who was not genetically related. When we looked into the information available on each donor, we were overwhelmed by how much we could learn about each man. From personality to education level, and family medical history to career, we looked at the profiles and tried to think about what was important to us. In the end, we were surprised by the things that no longer felt as important as we’d first thought (high intelligence, for example). The more we searched, the more we wondered about whether it would be nature or nurture that was of greater importance in shaping who our child might be. We concluded that nurture was probably the fundamental factor.
We were lucky to conceive two children who were born within three years of each other. When they arrived, we were overwhelmed with love for them both and the family that we had created. The gratitude that I felt towards our donors for their selfless generosity was almost indescribable. I feel beyond fortunate that we now have our two beautiful girls, and will be forever grateful to the men who made it possible.
We have been given the most amazing gifts in our two daughters, and watching them grow and change every day is a journey of discovery for us all. When I look at them both I see daughters who somehow resemble us both, and who will grow from babies to children to young women. There will always be a mostly unspoken feeling of immense gratitude to the donors who gave us the greatest gifts we have ever received.
As the girls grow up, the presence of the donors in the background of our lives will become more obvious. Not in a physical sense, but as they grow no doubt there will be questions about their own histories and how we came to be a family. We will have conversations about their donors and how we chose them. The girls will also know that they can contact their donors when they reach 18, if they want to. We have made a memory box for each of them which they can look at whenever they want to, with information and pictures to prompt and aid conversations later on. We have heard of children who become very upset on learning that they are donor conceived, and we hope that our girls are able to accept the way we chose to create our family. I hope that being honest with them from a young age will help with this. Certainly we are doing everything in our power to provide them with the most wonderful upbringing, in a family full of happiness, laughter and love. We will forever be connected to the men who helped us create our dreams.