It was a warm day forDecember, and my husband and I were on our way to make a very importantchoice. We were on our way toreview potential donors with our clinic and expected to choose one during thistrip.
A little background: we were cycling at an out-of-town clinic about 200 miles from our home for three reasons: 1) it was less expensive; 2) we reallyliked the doctor and one of my closest friends had a personal friendship with him and also used him for her fertility problems; and 3) this clinic allowedyou to choose your donor from a book of potential clinic donors. That was very different than the clinics here in New York, who picked your donor for you. And that was definitely appealing to us, and was one of the major reasons we decided to cycle out of town.
We had decided not to usean agency donor, because I felt like I could find someone appealing and didn’tfeel strongly that I needed to find the “perfect” donor.
I knew one thing: I didn’t want to meet my donor or seean adult picture of her. I hopedto have children that were genetically related to her; and when I looked atthem, lovingly, as they grew, changed and developed, children I consider mychildren solely (okay, and my husband’s too) despite the gene pool, I didn’twant to see someone else, someone who essentially was disconnected from us andour lives completely, looking back at me.
So here we are, on afour-hour car ride, with an appointment to look at “the book.” My husband and I share ourthoughts: what should we lookfor? What are the most importantattributes of this woman, who was going to perhaps give us the most significant thing we ever received?
First, we focused onlooks. And we agreed she didn’tneed to look like me, but the main things, like coloring, etc. needed to besimilar to mine so that our child, or children, would, to the casual observer,look like they could be mine.
Then, we focused on health. That, we agreed, was non-negotiable. Then,intelligence. We agreed she neededto be a college student or a college graduate, with a job that indicated she was above average in IQ. Andage. I don’t remember exactly what we determined, but something around 24-25 – not too young, not tooold. And a “proven” donor would be a bonus.
And that, we agreed, were the main factors. We pictured a young career woman, on her way to a life of “having it all.”
We get into town, and, thenext day, we are given the “Caucasian” book. There were around 25 or 30 profiles in the book. They told us to review it and that wecould select up to 3 proflies to hold for 24 hours. Thereafter, we could either select one, or select none and then return in a few weeks to see any new potential donors.
We were sent to a room,alone, with this thick blue binder. Each profile was 14 pages, hand written, and asked all sorts of factualquestions about the donor, her life, health, family, family health history,pregnancy and fertility history, and the like. There were also, on the last page, short essays. It was a lot of information, on the onehand, but so little, too.
We went through the bookand flagged all the college grads and a few college students. One by one, they dropped off. Too many casual sexual encounters. Questionable family healthhistories. Some women whosemotivations seemed less than ideal to us. Women who didn’t seem to have the time or interest to fill out the 14pages. After going through thewhole book, we had a few maybes. But no one that felt right.
A second glance through the binder. One profile caught my eye.I shared it with my husband. Awoman, 28 years old, a mother of two. Last job was in a pizza shop. Education stopped after high school. We pull it out. Read it once, twice. So,she didn’t go to college. So, shewas 28 years old. Not what wethought we were looking for. But the answers to her essay questions were clear and well thought out. She took pride in what she wrote and expressed herself well. No, notwhat we were looking for. Butthere was something about her. We put her in the maybe pile.
That night, we stayed at my friend’s house. I asked her tolook at the three profiles we had brought with us. Without a word, she read the three, and handed me one,saying…I like her. Pizzawoman, we called her that night, until she became “our donor” who she is tothis day.
What did we like? Her maturity. Her appreciation for being a parent. Her earnestness, and sincerity. She seemed nice, real, solid. Not perfect, but very human. And, for some reason, kind and giving.
Today, as the parents of two children she helped us conceive, I am so thrilled with our choice. Someday, if my kids ask my why we picked her, I have reasons I can explain. And if we ever have the opportunity to meet her, I think I will like her. And I know that I will have nothing but gratitude for the gift she gave us.