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How to choose a donor...

(20 Posts)
iLikeBoringThings Mon 25-Apr-16 22:42:42

Hi All,

So happy that mumsnet now have a dedicated topic for this subject!

I've just turned 37, am happily single and am really thinking it might be now or never for me so i am currently weighing up my options!

I havent spoken to a professional as yet but have been reading everything i can find online. As far as i am aware, i have no fertility issues (but have never ttc, so there could well be some) and have had a regular as clockwork 28 day cycle since i was 14.

I think i have decided i would like to try 3 rounds of non medicated IUI with donor sperm before moving on to medicated options.

This is getting a bit long so i will get to the thing i am struggling to decide on is the ethnicity of the sperm donor. I know that sounds strange, but i am mixed race and worry that if i chose a caucasian donor, my child would have little resemblance to me.

I am almost sure that i am completely overthinking this and would really appreciate any advice or insights anyone may have!

Thanks in advance!

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 26-Apr-16 00:12:35

Hello. smile

I'm not in same boat, but I have been wondering about a related sort of question - so excuse me if my witterings are no use!

DP and I are in the early stages and assuming we will choose a white donor (we're both white). She's ginger, and it's the first thing people tend to notice about you, as gingers are so rare. And it's a recessive gene, so we figure we'll choose a ginger donor. But I do have these feelings of worrying that this child will (obviously) look nothing like me. And I know DP has thought about the fact that the child might very well look nothing like her, either, really!

What I am reminding myself of when I think about this, is that children tend to pick up their parents' mannerisms and habits anyway. So, I know children who are in fact adopted - no biological relationship to their parents - and also children of lesbian couples who are biologically related only to one parent (as ours will be). But strangers will remark on how all of those children resemble their parents! And it is because they pick up so much of how they act from parents. So, I bet you, even if your child looks nothing like you, he or she will in some ways resemble you. I don't know if thinking like that helps? But it is helping me.

I wonder - and excuse me if I am projecting my own worries - but do you think you are fixing on this worry as a way of focusing other worries about all the unknowables that come with donor sperm?

iLikeBoringThings Tue 26-Apr-16 07:03:26

I think you've right, I probably am fixing on the ethnicity thing to kind of block out all my other worries and concerns - if that makes sense?!

I know that in the grand scheme of things it is such a small thing and that I should focus on the bigger picture.

My main worry to be honest, is my age...But that's a whole other thread right there smile

I'm going to book an appointment at a fertility clinic this week...I just need to decide which one!

Good luck with your journey!

lilydaisyrose Tue 26-Apr-16 07:06:45

Please excuse my ignorance, but is it possible to choose a mixed race donor with a similar heritage (sorry don't know the right word)?

Good luck!

INeedNewShoes Tue 26-Apr-16 07:15:55

I can't help on choosing a donor according to race, but more generally I chose not to find out much about my donor at all. All I know is that he is reasonably tall, has dark hair, and is a graduate. I found looking at 'extended profiles' overwhelming - just far too much information.

I'm currently pregnant (only 9 weeks so still cautious) following my 2nd unmedicated IUI.

From what I can tell, UK clinics seem to push the medicated approach. I can't recommend highly enough my clinic in Copenhagen who will happily do unmedicated treatment and have their own stores of donor sperm so you don't have to pay storage and delivery charges. Each treatment has cost me £600 which is a third what the UK clinics seem to charge. Whether travelling for treatment is for you probably depends on whether you have easy access to a budget airlines airport. Feel free to ignore this -I know it's not what you were asking about!

iLikeBoringThings Tue 26-Apr-16 08:12:53

I was thinking of trying to find a donor of similar heritage although that might not be so easy - i am half British, half Malagasy (Madagascar).

Given that the darker genes are more dominant, it is highly unlikely that I would give birth to a blond haired blue eyed child regardless of the donor smile (although that would be super cute!)

I am definitely overthinking this, aren't I?!

I can imagine that searching through extended profiles of multiple donors gets a bit overwhelming!

I have also been considering using a clinic abroad, mainly for the price difference, but it just makes it all seem so much scarier!!

