Sorry, sorry, I really hadn’t intended this whole thing to end up being such a long post — THREE posts — although given that, as I mentioned before, it’s kind of important in the great scheme of things, maybe it’s a good job that I’m finally devoting a significant amount of time, space and attention to it.
So — god, even I’m getting bored at this point, well done you for sticking with it — US banks ruled out because either a gazillion half-siblings or not shipping to the UK, European banks ruled out — despite the fact that I’d heard good things about them from various people — because my consultant had warned me against them, which basically left the UK ones.
I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really considered the UK ones. I’d just heard that there were hardly any UK donors — FFS the UK’s first national sperm bank had even had to shut down because in the space of two years they’d only managed to recruit eight donors, making it totally unviable. But I started looking at the UK and the few banks on offer here.
Some I didn’t like the idea of because they had relationships with US banks — yes more options, but potentially all the same issues that I’d had with the US banks. And then I went back and looked at one that I think I probably overlooked because, unlike most clinics and banks, which give you access to their donor database from their website, they didn’t have any donor details online.
I went old school. I picked up the phone.
‘Hello, do you have sperm donors?’
‘Do you let people who aren’t being treated by you use them.’
Within 20 minutes, I’d received an email with a spreadsheet with basic information for about 40 donors — blood type, CMV status, height, build, hair colour, eye colour, skin tone, some scant information about their job or qualifications and a few words about their favourite pastimes. (You can choose to buy more information — £36 gets you details of their personality, staff impressions, celebrity lookalikes to give you an idea of what they look like, a personal statement about why they chose to be donors, and a message for any offspring.) Once I’d despatched any that were CMV positive, and filtered for those who shared the same eye and hair colour as me, I was left with a handful, including one I really liked the sound of.
Naturally, me being me, I had a load of questions about how they selected the donors, about what tests they did on them, about their ongoing relationships with them. So I phoned the nice lady at the end of the phone again and quizzed her extensively. Satisfied — as much as, me being me, I could be — that this bank met my exacting standards, I asked if I could have more information on two of the donors that had caught my eye. As I mentioned the one that I really liked the sound of, the nice lady at the end of the phone blurted out.
‘Oh he makes beautiful babies!’
I know, I KNOW, she’s basically a saleswoman, I’m sure she says that about all the guys. But y’know, that sort of things sticks in a girl’s head. But to be serious — for a moment — I knew that it was possible that at some point I might have to justify to my hypothetical offspring why I chose that particular donor. The fact that he “made beautiful babies” was not enough for me, vain and superficial as I may occasionally be — or for my hypothetical child. So with that in mind, I crossed my fingers and steeled myself to read the dossier on Mr Beautiful Babies…