Recursive Hindsight

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

"Donor sperm? No...no...no way, nope, not happening, not doin' it!", was, loosely paraphrasing, how my half of our initial discussion on the subject of DI went. Of course with hindsight and all of the wonderful (though posthumous) perspective it gives us, I realize I was being a totally selfish ass. And in hindsight of that hindsight (is that recursive?!), I realize that I was terrified, completely ignorant on the topic, and absolutely not ready to make a decision carrying anywhere near that much weight! But the more we talked, the more we read, the more time we had buffering us from the diagnosis, the more I, we, warmed up to the idea. If we couldn't have a baby that was biologically both of ours, then it seemed like a logical conclusion that having a baby that is biologically connected to one of us would be, "next best". Of course, in reality, that conclusion and the accompanying range of feelings can often feel far less than logical.

L's doctor recommended that we meet with the counselor they have on staff to discuss our feelings, our plans, and the donor program. Though we only spent an hour or so with her, at the end of that hour I knew that this was the right direction for us. Did she provide the answer for every question I had running through my head? Not even close, in fact I left with more questions than I came in with. Did she make me feel like everything would be absolutely rosy and perfect? Negative on that one, she was very real and very open about just how hard this was going to be and at the same time helped me realize that it is OK (required!), to grieve "our loss". It was so reassuring to hear someone else saying the things we were thinking/talking about privately. It not only provided some much needed sense of validation, but also helped to cut through some of the isolation we had been feeling!

In the end, the most important thing I walked away with was a simple litmus test, a test that I find myself using nearly everyday. She told me to visualize the moment that my wife gets a positive pregnancy test and imagine what my reaction will be. When I am sure that I will feel the same sense of absolute joy I would feel if things were "different", then chances are I am ready to do this. I feel like I am already there, and know that when I look down for the first time at that gift in my arms, the only two words that will come to mind are..."my son" (or, you know, optionally... "my daughter" :)).

Yeah... I want a boy...sue me :)



Somewhat Ordinary said...

We didn't meet with a counselor that specialized in infertility before making our decision to use a donor. We saw a counselor, but she knows very little about IF and even less about donor conception. I do remember I tested while my husband was still asleep so if it was negative I could just pretend I hadn't. When I woke him up with the news his reaction was no different than I had ever expected...sheer joy! Oh, and when that little boy was born even more!

Wishing you all the best!

Mommy-in-Waiting said...

We aren't quite at the donor stage, but there is a possibility we will have to go this route. I will definitely tell my hubby about the litmus test, i think it's great and really does sum up in one how you will deal with it. Thanks!

Emmy said...

My husband and I had a long talk about donor sperm last night, as most of the doctors I talk to recommend having some as a backup. My husband is not okay with it in any way. What did you read or is there anything more specific that helped you to come to the realization that it would be okay? I appreciate any suggestions!

J - azoowho@gmail.com said...

Emmy - It was a lot of different things, some concrete, others more squishy. I'm sure your husband is feeling a lot of the same things I was feeling (and still feel to some extent). Fear of rejection (will the baby think of me as the "real dad"), jealousy ("why should you get to have that biological bond when I can't"), threatened... For me I had to get pass the idea of it being "another man" and think more about it as a piece of genetic material, just sperm. I also came to the realization that it takes a lot more to being a father than your sperm. My "real dad" was far more like a sperm donor than a father to me :) I'm going to be this baby's FATHER, there will never be any question in my mind. I also read two good books on the topic that might help you guys: "Helping the Stork" and "Experiences of Donor Conception", they are both available on Amazon.

Feel free to get in touch via email or here on the blog if you any questions or if there is anything I can help with.