While the details aren’t quite correct and my donor is definitely not Dave (or he could be?!), I’m always grateful to be able to share my story to inspire others.  Thanks That’s Life for getting in touch and allowing me this space to spread the word!  And yep you betcha, I LOVE being a mum to my precious little one. x

Why I Wrote ‘Desperately Seeking Semen’

The short of it.  I couldn’t not share what I now knew.  I didn’t plan on penning eighty thousand words, I just couldn’t stop writing.

After enduring a monumental meltdown as a newly single woman facing forty, I had to take matters into my own hands if motherhood was going to be on the cards for me.

It wasn’t about going against the forces of nature to make it happen, rather working with it.  It just meant the forces of nature were different than the one path I had assumed I’d go down with a fabulous six foot tall, intelligent being.

Having endured an eighteen month ‘get pregnant’ rollercoaster quest which included a failed plan to get back with my ex, three failed IUI attempts on the IVF train as well as some disastrous Tinder dating, I had to either inject myself with drugs to harvest my eggs or get creative and find another natural solution.

I decided for the latter and threw myself at the internet to rectify my semen quandary.  I soon found myself in the deep vortex of known sperm donor land or what I thought was the IVF underbelly. With further investigation, I realised I had landed upon my very own Willy Wonka cyber factory where there was a bevvy of real-life men happily giving away their sperm to women all around the globe.

So I hung up my hopes of trying to find the fantasy husband and father to be through online dating, and threw myself out there for the ones who were readily available and on the same page – literally! I couldn’t believe that there were a bunch of worthy men happy to skip all the relationship nonsense, especially the gay ones, and just hand over the key ingredient I needed to make a baby within my shrinking biological clock time frame.

I signed up to a few sperm donor sites and began perusing Facebook Groups then sat back and observed the post and forum interactions for a few months.  I was still very hesitant about proceeding down this path especially as I had stumbled onto some seedy sites which required me to weed out illegitimate profiles. It wasn’t until Adam Hooper, the FB group admin for Sperm Donation Australia connected with me answering all my questions that I finally felt at ease truly giving it a go.

When I was beyond frustrated with my dire situation and brave enough, I wrote to a few potential donors on the FB group and a couple of others on a paid site.

After conversing with a few fella’s I opted for one that I felt was compatible with my needs.  Not only was he over six feet tall with great physical features, more importantly he was available to work with my cycles, understood the donor process intimately, had a proven success record having assisted other women, had his own family, would sign legal documents outlining intention, wanted to be known to the future child, had undertaken genetic testing and counselling and could provide a recent bonafide sperm analysis proving he was highly fertile.

Before moving forward, we engaged in many messenger and Facetime chats as well as phone calls and photo sharing.  Once I felt ready and my fertile window aligned, I flew interstate to meet him in the flesh and proceed with the insemination.  Two weeks later, and to my absolute shock, a pregnancy test confirmed I was pregnant after our one and only attempt.

I knew that I was not infertile as I had been informed and am glad I went rogue carving out my own path. It was one that aligned with me physically, spiritually and financially.  While I am an advocate for this route and can honestly say I had a superb experience using the internet to secure a viable donor, I wholeheartedly believe this pathway needs to be thoroughly considered before being pursued. I believe it’s imperative to take the time to find the right donor and not swipe right on just anybody as not all sites, apps, solo donors and groups are created equal or perhaps have yours, or your future child’s best interests in mind.  This seemingly “rogue” route is primarily based on basic human trust and intention.  To navigate it safely and successfully, a little time investment pays off.  Ultimately, I believe this is about conceiving a healthy child first and foremost – not just landing any random man’s sperm to conceive.

Although I am now 42 and despite being only halfway through my pregnancy, I felt it was time critical to share this avenue publicly no matter my pregnancy outcome.

I learned so much and felt compelled to write a book to not only share what I did to become highly reproductive or reveal the ins and outs of this unconventional child making way but also to inform other healthy single women and same-sex lesbian couples in my predicament that they too can follow this alternative and highly successful path without spending thousands!  I also wanted to dispel the belief that IVF was the only option available out there.

