It started when my wife and I sat down to seriously discuss the implications of so few black sperm donors in the US. Realistically, we were facing the possibility that our children would have dozens of half-siblings around the country. Why? There are no laws regulating the number of children any one sperm donor can father in the United States or Canada. A governing body, ASRM, recommends a limit of 25 births per 850,000 people, but that’s not mandatory and there is no penalty for failing to abide by that recommendation. Do the math. With the current U.S. population at 311 million, that’s 365.88 children! Even worse, only 40% or fewer of successful pregnancies are actually reported. Even if the sperm bank chooses to use lower limits, the largest banks’ “limits” are 30-40 families. In our BEST case scenario, the donor we choose could also father 30-40 other known children, which would be 40% of his total of 75-100 children. Is it any wonder then that one man was found to have fathered at least 150 children? Even those of you with the hoest of hoes for fathers don’t have 99 half-siblings.
Can you say creepy?
Unlike the US, European countries are much more stingy with their sperm. Spain, for example, only allows 6 births per donor. Ok, now that’s more like it. Hell, the child I had heterosexually has 2 half-siblings from his hoe of a daddy. Five is right on par with reality. So, we’ll just monitor my ovulation over the next 6 months, plan a trip to Spain, inseminate there with a nice Morrocan donor, pray for luck, and….
*Insert reality check*
Am I serious? Am I really considering flying across an ocean for some sperm?
How many times have I ranted and raved about the little brown babies left to languish here in US foster homes while adoptive parents flock to foreign nations for their children? What’s so different about this situation? My wife and I want to expand our family. We can’t do that naturally. Adoption, in the US, is the answer, right?
After putting on my big girl pants, I can answer yes. But it took me a few days to get there. See, I didn’t have a fairy tale first pregnancy. In fact, it was more like a mental nightmare. No hugging and kissing for joy when I found out. No sharing of the happy news with family and friends. No baby shower with silly games and adorable gifts. My growing belly was not admired in person or on Facebook. And that makes me sad. I see the joy that so many of my friends have experienced and I am so genuinely envious. I want the chance to glow and be proud, not cower with worry and anxiety. I just wanted another chance to do it right.
But no one is promised a second chance at anything. Hell, we’re not promised a first chance. At the end of the day, my pregnancy, as sad as it was, resulted in the most amazing son I could have ever hoped for. I am confident that with my wife’s help, we will raise 2 (or more) more amazing children. No pregnancy, or lack thereof, will change that.
Wife, munchkin and I have decided together that we are ready to welcome another life into our clan. Wednesday, we will take the first step in the adoption process. And from that day forward, in our own special way, we’ll be expectant parents.
P.S. While doing research for this post, I ran across this study which compared children conceived with donor sperm to those who were adopted. Interesting reading.