I'm a guy who learned a short time before I was to be married that my lifetime goal of becoming a father was slim if not impossible. But now due to medical science, a donor, and a couple of maxed out credit cards we have two beautiful kids. My name is Eric and I am a DI Dad.
This morning I read a post on the Yahoo group Donor Sibling Registry by Allison Rouble of the blog GENdMOM. Afterwards I posted a reply. Both are below.
"Still Playing Head Games with Myself"
It never seems to fail with me, after being married for 11 years and having never used any birth control, having received a diagnosis of male infertility due to unexplained azoospermia and having to use donor sperm to create our family I still find myself looking at the calendar every month wondering if some how by magic I will have gotten pregnant the good old fashioned way by my husbands sperm.
I play this torturous mind game with myself, I think maybe I am pregnant, i do a detailed analysis of every phantom symptom I have. I further twist the knife in my heart by wondering if it will be a boy or a girl, what names would we pick, would we have to move or add onto our house to make room for another child. I do this month after month, and the inevitable always happens. Auntie flow shows up with the bad but predictable news that “NO you are not pregnant you silly girl, your husband is infertile and it isn’t going to happen that way”.
I hate her, my auntie flow. Hate her because she comes to me every month with the bloody reminder that I will never have a biological child with the man I dearly love. And stupid, desperate me looks in the mirror at myself every time she is here for her visit and says, “maybe next month!”
My reply as posted to the Yahoo Discussion Group:
I have been unsure how to respond to this post. I am that infertile husband, or rather was, and my first reaction is to say I am sorry. My next reaction is the following....
Most (admittedly not all) DI Dads like myself know how hard it has been or is for our spouses who shared our pain addressing male factor infertility. It haunts us terribly throughout the process. We feel extreme guilt for it and are eternally grateful for you sticking by us. With the birth of these DI children we find ourselves in love with both the child and each of you again so deeply.
Most of us don't realize that the sense of loss you feel continues and need you to tell us so we can work through the feelings with you. We would rather share your pain then let you suffer it silently and alone.
We can't make it stop but we can let you know how much we love you and how much stronger we are as a family and as a loving couple.
One of this blog’s most viewed posts involved a December 2008 postcard that was posted on the popular Post Secret website. That post card was submitted by a donor conceived individual who was envious of adopted individuals because their fathers had not “jacked off in a cup for money”.
The below post card was published this evening, 12/17/2011, on Post Secret, and was mailed in by a man who apparently was chosen for a one night stand with the goal of effectively becoming a sperm donor by a woman whose husband could not naturally have kids. I am sure the child conceived by this IUI would be equally not thrilled to learn their conception story if they ever learned it.
Certainly looking at this post card from the point of view of an infertile husband, this brings out many of the fears that DI Dads have that their spouse would turn to another man sexually to create a child. For all he knows the wife, if she has chosen this path, might even let the husband think it is his child, until the truth would come out, via blood works or blood tests of some nature.
Granted while technically this post card details a donor conception, this scenario is not legally a legitimate donor situation and could lead to all sorts of custody and paternity issues, if and when, reality is confronted. But as a DI Dad as soon as I read this card all sorts of issues popped into my mind.
Kids are doing well. They have been speaking with their male half sibling Z from out West on a fairly regular but unscheduled basis lately and the conversations are getting less silly and more “normal” or what passes for normal among 9 year olds. My son J does most of the talking from our side. The kids have not spoken with T, their female half sibling, in some time, my fault not making that happen, even though they have asked about her.
J asked about the donor again recently and whether he’d ever get to meet the donor’s kids, if he has any. I said it is unlikely that will happen as we’d first need to find the donor. I asked if that is something he’d want but I got no response. He still is close friend with the other donor conceived kids I know in his grade although this to my knowledge has never been a topic of discussion among them.
J has a crush on a little girl at his school. She is younger than him and they are at that stage when they are way too young to be “dating” etc and are taking on the aspects of a very friendly brother / sister relationship but one where they can’t wait to see each other every day. J was excited when this little girl said he was like a brother. Apparently that is a stage with little kids when they get closer to each other. The whole way home he was so happy and said he had three sisters and two brothers. One each of this count is this girl and her brother. Very amusing and will get confusing.
Over this past year I have dated women who have had young kids of their own. No one has met anyone at this point as none have lasted the requisite six months called for under my separation agreement. The possible concept though of extended blended families will be very amusing down the road if a relationship becomes that serious. Half siblings, step siblings, full siblings. Family tree time will need a lengthy color coded legend more than it already does.
As I write all this I am concerned as my sublet is up at the end of January and I have yet to find a new apartment. I have lived these last two years in the same building I lived in with my then-wife and the kids. It helped the kids adjust to the separation coming back to the same building every day even though they split their time between apartments. That issue has been the main issue of concern to them more than anything donor conception related. They seem so far well adjusted and handling it well enough.
Time to go. Nothing else new to report with the Yahoo DI Dads group.
My apologies for not keeping this blog up to date. Many of the links below in this side bar are horribly out of date and to be honest I have no idea when I will get to updating them. Use them as a resource knowing they are incomplete. Regards, Eric
"Donor Unknown" Documentary Premiered on PBS on October 20th
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