The moment I opted to seek a sperm donor on what could be deemed as the wild west of the internet, a mental shift occurred.  I felt unequivocally empowered.  No longer was it just a hope for me to be a mother, it was probable I would be.  It was the best decision I’ve ever have made.

A huge thank you to the men out there that put themselves out there to assist us!

Surfing for Semen

I was thrilled when he called and said we were on for tomorrow.  So I jumped on a plane and headed to Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast.  My Latin lover was already there waiting and I couldn’t get there fast enough.  He’d scattered crimson rose petals all over the crisp white floor tile and on the white satin sheets that sparkled like diamonds on the freshly made bed. The curtains swayed slowly as the warm, salty, sea breeze wafted through the window on this balmy afternoon. I barely had a moment to breathe it all in before his head was between my legs.

Very softly, he told me to relax and then propped me up a little, then he inserted a clamp.  In that very instant, and with that ripping sound effect as loud as a thundercloud above, my charming Latin lover vanished, and I was left face taut and legs spread for my 60 odd-year-old IVF doctor.

While I was shocked back to reality, at least he was armed with the sperm of a sexy, tall, dark-haired, green-eyed, 26-year-old Hungarian hottie, that was about to be squirted deep inside my cervix.  

I was 40 years old, single and classed as socially infertile.  How did I get myself here?

I could say my thirties were the years of racking up lots of travel mileage points, Facebook friends, happy hours and hangovers. While these were easy to accrue, marriage proposals were not.

At 37 I found myself in a relationship that I’d hope would last forever.  It was the one that  I had all my chips on the table for as it was in the most promising best of my last ‘fertile window’ days.  While I had pinned my hopes on this being the relationship that would take me out of singledom for good, it unravelled over the following two years and I too became unhinged.  

As the big 4-0 approached I completely came undone spending each night blubbering into my pillow agonizing over how on earth I could create a family. I was in deep caca with the hands of that ticking biological clock.

Months off the heels of that window waster relationship, I jumped onto online dating sites in a gallant quest to meet the one.  All this did was waste more valuable time and keep me from pressing forward with my own plan. Not only did I have to dance around my true desire, dating was slow, required squeezing into an LBD for an entire night of discomfort as well as around my dates weekends without their kids.  

Urgh, if only I could make my own baby!!

Pondering that thought and with a little further investigation I realized I actually might be able to and tottered off to an IVF clinic.  

Although unfortunately, it wasn’t surprising, the few IUI attempts I underwent all failed. The Hungarian hottie didn’t stick nor did the handsome blue-eyed chiro the month before.  I now either had to pull out the IVF big guns and harvest my eggs or get creative and find another solution.  I decided for the latter and threw myself at Dr. Google for alternatives.  When I first landed on a site for known sperm donors I thought I had stumbled onto the IVF underbelly. I was too fearful to take a really good peek around in case I found myself in some weird porn or body parts trafficking ring.  Knowing my luck, I’d have a SWAT team parachuting out of the skies and smashing down my doors within minutes.  

Hang on! Courageous, bulked up men in uniform landing on my doorstep in just a few minutes?!  Hmmm… there’s a thought!

Having scrutinized this path for a year and a half, the idea of finally heading in this direction had now penetrated me deeply and it didn’t seem so aberrant. In fact, using semen from someone that required no relationship labour, I could actually check out in the flesh and have a coffee with made insanely good sense.  So, I decided to take the plunge and see what it was all about.  With a tap on my keypad, white light began beaming out of my monitor and Beethoven’s fourth movement from his Fifth Symphony masterpiece rang out. Low and behold, before my eyes were dozens of men from all over the world happily offering their free baby batter to wannabe mamas.

  I took to a couple of sites sharing my woes hoping to catch a fella.  

“Single, 40-year-old, adrenal fatigued, career-focused woman who missed the

‘memo for motherhood’ seeks a strapping young lad’s fertile tadpoles”

“Must be tall, intellectual type, no chromosomal abnormalities, have top-notch winning swimmers and be within close travel distance.”

After just a couple of months and a few discarded swimmers due to not meeting the legal requirements, I got an agile one on the hook that fit my criteria.  He was actually a fellow middle-aged man whose uberous sperm could impregnate a nation.  A week later he handed me a bucket full of fresh swimmers that I launched as far into my uterus as I could.

