Part II of a Short Series on Baby Making (Lesbian Couple Version)
As two women trying to have a baby, we instantly had an issue. On the upside, no need for birth control, so no concerns about pumping the body full of artificial hormones 75% of the year or remembering to buy condoms or charting or the old "pull and pray".
On the downside, sperm isn't exactly sold at the corner store.
There's a two major options for donor sperm: known and unknown. Both have a multitude of concerns I couldn't hope to cover in one succinct post, so I'll work through our reasoning. In the beginning we strongly considered a known donor. Using a known donor raises a lot of legal issues regarding second parent adoption and custody. While this may be fine for some, I am wildly uncomfortable with even the tiniest chance of a issue arising after the baby was born (there's always that possibility a well meaning donor may lose the emotional ability to sign away parental rights after the birth). As a result, we investigated means of mitigating these issues. One of the big banks (probably more than one, but we looked into one with a local location) does handle targeted donations from local donors in a way which avoided the issues. In the end, it was a logistical nightmare with requirements for testing and retesting and quarantine, and not at all cheaper than standard donor sperm.
So moving onto unknown donor sperm. Shopping for sperm is sort of like picking out clothes from a department store. There's a variety of lines: economy, standard, and advanced degree (with different names depending on the bank). There's choices for size (height/weight) and color (race, eye, hair). There's feeling of the material (donor essays, interviews). There's also the option for donors who have the option to be contacted by the product of their sperm once they're 18.
In the end, we selected a non-open donor with a similar ethnic background to us, appropriate height and weight, and coloring similar to Princess Charming (since she is lighter than me, and blond and blue eyes are recessive!). At this point, we've been through more than one donor - we aren't emotionally attached to them, though it is hard not to be when you see their little kid pictures and read their essays 191 times.
While it sounds overwhelming, when you narrow down the options you consider MUST HAVES, it is not actually all that difficult. And the actual ordering is quite like ordering a pizza...
Fun Fact: Washed (prepped for IUI - interuterine insemination) sperm is pink.