To be honest, I think i just need to woman up and take the plunge!

iLikeBoringThings Tue 26-Apr-16 08:15:22

INeedNewShoes - congratulations on the pregnancy, how exciting!! xx

slowandfrumpy Tue 26-Apr-16 13:19:51

These would be my priorities
1. Open Id donor (ie willing to be known at 18) above all else.
2. Match rough ethnicity (any kind of Caucasian) so as to forestall endless questions about the donor (eg where was the dad from etc etc)
3. Someone who sounds likeable in extended profile and sounds as if they would be open to meeting kids in future
4. Match typical ex boyfriend characteristics
5. Intelligence may not be inherited but it would matter to me... Only clue to this may be academic qualifications
6. Oh yes age. Don't want massive age differential as means child at 18 may be meeting someone 20 years younger than me. Might feel odd.

slowandfrumpy Tue 26-Apr-16 17:30:59

Also: if you are finding it difficult finding a donor that matches your ethnicity, you might also try importing donor sperm from UK compliant sperm banks in the US (for example). they might have a wider choice of mixed race donors, and even if not exactly what you are looking for, might have a wider choice than here (UK choice pretty small). Ask you clinic which US sperm banks they import from (typically it will be xytex) and then import to the UK.

The advantage is that the donors details are then logged with the HFEA and your child will have access to those at 18 (otherwise you are reliant on the US sperm banks following up on their promise to release the donor's details and they are not backed by the law).

The disadvantages of US donors is that there are likely to be very large sibling groups (80 plus). If you use a UK donor the donor is limited to producing ten families - which will be a max of 20 children, but typically less. This may matter to you and your child further down the road.

leotwist Wed 27-Apr-16 14:43:52

Good list of priorities, slowandfrumpy.

I'm newly pregnant (6 weeks) with a success egg donation. We've used a US clinic despite the cost, as it allowed us to see donor photos, thorough background information, health details of her extended family, and open to future contact. She's of similar racial heritage but, as my partner's dark and I'm fair, colouring wasn't important.

We chose our donor partly because of her happy, relaxed smile and because her comments suggested a balanced, kind, reliable and thoughtful person. She's half our age but, for us, that's a good thing as we're rather ancient and she was able to offer much younger and healthier eggs!

Mumoftwinsandanother Fri 20-May-16 23:00:21

My 3 donor sperm conceived children are getting older and I would definitely second the priority being an open-id donor. It could save a lot of heart-ache in the future and should be considerably more important than saving money. After that a lot of the things that I thought would be important at the time no longer seem important (hair/eye colour etc), None of my 3 children (same donor) look anything like each other or me but they are still so obviously family through mannerisms/behaviours etc. If I am honest I'd probably focus on intelligence/academic qualifications and make sure you were roughly equivalent. That said I love the difference between DH, me and my kids. There is something very nice in each of them, something unselfish that they have obviously all inherited from somewhere that doesn't belong to DH and I and we both feel very privileged to have them in our lives (even if none of them will be the high-flyers DH and I were they will all make everyone around them happier). Wish you all the best OP

emilyg108 Sat 21-May-16 12:52:53

I am going to receive an egg donation one week from now. I have been on Busrelein injections for 4 weeks now and started Progynova one week ago. I feel pretty tired and am dreading the flight. I'm really glad I have been exercising regularly before I began all this as it has made me feel a bit stronger. Feel like I need some female encouragement and chat as my partner and I of course don't talk about this with friends/relatives. I am very hopeful but worried as having had recurrent m/c in the past it makes me more aware that becoming pregnant is only the beginning of the journey. I really hope that this treatment works.
Does anyone understand?

Cally70 Sat 21-May-16 18:46:52

Slowandfrumpy - what a bizarre list! Can't imagine why anyone would want to choose a donor based on an ex's looks. And, as for the age of the donor, I can't see how that's relevant. Do you have donor conceived children?

Having had multiple rounds of IVF, I became increasingly less concerned with anything about the donors. If I'd been offered a purple donor with yellow spots, I'd have readily said yes if I thought treatment would work.