The race upstream had begun.  I relaxed with my feet up on the wall hoping that one was limber enough to navigate my tightly knotted body’s ‘non-yoga-ish’ innards.

Then it was an agonizing two-week wait for the results to see if there was one lucky winner from the ‘great anti-gravity’ swim.  When Aunty Flo didn’t show up to her monthly meeting, it was apparent that the following day it was time to perform a home pregnancy test.  Another five nail-biting minutes later, it was finally revealed that one speedy tadpole had indeed been the victor.

So now I’m a middle-aged, single mother to be and I couldn’t be happier.  When I think to myself how did I get myself here?  Well, I stayed on my imperfect life path, that’s how.

Image Credit:  Pixabay

Donor Swimmers Over Tinder Dinners

Wading through hundreds of profiles had me moving from optimistic to despondent in just a few minutes.  In those speedy moments, I dissed at least a hundred single men within a two-hour driving radius of where I was cross-legged in front of the TV.  Profiles that featured only one picture, holding a mighty catch of the day, kids, or with a beer in one hand and buxom blondes around the other were instant swipe lefts. So too was the gym junkie look, you know the one where the guys are shirtless having just bounced in front of the camera after doing 20 push-ups to naturally look ripped. Ahhhhh, so many out there. So few truly worthwhile.   

Looking for the “one” while battling crunch time on the inevitable shrinking fertile window seemed fruitless especially when I was specifically searching for juicy seeds that would produce fast fruit.  On the surface, there seemed to be an ocean full of men to choose from, but trying to squeeze one into my marriage and baby making plans wasn’t that promising.  I was convinced that this was the only viable path to meet a man to create the family I so desired. I figured, if I sifted through a high number of potentials at a rapid speed we would fly high together or fail fast and perhaps I wouldn’t miss too many cycles.  

Of the few men I swiped right for Patrick was one of them.  He was quick to take our chat outside of the app that night and to a nearby bar.   An hour-long drink was all it took to secure a second date which was a sweet mid-week catch up soaking up the city skyline on a balmy January night.  It was all very lovely and our conversation rolled over to date number three where he whisked me away on a two-hour drive south for a swim at a popular local watering hole.

To my surprise, it was a nudist tea tree lake located off the beaten track down an unsealed gravel road alongside the coast. Okay, this is where you bring a date eh?!

While my mind was processing a thousand thoughts, my smile concealed my perturbed frown.

Pat stripped down to his Euro togs and jumped straight in.  It took me a little longer to undress and slide into the murky pond. The sun’s rays were laser strong and the watering hole was bathtub warm.  I wasn’t too sure about him but decided to just go with it and maintain an open mind.  An hour quickly passed as we chatted and frolicked about. He then held me close and scooped up handfuls of mud from the basin floor and trickled it all over my body.  Not to mention all over my blue and white bikini which was now stained two-tone turd and vomit shades from the tea tree tannins.

Our conversations deepened over lunch, afternoon cocktails and back to the water for a twilight swim.  This innocent and exciting adventure that he planned on this perfect sunny lovely day soon switched tunes with him revealing X rated stories of threesomes and orgies of days gone by when he lived in New York City.  I nodded along listening while at the same wondering why he was revealing this information to me. Was he digging for a reaction or was he just playing me?  He seemed to be sexually adventurous and I couldn’t imagine how one person or one gender could satisfy him long term.  

His conversation took a deeper twist when he shared a scenario about an ex-girlfriend.  Apparently, she liked to be abused.  So much so, she once asked him to take her out of town to a forest, assault and tie her up, then leave her roped around a tree. He complied and then went shopping for three hours before returning to find her in an irate state.  According to him, she raved about how much she loved the thrill of it all. From then onwards they had to up the ante with something even more impassioned and aberrant.

I couldn’t hide the frown that had set on my face.   It seemed Patrick was very comfortable bringing me into his zone.  However, I wasn’t so comfortable being in his.  My eggs quivered and wilted as he splashed about with the other shrivelled swimmers.  I patted ‘Pat The Swamp Rat’ goodbye and shook off the dirt he left on my mind, body and bikini.

