Known Donor Discussion Items…

We have had some good discussion lately around our potential known donor. Before we sit down and go over all of our discussion items with the donor couple, we wanted to be sure the two of us were on the same page with everything. However, I have been struggling to come up with all the things that we will need to think about… Here is what we have thought of so far:

  • What will our child’s relationship with the donor look like? *We expect that we would maintain our friendship and the child would just become a part of this. We would be open and honest that this person was the sperm donor.
  • Who will our child’s god-parents be? If the donor couple are not the god-parents and we (worst case scenario) both die young, will our god-parents be willing and able to maintain a relationship with the donor couple for the child’s sake?
  • Would there be an expectation for a certain number of get-togethers / donor visitations a month? (There would be no legal visitation rights of the donor – this would be a purely social consideration).
  • Would the donor couple be OK with it if we moved across the country, making visits very rare? Would the child be OK with this, if they developed a good relationship with the donor? *Just as moving away means parting from other friends and family, everyone would just have to get over it.
  • What would we refer to the donor as? E.g., donor family (acknowledging the partner of the sperm owner), prohibiting use of term “father” or “dad”
  • What role would the donor’s parents (or the donor’s partner’s parents, for that matter) play in our family’s life? *At this point, we are not interested in having 4 sets of grandparents for our child – just to reduce complicatedness. But we would want our donor to be honest with his family so there were no surprises.

I know there is more to think about and discuss, but it’s just not coming to me. If all goes well with the discussions, we plan to use a general donor contract available online, and take it to a lawyer just to be extra careful.

On the technical side of donor discussion, I have been doing a lot of google research lately, and found that we have 2 main options:

Option 1: Freeze the sperm for IUI

The only way we could do IUI is by going through a sperm clinic, because the sperm has to be washed for IUI and apparently clinics in Canada won’t wash/use fresh, donated sperm for IUI unless it has gone through ReproMed’s testing and approval (ReproMed is the only sperm clinic in Canada that will accept a donation from a known person). If we were to go this route, we would have to put our donor through a host of medical tests (including an $800 physical examination…), freeze the sperm for 6 months, and then re-do an HIV test at the end of the 6 months before the sperm can be released. I really dislike how much control is taken away from us in this option. Not to mention the expense (almost as much as using an anonymous donor from a sperm bank). The two benefits of this option are the IUI – in case we have trouble conceiving “naturally” – and that a donor going through a sperm bank is automatically legally relinquished of any parental rights. This is the only way to completely remove parental rights of a sperm donor in the province of Ontario. Donor contracts can be challenged in court, and you have to rely on a deep trust of your donor.

Option 2: At-Home Insemination with Fresh Sperm

The free, immediate, and easy option is to do at-home insemination with fresh sperm and not go through a clinic. I would still get my initial fertility counselling from my RE (that is almost done now), but we would do a completely non-technical conception. Well, not completely non-technical when compared to hetero, natural conception, but as close as us lesbians can get! We would still request a health screening from our donor, but would then just have him provide us with a fresh sample of semen (preferably given at our house so the sperm doesn’t die off in transit) and use a needleless syringe to get it right up there next to the cervix. In this option, conception would be completely in my wife’s hands.

So that’s what we’ve been talking about lately. If anyone has any other ideas of what we need to think about regarding using a known donor, I would really appreciate your advice!

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