Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Quick disclaimer on the photo: I'm no fan of Woody Allen. However, this post just needed a photo of him in a sperm costume as illustration. It's from the movie "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex...but Were Afraid to Ask." I often feel like my life should be sub-titled, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Lesbian Conception..."....you get the idea.
I've been wanting to write about this latest update in our sperm-venture for some time. My job has been sucking the life out of me (and everyone else who dares work there) but here it is 9pm and I'm actually at home!! Wheeee!
"Option" #1: This one's not a real option (yet, anyway). A friend "put a bug in the ear"* of someone she knows about the concept of donation. (That's different from directly asking.) She promised she'll tell me if she hears anything on that front. I don't know who she asked and I'm certain it's no one I know (she's an elementary/high school friend and we don't live in the same state); I only know that he fits our requirements. [Our requirements are that he has sperm and does not live in our neighborhood (and of course HIV testing and no Tay Sachs or CF carriers, though even that last part could go if Co turns up clean on that front).] Well, and obviously that he does not want to be a parent in any sense of the word. I am trying to be patient and act like I don't care and it doesn't matter to me that she opened that can of worms, and for the most part that's true...but also, I'm pretty sperm-obsessed right now.
*I once really did have a bug fly into my ear. It was horrible and traumatic and I have friends who still tease me about the intensity of my reaction, but really, Gentle Reader, think about how it would feel to have wings flapping in your ear. ;-)
Option #2: The second idea is realer. I have a cousin who I've thought of more than once. He's a 2nd cousin, for those who keep track of such things; that means we have the same great-grandparents and not the same grandparents, not that we ever met those shared great-grandparents. I only have one first cousin, and she's, well, a she. This PKD Cousin is the same gentleman my mom once suggested as a donor for both of us. She repeated this suggestion at our Passover visit, pointing out once again that he is only my second cousin. Little did she know I had already sent out an anxious email query, which after some consideration he and his wife answered with a "sure, we would do that for you if we could."
(NO, not as a donor for both of us, we would only use him for Co. On my father's side of the family, second cousins are considered dateable, but there have been (in my humble and scientifically informed opinion) some negative consequences. Diversity is healthy in every. single. way.
The serious catch is that he does not live in the United States. He does not live in Canada, either; I mean a serious plane ride away. However, he has plans to be in the States in both August and September. We could, essentially, try twice and see what happens. (Do I know if those dates coincide with an ovulation? No, I don't right now, but if we were going to try this, we'd just have to try it. With fresh sperm, it IS possible to get pregnant when you're not ovulating. Just ask those rhythm method people.)
The other serious catch is that I don't think it would be a great idea for the rest of our relatives to know (at first, that is) that the child was biologically related to him. That's the reason it took me so long to bring this up with him, more than his distance. He has parents and two grandmothers to have, well, feelings. However, they really wouldn't need to know in the beginning. We want to be honest with the child, of course. But by the time a theoretical child would be old enough to be talk/understand, either my cousin or his younger brother would have produced an heir, and that would change the family dynamic. (I'm having serious tense trouble here. If English has a proper subjunctive, I was never taught it well.)
My family is very spread out, so this child would exist only in photos for my cousin's close relatives (his parents and one grandma live in Canada, and not a part that is close to us, and the other grandma lives in Florida). If the kid turned out to look a bit like him, well, people say he and I look alike. (Because we are named for our shared great-grandparents, he for the great-grandfather and I for the great-grandmother, there has always been a desire to suggest that we have a connection. And, well, we do.)
So the input I'm seeking from the blogosphere is this: does that sound like a crazy and unhealthy idea? Does the idea of not disclosing the child's donor to the rest of the family (including, say, my mom) at first sound very unhealthy? My cousin said he is okay with it either way, so long as the child would know (which of course is a must for Co and myself as well).
We can also just buy the "popsicles" from Sperm Bank of California and we really are okay with that. But I will openly admit that I *like* the idea of having this cousin as a donor. I think he would be a really good Super Uncle. Also....Charlotte has written about the idea of donor as "surrogate self." I can't get Co pregnant, and while I am not heavily invested in picking someone like myself from the lists of sperm bank donors, I can't deny the attraction of this cousin who is somewhat like myself. He's a professional writer...deeply political...very musical....while we do not look alike, really, we were both little blond, blue-eyed kids with Semitic features and that made people say we looked alike. He's only six months younger than I am (though a grade behind in school as a result) and we had a pretty intense bond for parts of our childhood. The most charming example I can think of is playing Simon & Garfunkel duets (he on guitar, me on flute) when we were 10 or 11. I do not NEED to have my genetics represented in this child (and this isn't my brother by a long-shot; I don't have a brother or any male first cousins) but yes, there is something I like about having someone connected to me be number 3 in this project. He even fits my somewhat bratty self-hating requirement of not being 100% Ashkenazi Jew. (His mother converted before she met his father, and he was raised as Jewishly as I was, but that doesn't change the genetics. I do want to intentionally mix up the world, damn it.)
This is too long, I think, but I do want to share it all. So if you've read this far, thank you for your patience, and I politely request your commentary. (And if you know me in that foggy place we call "real life," please do not publish anything that would reveal PKD Cousin's identity. He's not world famous but I bet he'd like to stay that way.)