Why we stopped worrying about what our donor looked like
Searching for the perfect donor is both terrifying and brilliant, all at the same time! It is a real milestone moment on the road to baby. As if you weren’t already imagining your future child, once you’ve handpicked the other half of their DNA, your mind really can go into overdrive!
Someone like you
I think it’s pretty typical, especially amongst lesbian couples, for the search to begin with a donor who has similar features to the non-biological mother. It makes sense, particularly if the couple look significantly different. My wife and I are the same race, we both have dark brown hair, but despite our appearance being similar in a number of ways I was locked on for a long time about a donor that looked like me. They had to have dark eyes and olive skin which always made Lynsey laugh because the state of my skin tone is up for much debate. Basically, she doesn’t think I’m olive skinned at all!
That was how we agreed on our first donor. To be honest, I can’t really remember much more about him other than he had dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin. He wasn’t the right donor for us, in hindsight. But we pushed on with the treatment, four back-to-back unsuccessful IUIs.
Not according to the plan
2018 got off to an intense start for us, four cycles, four negative tests. I know, nothing in comparison to what some other couples have been through, but it felt rough for us. It took us by surprise, we naively expected getting pregnant to be more straightforward. When it didn’t happen, we made the most important decision we ever made in relation to our fertility treatment – we took some time off.
We had a break, Lynsey changed her diet, changed her exercise regime, we changed clinics, we changed treatment AND we changed our donor. When it came to looking for donor number two we found our priorities had naturally and very dramatically changed. The major lightbulb moment for me came about one afternoon as I spent time with my sister and nieces. My sister looks like me, dark eyes, poker-straight dark hair, while my niece has a mop of huge curly blonde locks. As I watched the pair of them play I realised having basic genetic similarities wasn’t going to make this child feel anymore mine.
Gone were the obsessive feelings about what the donor looked like, instead what we both were drawn to was personality traits and lifestyle. I did insist on one physical attribute – they had to be tall. At 5’4 (on a good day), if I was going to use the same donor in the future, I needed to give any child a mine a fighting chance at some height!
Change of scene
So, we went about our search, not based on eye or hair colour, but interests and accomplishments and that’s how we found the perfect donor – a creative musician with an interest in keeping fit. We were sold, completely united on our decision and with our new donor, we pushed on with our IVF and were fortunate enough to get pregnant on our first embryo transfer. I stop short of saying lucky because we feel like we really worked hard for that cycle. Lynsey made a series of quite dramatic lifestyle changes and getting pregnant really did feel like her reward.
The most interesting conversation we had post positive pregnancy result was about our first donor. It was only once Teddy had been conceived that she revealed she always knew she would never get pregnant with our original donor. She was never truly convinced he was the one. I often wondered why she didn’t say anything before, but I guess these things take a while to come to the surface. And perhaps we needed to go through the failures to arrive at the final conclusions we made about who we wanted as our donor.
Keep an open mind
Our advice when people ask about choosing a donor is always to be flexible. Be ready to go down a route you didn’t envisage originally. And you’ll know when you arrive at the right destination.
Lisa and Lynsey share their life with cute little Teddy on their YouTube channel Teddy Has Two Mams. If you don’t follow them already, you should definitely pay their lovely and inspiring YouTube channel a visit.
If you are two mums (to be) considering using a donor to make the dream of a baby come true, you can start your journey by visiting Cryos free donor search here.