One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
Flicking through TV channels back in my early twenties, I stumbled upon a documentary about childless couples in the UK and the heartache so many go through to have a child of their own. This planted a seed in my mind and a desire to help in some way, and every now and then in the following years, I’d Google ways to donate but never went through with anything due to my studies, work commitments and the hurdles I expected along the way.
It was around six years ago that I stumbled upon Pride Angel and I immediately felt that this open, friendly website was an ideal place for me to explore this desire to help further. The beauty of Pride Angel for me as a new member back then was the way in which I could be explicit about exactly what I was hoping for - in my case, a small level of contact in order to be on hand should the child every grow up to wonder who I am.
I had lots of requests from people who wanting a donor with no contact, but this I didn’t feel was exactly right for me, and I met a few couples before deciding on the right one - a lesbian couple who lived around an hour away who shared an uncanny level of similar interests. I just knew they were the ones. I would advise that any prospective sperm recipient ensures donors have a full sexual health checkup, and with that out of the way, I began the simple process of donating.
To all of our surprise, it worked on the second attempt (or first one completed properly!) and I was overjoyed to see this very special couple begin the process of motherhood together. From my perspective, I felt that I had done what I’d set out to do and maintained a very positive relationship with the couple, overjoyed to see things develop during pregnancy before enjoying their child grow into the inquisitive charming individual they’ve since become, and I carried on with life, forgetting about the profile I’d set up which was sitting there silently in the background.
One day, however, I checked my emails and saw an email from Pride Angel informing me that I had unread messages, so logged back in to close down my account and to ensure I didn’t raise anyone else’s hopes. After checking through a few messages, and getting back to everyone to say I was done with the process but I’d be happy to chat if anyone wanted some advice on the process and issues that might need ironing out beforehand, a heterosexual couple responded and asked if I’d be happy to Skype with them. With nothing to lose and some helpful advice to impart, we chatted for a while and by the end of our conversation I just knew that it would be the right thing to do to help one more couple out.
They’d previously been through the heartbreaking process of failed IVF and I couldn’t help but think how easy it would be to help, and how much this beautiful couple could offer a child which they so deserved and yearned for. Following the same procedure as before, the process worked on the second attempt again and just as with the first donation, their beautiful child has brought a whole world of joy to them and their wider family.
In both cases, the birth mothers highlighted the contrast between this process and the clinical one and why this made more sense for them at this stage in their journeys. My profile has now closed down for good, and I feel my time as a donor for any other couples is over, but I have agreed to be on hand for further donations to either couple should they wish for more children with the same genetic match.
As a gay man, the process has been extremely fulfilling as I don’t have a desire for children of my own, but a little part of me likes to know that I’ve helped others to fulfil their dream which I get to share in now and then, if only through an occasional get together or a lifelong friendship and photos on social media or WhatsApp.
My advice to anyone thinking of donating is simple - get yourself checked out, decide upon the terms of your donation (contact, contracts, etc.), get a feel for the person or couple beforehand and then just go for it. Seeing two couples so happy, and two beautiful children thriving in a loving family unit is an absolute joy and my tiny offer of assistance has blossomed into one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.