We knew from the beginning of our relationship that we wanted a family. I’m sure I brought it up; I like to ask questions. We just weren’t sure how. Where do we start? I began researching our options. Foster to adopt? Anonymous sperm donor? Known donor? The options felt complicated and expensive and overwhelming.
“Do you have a dad?”
“Because I have a mommy and a mama.”
Choosing a donor ended up being the easy part of starting our family, though it wasn’t really that easy. We had many nights of printed profiles on the coffee table, covered in highlighted sections and notes in the margins. Once we finally chose a donor, our attention shifted from how to when. Then the infertility showed up. Because sometimes complicated plans just need more complications.
“But they are two girls. Can two girls make a baby together?”
“Well, they have two eggs I guess? And two sperms?”
The when eventually turned into now, and we became a family of three. Full circle back to questions, but this time we’re not the only ones asking them. We’re just here to start the conversation.
“It only takes one egg to make a baby.”
“Oh, right! And the sperm is from a boy! From my donor! A donor is like a dad.”
“Well, not really. Because we don’t know your donor. We just know about him.”
We talk about her donor frequently. She’s only 5 and thinks it’s perfectly normal to have two moms and an anonymous donor. She’s just learning what anonymous means. Though at this point, she’s not terribly interested in talking about her donor.
She is interested in hearing about how our dog welcomed her when we first brought her home from the hospital. She loves hearing about the day we took her to the beach for the first time and how she said words when she was first learning to talk. Perhaps she will be more interested in hearing about her donor some day. She may even have big feelings about it and that we chose a donor she can never meet to ask her own questions. I don’t know that we can prepare for that, but we can make space for this conversation however it shows up.
“Right! We know that he likes swimming! And running! And how did the sperm get into your body?”
“The donor gave his sperm to the doctors, and a different doctor put it in my body with a tube.”
“Oh, yeah. And then the egg and sperm made me, and I grew and grew in your belly.”
“Mommy, guess what! If you eat too much candy, you get a special kind of tooth! It’s silver!”
Perhaps we need to talk a bit more about the dentist than her donor. It’s OK, we like talking around here.