The slightly abridged version of choosing our kids’ other genetic material, with bonus FAQ:
These are all questions that people have asked me about our family. About 95% of the time, they make ‘cancer’ face* while they ask it.
*”Cancer’ face’: the face maker tilts their head approximately 40 degrees to one side, furrows their brow slightly, purses their lips in a determinedly ‘slightly sad’ frown and lifts their shoulders almost imperceptibly. This is commonly used when receiving news of dire diagnoses, when passing on news of said dire diagnoses, and when talking to cancer sufferers or anyone connected to them^. Less commonly, it is used when asking single women over twenty-five if they’ve ‘met anyone, yet’ or when asking new mothers if they miss ‘the real world’. Or when asking lesbians about how they got knocked up.
Somehow this conveys a mix of sympathy, pity and concern with powerful insincerity. I would far prefer honest curiosity. A face that conveys ‘this is so not any of my business, and I’d never ask an infertile straight person this, but I’m really fascinated and my partner/sister/friend keeps pestering me to find out and I won’t cry if the person I’m asking tells me to piss off or tells me everything in an orgy of oversharing’. ‘Hit me with it, near stranger, I promise not to cry or puke’ face?
^This is in no way meant to diminish the experiences of those affected by cancer. Obviously it is awful. I am only trying to highlight a common social inadequacy.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s get on to the Top 3 Questions and Answers (note: some answers only get out when I’m drunk, or being deliberately obnoxious)
Q1 – Will you tell your kids they were conceived with a donor?
A – Well, obviously we will try and keep it under wraps. But they might be on to us when they learn about The Sex at school.
A – If we have kids dumb enough not to figure that out, I’m asking for a refund from the clinic.
A – No. We’ll tell them they were hatched by our chickens.
Q2 – Don’t you feel sad that Titch and Boofer won’t have a daddy?
A – (heavy sigh) I hope it will be enough that they have two loving, present parents and are surrounded by an amazing and equally loving circle of other friends and family.
A – Yes. And every night I cry myself to sleep, imagining the cold abyss of isolation and poor self esteem to which I am consigning them. And then I dress the lunatic cat in a miniature suit and tie and train him to answer to Papa.
A – How’s your dad these days?
Q3 – Wow, was it really hard to choose a donor?
A – No.
And that is the truth. I have read other people’s stories of finding a donor: the angst; the months of deliberation; the spreadsheets; the interviews; the legal wrangling. But for us, once we decided that parenting is hard enough with two people, let alone three, the process of choosing an anonymous donor was a piece of cake.
The clinic we went to gave us about twenty profiles and about half an hour to pick a top three. Then it was just a question of who was in stock.
– Not insanely tall: As someone helpfully pointed out recently, I have grown about one meter since I was born. That is all.
– Not insane: Any one detailing their wish to spread their immensely superior seed around the world was automatically out of the running.
– Previous success in procreating: No one wants to be a guinea pig, do they?
– Not overtly or suspiciously homophobic: We didn’t want our imagined Titch and Boofer, aged 18, to track down this generous stranger, only to be disadvantaged by their two gay mums.
– A Nobel laureate with model looks: What else?
As to who we chose, that is a whole other – recently updated – story.
To be continued…