Friday, February 16, 2007


What were the recipients thinking while we waited for the contract to be finalized by the lawyer? While Sonia and I were trying to decide if we should donate to these recipients we were sending them questions every day and receiving their answers with the same frequency.

Then we started to hash out the contract and resolve logistical issues and that precipitated its own flurry of emails. Now it was all over except signing on the dotted line. Once we had given the embryos to Jenny and Erin their next task would be to try to get pregnant. That was going to consume a lot of time and energy. I wanted Jenny and Erin to know that they were not obligated to keep up as much of a correspondence as we had been enjoying. So I wrote them a note to make sure it was clear that we knew they had their own lives and did not expect them to spend a lot of time writing to us:

"Before you get pregnant, I want to tell you that I understand your feelings and priorities will change when you have kids. You can't know right now how you will feel when you are moms. That's why it's in the contract that you only have to update us once a year. The main thing is that we trade pertinent medical info since that could affect our kids' lives.

Before we had kids we knew we didn't want a donor who was a friend since that would obligate us to an intensity of relationship we might not want to maintain. We picked our sperm bank because it had the most info on the donors: photos, audio, video, personality profiles, etc. We thought that would be enough. In our case, however, once we had kids we found ourselves wanting more info about the sperm donor.

There have been a million times I wanted to talk to the donor (or really to his mom!) to ask about something: was he tall as a baby like our son? Is he good at math? I'm not, but our son knew all the numbers visually at age 2. Was his hair blond as a baby? In our case, anonymity has not been optimal.

You may well feel the opposite way. So once you get pregnant and especially when you have kid(s) from these embryos we are going to really back off and let you set the pace. If you contact us, we will respond, but if you don't contact us for months we won't contact you unless it's something important. I don't want you to think we are planning to snub you -- I would be excited to hear how your pregnancy is progressing, etc. But we don't want to be intrusive and want you to know that in advance so you don't think there is something wrong if we drop contact."

We were donating the embryos to Jenny and Erin free and clear. Besides letting us know every so often that their kids were doing well, Jenny and Erin owed us nothing. And we wanted to make sure they knew it, before they became parents and had so much else to deal with. Here is what they wrote back:

"We were in the car last night on our way
home and began talking about how excited we are at all the possibilities and how lucky we feel (in general) with our lives. We were including in those possibilities, the possibility of having sort of an extended family. We love the idea of knowing our donors. We both know that once we have children our priorities may change.

I know that both of us feel very strongly about having relationships with our family and having strong steady friendships. I think that we would both want that with you after a child is born. This is difficult to explain, because I don't want you to feel like we are going to be calling every second or emailing and using up all your
text messaging! Or in general just being intrusive in your life.

That being said, we also understand if you do not feel like responding to any of our emails that are not "business/child" related. We, of course, enjoy the correspondence but understand if you do not see is as "needed" or "necessary". We just want you to have a good idea of who we are and would love to know about you and your family (in due time). We realize our day to day lives are going to be very separate but I think that we also feel very blessed to have the opportunity to form and maintain a friendship in all

Once again these wonderful women were in sync with how Sonia and I were feeling. Their goals were our goals. We hoped we would be welcoming them into our extended family.