Big one! I think I’ll start with the things that were very important to us in our search:
Donor is near in age to Mamas. As an older mom (had Monkey at 39), I didn’t want some early-20s guy as the donor. It was important to me for a couple of reasons. One that the donor was old enough to make the decision thinking about the future. Two, if we ever do meet him, I think I’d be uncomfortable if he were 20 years younger than me.
Open ID. While we would both be fine never meeting Donor, we felt like it was ultimately not our decision to make. We have no idea what it is like to be a donor baby, nor how our son as an individual will feel about it. We felt we’d rather err on the side of choice. We will not encourage Monkey to find the donor (nor discourage him from it), but if he decides it’s important to him, we will have kept that option open for him.
On this note, we have no plans to seek out donor siblings. We are not members of the DSR, nor do we plan to become members. Sharing a common donor does not equate family in our minds. Again, should Monkey become interested as he gets older, we will do what he feels he needs to do. I plan on discouraging finding donor siblings, though. I am not interested in connecting with total strangers. In my mind, the donor and any donor siblings are very different. I’m not sure I can articulate why, they just are. I also think the idea of letting in one stranger (the donor) isn’t as intrusive as letting in multiple strangers (siblings, their parents).
Also, we (and I mean that in the collective we) have no idea how many donor siblings might be out there. Sure the banks have caps on the number of families/babies born, but this relies on families keeping the bank notified of births. I personally know a family that didn’t notify the bank after they had their daughter (no, I don’t understand it). If there are many MANY siblings out there, will that be harmful to Monkey’s psyche?
I’ve also heard from a mom in another two mom family I know how shocking and alarming it was (their words) to see how alike the kids looked. Attributes they thought were coming from their side of the family? Not so much. This wouldn’t keep me from doing it if I were interested, but it was just another thing to add to the pile of reasons we aren’t seeking out donor siblings.
Thing (yes, one thing) that became important in our search:
- Once we found a bank that offered adult photos, it was just over for us. The donor we chose was seriously perfect in all ways (born in 74, open ID, artistic) but especially in terms of looks. He looked like he could be a member of either of our families. He was also pretty cute (hey, it doesn’t hurt) and just looked like a nice guy. I felt like I made a connection that I never could looking at baby photos. (Let me also say that I’m absolutely positive that if we had gone with another bank that only offered baby pics, Monkey would still be absolutely perfect.)
In terms of sharing donor-related information with Monkey, we are going with the early and often approach. We made a book on Shutterfly all about our quest to be parents and included the pics we have of the donor. Monkey loves reading the book and we hope that the “I’ve just always known” approach will be a good one. Besides, being a two mom family, he’s going to know pretty quickly that “Daddy” is missing from the equation. We figure let’s just put it all out there and not put the onus on him to come to us with questions that he might feel uncomfortable asking.
Finally, I want to share a couple of links that I’ve found extremely useful in terms of sharing donor information with your child(ren) – these were all courtesy of a BabyCenter member who shared them on that site (thanks, C!):
- Donor Conception: Lots of links to resources around the issue of donor conception. I downloaded a great PDF around talking to your kids about the donor issue, but can’t find it now. Will try to locate and post.
- X, Y, and Me: Books for kids around donor conception, IVF, etc. We basically created our own with this concept 🙂
- Recipes of How Babies Are Made: Kids book about ART and donor conception. I haven’t checked this one out yet, but it looks good.
I am always up for more resources for talking about donor conception, so please share any that you’ve found to be helpful.
Got any questions for me? Feel free to ask in the comments 🙂
Want to read more posts on this fascinating subject? Visit the Blog Carnival site, where you’ll find links to all of the posts.