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Q: Our sperm donor is getting cold feet
Dear KitschMix, my fiancée and I are in the need of a bit of advice.
Nearly 2 years ago we asked a friend to be our sperm donor. He seemed genuinely interested in helping us achieve our dreams of becoming parents. He understood and was happy with the fact that he will not have parental rights etc (as he never wants his own children). He pretty much said he’d do it, but wants to get legal advice first. We understand his wishes and have cooperated as much as we can to get the legal advice but after 18 months he still hasn’t done it. When we contact him to find out what’s happening he still says he’s interested in doing it.
However, lately our attempts to contact him have failed. And when we do hear back from him he doesn’t seem as interested to help.
What would you suggest we do? We are tempted to try and find someone else, but we don’t want him to feel like we put all the pressure on him for nothing (I don’t feel it was a lot of pressure as we often go months without contacting him, but he may think it is). He got our hopes up by saying he’d be happy to do it once he’s seen a lawyer, and he was everything we wanted in a donor.
We want to have children as soon as possible and were hoping that by asking almost 2 years ago we would be parents by now.
Also, is it bad when I get jealous and upset when I see or hear people around me (especially people I know) that are pregnant and get pregnant without even trying? I’m not normally a jealous person so I hate this feeling but I can’t help feeling this way.
A: Hello Reader! I can definitely understand the frustration you’re feeling right now. While I don’t have kids of my own, I tend to be pretty bothered when someone says they’re going to do something, and then they just don’t do it. And rightly so! You have every right to be upset about this situation.
However, you need to determine what’s happening in your situation. He doesn’t want kids of his own, he spoke to his lawyer and still is interested… But he doesn’t seem interested. There are a million possibilities why he may have cold feet – have you seen the episode of The L Word where Bette and Tina are trying to find a sperm donor? (It’s the pilot episode, so if it’s been awhile since you watched Season 1, it could be a good idea to rewatch it.) Their “sperm donor party” shows a million different reasons why someone might not want to be a donor – and even if he said he did in the past, it’s entirely possible that he’s thought the scenario over in his head and decided it no longer works for him, but he’s unsure of how to break the news to you.
No matter how slighted you may feel by this change in plans, it’s important that you realize the only thing he’s actually done wrong is the lack of communication. Him changing his mind, although frustrating, is entirely understandable – after all, contributing to a human life is a huge undertaking even if he washes his hands of the whole thing immediately after conception.
Another possibility may be that he’s with someone now who doesn’t approve of the situation, or doesn’t know about it – so he no longer wants to follow through (or he’s afraid of his own partner finding out about it). Spoiler alert, an unwilling partner-of-the-donor comes up in The L Word, too.
It’s easy to write this stuff off as fiction, but I actually had a situation like that come up. A few years back, I began the search for a donor for the woman I was with at the time. We weren’t ready yet, but we were getting our options penned out ahead of time. Well, fast forward to a year after choosing one of my best friends, and he has a new wife – who forbid him from donating so we could have a baby. He didn’t want kids, but she did – and she didn’t want him giving a child to someone else before he gave one to her.
(In my situation, his wife actually broke up our friendship together eventually. I wasn’t really in a position to prevent it, and I hope that doesn’t happen with you and your friend, but it’s important to know that it can happen.)
My guess is that if he has already gotten cold feet, he will understand that it’s not you who unnecessarily put pressure. After all, you put the pressure with the intention of him following through – and if you determine that it truly is him trying to back out gracefully, he will be relieved if you give him the opportunity.
However, there’s another side of the coin, as well. Is it possible that you’re just not on the same page as far as the scheduling goes? He may have initially agreed to it thinking it was a point far out in the future – and now your pressure is making him feel as if he’s rushed to do it now. You must consider the possibility that he is still willing – just not quite ready yet. Keep in mind that the receiver of a gift is rarely the one who chooses when it’s delivered.
For your final question – you have every right to be jealous. You’ve been patiently waiting for someone else to get their end of the deal in order, and still you have no baby! It’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to be hurt, and it’s ok to be frustrated. What’s not ok is if you use that pain and jealousy to make you negative. That means that this is one of those conversations that should stick to you and your partner, and not the moms and dads you’re jealous of. Be happy, and share in their happiness – your baby will come exactly when it’s meant to.
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