So yes, about three weeks after I broke up with Tom, I realized that I was ready to have a child.
This was incredibly liberating. The idea that I could realize my own dreams without help from anyone else... wow!
I read some more books, notably Knock Yourself Up by Louise Sloan, my favorite and by a Brooklyn author to boot, and Choosing Single Motherhood: A Thinking Women's Guide by Mikki Morrisette. That was helpful, too.
I decided to go into therapy, to clean house, emotionally, and make sure I was ready. That opened up lots of cans of worms, mainly working through why I was single... I had lots of complex theories about why I wasn't good enough to be "chosen" for long term coupledom (the guys that offered or wanted to be with me long term... they don't count), not to mention why I had few or no friends (likewise, not true). It was a long and painful journey, actually, that continued into the TTC (trying to conceive) phase of life, but along about May, I felt well and cleansed and whole. And by the time I was ready to head off to camp in June, the therapist and I both felt like I didn't need to schedule any more appointments.
So. The logistics of it all. Well.
The idea of a sperm bank kind of creeped me out, frankly. The idea that you just had no idea what you were getting... weird. And I had read a story about a bank where a whole number of kids produced from one donor had this scary, life-threatening form of eczema... and yet, the bank refused to pull the donor from its metaphorical shelves, saying that it wasn't proven that the donor was the cause of this rare illness.
But I'll be honest and admit that money was also a big factor. I was scared of how much money I would spend on lousy old sperm. Well, hopefully, not too old. You know what I mean. Sperm from the most popular banks could easily be $650 a vial. Not including shipping. And you know, one vial is like one fifth of a splooge. (Sorry, I just love the word splooge.) So how they can justify charging that much... it's beyond me. And you can't expect that it's going to work the very first try. So I was very worried about my money running out long before I had to worry about such trivialities as childcare ($1600 seems to be the lowest I've seen for the going rate of daycare in NYC... I had to adopt others' attitudes of "the universe will provide," totally unlike my conservative self, as not having a child for financial reasons just seems dumb. I still don't know how the money will work out. And I still worry about it. And refuse to do any research on childcare options. Lest I get suckered (mainly by my own fear and anxiety) into paying to reserve a spot long before I need it... I really need to save my money.)
But truly, I liked the idea of using someone I knew to be the donor. I felt like it would answer so many question for my child to know the donor, even on a casual level.
So first I started with my dear friend B. He's an amazing person. Who ultimately turned me down. For very good reasons. But not before we spent several months exploring the idea, even to the point of going to see a therapist together.
I briefly considered my ex and best friend, Scott. But we decided together that it probably was best if he was not the donor... because he was 58 (advanced paternal age has an increased incidence of autism and schizophrenia), because he has an [adult] child with Asperger Syndrome (another risk factor for future offspring having an autism spectrum disorder), and because it might affect our friendship in myriad ways. Even though I think we were both conflicted, even as we made our decision. We love each other a lot, and he had always fantasized about getting another chance to raise a healthy child.
So finally, I tried to the internet. God bless the world wide web. And a Yahoo group named Free Sperm Donors. I posted an ad, sharing a little about me, and asking for responses.
I got at least twenty. I'll try to share some of them here. Some were a little creepy.
My favorite was actually the first responder, a guy named Andrew, who has three young daughters with his ex-wife. And wanted to help someone else, because his sister had been a Single Mother by Choice, and had been so happy. (She since met someone and got married.)
(Off to work out and do laundry before going sling shopping with another SMC. Stay tuned for Part Three.)