What I can say is, that should you be lucky enough to have a child(ren), how they came to be is much less important than you might imagine. You just feel so blessed, & get on with being a Mummy. At least, that's how it's been for me.

Best of luck

greenlizard Fri 01-Jul-16 16:29:47

I chose our donor on the basis that she was a similar build/colouring to me but the same colour eyes as my husband and she was originally matched with another couple who declined her and she was suddenly available. Seemed like serendipity to us.

UK donor so will be able to trace when the children are older which was important to us. My son was born last year and is the most amazing little boy and I am now 23 weeks pregnant with a baby girl from a frozen cycle of the same batch.

goinggrey1978 Fri 01-Jul-16 17:00:34

I'm currently 15 weeks pregnant with my donor egg and donor sperm embryo, that is now my very active baby growing inside!! I chose donors that had the same work ethic as me and my family, also the same hair colour and build, I'm incredibly lucky that my donor sperm has also given me 6 siblings which are frozen for a later date, my mum was most thrilled about this part, as I come from a sibling group of 5, so if I can I would like to have at least 1 sibling for my first child at a later date, I will explain to my child or children that I was very lucky as 2 very kind people helped me to have a child or children!! I think it's a fabulous privilege to be in my position and everyday I'm thankful to those very kind people for helping me to have a family of my own!! I am single with significant fertility issues and would never of had a family without ivf treatment!

HopingForALittleOne Sat 08-Oct-16 10:16:41

Hello following with interest as just starting my iui journey with DI

slowandfrumpy Fri 04-Nov-16 00:53:25

Cally70. Yes, I do have donor conceived children. I'm also fairly old and a lot of the donors were fairly young. It mattered to me that, in the future, the children would not be interacting with a donor who was much younger than me (some of the donors were still students so probably up to twenty years younger than me). I am/was very aware that a donor is not a sex cell or sperm, but an actual person. I thought an age disparity would make it harder for me to relate to him, and make the whole situation seem odder. Other women choose men (in the case of sperm donors) who already have children because they think it means he is donating with his eyes open, or because it means he's more mature, or because they feel more comfortable with the idea of their donor having an established family. we have to extrapolate from the limited information we are given.

Yes, matching based on an exes (multiple - what kind of men I like, is what I meant) looks and personality does sound bizarre, I suppose. A donor is a person, and in what can be the disempowering and dislocating process of choosing in the dark someone who is going to be the biological father of your child it is as good a criteria as any.

I agree that the things that seem important before the children are born seem less important afterwards and thanks to the wonder of nature we love whoever we are given anyway. But there are some things that seem important before hand that still seem important afterwards: namely ID release or known donor, traceability, the notion that the donor is a decent person, and not just a gamete or a cell and the awareness that this is a person who may be important to my children and/or play a role in their life.

toomuchtimereadingthreads2016 Wed 18-Jan-17 11:34:04

Have stumbled onto this board looking for information for a family member, but after reading just wanted to say good luck to everyone and OP don't worry too much about physical characteristics, or at least not any more than you would when choosing to have a family with a partner of different ethnicity. My DH is Mexican and v dark skinned, and our DD is his double, she looks more Mexican than other members of his own family, whereas I am blonde hair green eyes. Looks won't affect how you feel towards them at all once they're in your arms smile

lisaallem Mon 27-Feb-17 10:28:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

TheWrongAlice Fri 12-May-17 11:14:57

We used a london clinic and that is a very different process. You complete a questionnaire with the doctor or your preferences, and they wait until they have a donor who matches those preferences. In terms of ethnicity, they were quite strict, I would have been less so, but the doctor said it's really important for your child to feel part of your family and some of that comes from having similar looks. I'm not sure how much I agree but anyway, I couldn't just say I'll take anything (which is what I wanted to say). Possibly they were stricter because i had already have a child naturally.
We saw no pictures and received very limited information but I got a short letter that she wrote which was heartbreakingly beautiful, so. I knew she was the right one. We did egg sharing, and I know she also conceived, so when the time comes, if there is contact, my DD will have a half genetic sibling conceived at the same time.

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