I sailed straight into a date the following week with the slick Mr Yachty.  He ran his own boating business that took him around the world to play and ogle over rich boy toys.   He arrived at the restaurant before I did and was waiting for me with wine in hand.  He was friendly, classy and took total control of our date.  These initial first twenty-five minutes scored him a big thumbs up. However as the night wore on, his BF potential and shininess wore off.  

He was on the hunt for a woman to merge into his world and fly around the planet together as a family with his two children.  I, however, could only feel the pain of my wings being sawn off.  I didn’t feel a connection with him and even though he offered a minuscule amount of hope for siring another lass, it would come at a huge price.  Time.  He said he would consider giving a new woman in his life the chance to be a mum down the track if he felt she would make a good one.  Oh, really a test?  Urgh! I’ve done enough dating training and tests over the past 25 years thanks.   So Mr Yachty became a big, fat Mr Yachty McNotty. Cue Enya and sail away, sail away, sail away.

I had major physical chemistry with Tinder date number three.  He instantly grabbed my curiosity when he revealed he worked in the seed business.   Little did he know I was on a seed mission!  He then clinched the attention of my loins when setting up our first dinner date when he inquired if I ate swimmers.   Boom….I found my man!  Our sassy banter lasted a week which then rolled into a three date weekend.

We coasted along from that day forward for a few more weeks. The issue was, seedman had legs but I promptly found out he had no tails. Well, to be fair he had tadpoles but his Vas Deferens, aka ‘the kill-joy fishing net’ blocked the chance of just one swimmer making a lucky break.  

Seedman’s infertility was the final flag for me to kill flirting about and wasting time on Tinder dinners and get back to scrolling donor swimmers.  Meeting that man who would be my life partner, the father or my children, my best friend, a man I’d marry was about as successful as an IVF IUI insemination – a sucky four percent.  So I traded speed dating for what I thought had better returns, the IVF donor library.  

My prime dating nights were then spent perusing potential donor profiles, expanding their pictures into large fuzzy blobs on my computer screen, and going over genetic details with a fine tooth comb.  Donor dating was vastly different to internet dating offering real potential to turn a hope into a human without dating pains and more intense motherhood scrutiny.  One cycle I could choose a blonde and next cycle, give the computer brainiac a whirl. And I could do this in the comfort of my activewear while curled up on the couch.  

At the time, this seemed to offer far more hope than dating.  Instead of finding ‘the one’ to have my child with I decided I would create that special one myself.  If another special ‘one’ came along, well then, that too would be more than OK.

Image:  Pixabay

What Exactly Is A Known Donor?

The known donor term tends to bring about a lot of confusion by what it actually means. When I referred to my known donor in the first instance, having never met or communicated with him other than through my keyboard, he was my ‘unknown-known’ donor.  Once we had caught up on Facetime he was no longer unknown to me, he then became known.

According to John Meyger, an admin for the FB Group ‘Sperm Doantion Australia’  who has been an active donor for decades says “donors can be classified in three types of ‘knowness’  with you, your child or children and his other donor children.

In his FB post he writes donors can be:

1) Known Donor Co-Parent – The known donor in this scenario actually plays a role in your child’s life.  He has significant input into raising and financing the child/ren.

2) Known Donor Anonymous –  This is where you both use false names and even fake profile photos and never plan for the donor or the child to know of each other.  As facial recognition technology has advanced so much, some men don’t want ever to be identified. This means you will have to trust his words when you connect as you may never know what they actually look like until you meet in the flesh.

3) Known donor – Most donors on the FB page fall under this category.  This gives all parties full disclosure of each other.   The child will know their donor and the donor and his other children will know your child. He has zero parenting input and may or may not exist in your physical world. There may be a level of contact through receiving annual photos of the child or it could be that the donor takes on an ‘uncle type role’ in the child’s life.  How you intend to implement the arrangement is up to both donor and recipient and should be clearly defined prior to insemination.

As John says, many women reject “known donors” like himself as they confuse/conflate this with a co-parenting role. “I never donate to “unknown donor” requests and discriminate against these women. The rise of DNA testing and DNA databases means that there is no longer any anonymity for donor children to find their siblings and donor. There is always the possibility for donors and siblings to track down your child with DNA testing.”