On Choosing a Donor

I imagined that picking a donor would take weeks, if not months. It would consist of numerous long profiles and photos spread out all over the walls throwing darts to pick the lucky winner, analyzing upon analyzing upon analyzing like only lesbians can do, long conversations on the front porch imagining how my DNA would mix with the donor’s and what our kiddos would like. Have you ever seen those programs where you put upload pictures of two people and see what their kid would look like? Basically everyone is having alien children according to them. It’s not cute, EVER. They look like babies with adult features. Just. Plain. Creepy. Needless to say, we didn’t try that in our quest for the perfect donor. Okay now I am somewhat tempted, just for a good chuckle and a creepy photo for the babybook.


Well it’s certainly not as creepy as the one’s, J and I played around with when we first started talking about having a baby, but I didn’t upload the creepy ones.

My assumptions about picking a donor:

  1. It would take a while to pick a bank or a few banks from which we would find our donor
  2. It would take 500 times as long to pick a donor
  3. We would spend countless hours analyzing donor profiles, pictures, audio/video clips, cutting down our list by one or two a day for weeks on end.

One day we were driving in the car and talking about picking a donor. J said something to me like “Let’s not over analyze this. We both have the potential to become really neurotic about this decision” So true.

Here is how it really went down:

We started with a list of lesbian friendly banks from It’s Conceivable (such a lovely resource for us queer folk). We went through each and every bank, with a spreadsheet to identify costs and available services and features of course. J cut out quite a few right off the bat because their websites were outdated and had little or no search functions, priorities people. And then there were 8. With prices and services nearly identical, we went with our social justice roots: non-profit, lesbian owned and/or smaller family limits. The non-profit had a big fat ZERO donors whose physical characteristics matched what we were looking for but didn’t have a history of migraines in their immediate family. This might seem like a strange requirement, but I have had chronic migraines since I was 14, which is over half my life now. What a terrible realization. Needless to say, I would give up my right big toe to never have a migraine again and will also give up my #1 bank choice to have less of a chance of passing them onto our child. And then there was 1. Phew that choice was taken care of.

Before we actually started the search we talked quite a bit about what we wanted in a donor. Channing Tatum, er I mean smart, athletic, creative, interesting, a good person, hazel or green eyes, blonde or light brown hair, tan skin. I believe there is a good balance between nature and nurture. I wish I could say it was all nurture, but I can’t. Nature has a lot to do with who we are. I am my father’s daughter, not just inthat I like to do the things I did with him growing up or value the things he taught me to value, but in our mannerisms, sense of humor, social awkwardness, emotional responses and expressiveness, and the list goes on. These aren’t things I learned from him, they are just in my DNA.

Originally our plan was for me to carry the first baby and we would use a donor that resembled J physically. Then, J would carry the second baby and we’d use a donor that resembled me. We’ve recently changed our thinking on this, but that’s a whole different post. Because I will be carrying the baby and using my eggs, I wanted J to “pick” the donor. Of course we would do it together, but I felt that she should be able to say what she wanted to pinch hit for her to make our baby. We came up with a list and started the search. It really is such an odd experience. It’s like online dating, but with the emotional weight of choosing your baby’s DNA. That’s the best description I’ve got for now. I’ll work on something more eloquent as it processes.

We really wanted at least a baby or child aged photo of the donor. Going from planning on using a known donor to a willing to be known donor and putting all of our trust into the bank and the donor was really hard for me. I wanted something else to help me feel less anxiety about using a bank and a donor we’ve never met. While we were both at work J sent me a bunch of profiles of donors she thought sounded most like her. How can employers expect people to work when they have such big decisions looming? I looked at them and felt extremely overwhelmed, but found one we both liked. J wanted to buy the picture right then (I’m realizing what an impulsive decision maker she is) but I talked her into waiting until we got home from work to do it together, cause I’m a romantic like that. We, okay I, decided that we should go through ALL the donors that had adult photos or videos available. J came along kicking and screaming about what a waste of time it was. It was a short list folks, promise. We made a list of the ones we liked and started buying photos. It’s just so easy when it’s done with the click of a button…and then before you know it you’ve spent over $100. The second picture was Socrates. J was sold.  We bought the long profile. He was good looking, seemed interesting, smart, artistic, athletic and honest. One of the things I really appreciated was that on the section about toxins he included riding his bike in the city and 1 breath of pesticides in 2003. I like honesty and figured if he was going to include that stuff we didn’t need to worry about the accuracy of other things like medical history.

J said he was the one, but being the noncommittal person that I am, wanted to look at all their pictures. Silly, silly decision. Lesson learned: trust your wife when she says what she wants. I’ve got to tell you I’m glad we went with donors with adult photos. I don’t want to come across as shallow because I am certainly not, but I think my wife and I are good looking women. I wanted a good looking donor too, and all but one and a half of those donors were just not attractive, at all. Maybe it doesn’t help that I’m not attracted to men, but I was honestly a little surprised. Maybe the bank that does celebrity look-a-likes made my brain think that all donors are gorgeous, celebrity look-a-like men. Haha, don’t believe it kids. There are some interesting looking donors out there.

After we looked at all these guys and gave them names like long beard weird eyes, I followed J’s lead and we went ahead with Socrates. I asked her about 100 times if she was sure this was the donor she wanted and she was, more sure than I’ve seen her be about most things. So there you have it. I hope Socrates works out because I don’t want to do that again and I’ve grown quite attached to him.

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One thought on “On Choosing a Donor

  1. lezbmoms says:

    This was certainly one of the most difficult decisions we have made thus far. Well, beside 1-deciding to actually have children and 2) deciding to raise them in Utah (for now). I have to say that I’m crazy about our donor. I guess you have to be right!? He will be the other half of our child!!! Only a a week or so until insemination day! EEEE! Love you and love your blog. 🙂

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