Nightingale and I are looking for a donor to help us have a baby together. She has one 15 year old, and my little one Poppy is now 5, and Star has long since flown the nest at 21.
We have each been hoping to have another child for a long time before we got together. At times it looked likely and at others we’ve both tried to forget about it or push it off, hoping for better circumstances. When Rose and I separated as partners and began the process of figuring out how to be co-parents, I mourned the change in our family and began to close the door on any chance of another baby for me. I know how sick I was when I was pregnant, so it’s likely I’d need more support than is easy to arrange as a single parent, and raising Poppy in a pandemic has kept my hands full. I’d never want to do anything that took away from what Poppy needs to thrive. It just wasn’t feasible on my own.
As Nightingale’s friend at the time, I had wondered if maybe we could create a platonic arrangement to help us both bring a new baby into our lives. Single parents sometimes share houses or live close by to assist each other and I knew it was an important and painfully unrealised dream for her too. But my fertility issues persist, I’ve needed time to adjust to my new life circumstances, and age is not my friend in this matter. So I told myself to focus on all the things that were good about my life now, to remember what I was risking if I chased that dream, and I did my best to let it go.
Then Nightingale and I fell in love, and suddenly we have a tiny, precious, last-minute window, not for a baby each into two single parent families, but for one baby born into our family. There are still vulnerabilities, anxieties, and uncertainty. It might not happen for us. But there’s also all the shared resources, two kids at home who are doing well, and a long-held dream. So, with great care and hope, we’re reaching for it.
We’re letting our people know that we’re looking, because a known, rather than anonymous donor, is the only one we’re willing to consider. It has been so good for Poppy. Being able to update about health and medical information or diagnoses as they arise has been invaluable. Having a name and a photo to share with her from birth has meant there’s no gaping hole in her history. I’m grateful to her donor from the bottom of my heart. She’s a beautiful child who is fully aware of how she was brought into the world and knows down to her toenails who her people are and her sense of belonging. I have no regrets at all about how we brought her into the world, and no doubts about how deeply she is loved.
Here in SA, clinic donors can legally assist 10 families in our state to create children, and more interstate or overseas. These unknown half siblings can have very difficult relationships with each other if they meet, and some find it challenging to have so many other donor siblings out there. A known donor who has never donated before or assisted only one or two families who are known to each other is a very different scenario. There’s still a lot to learn about the unique needs of donor conceived children, but the research and learning from the now adults is all pointing towards openness, honestly, and shared knowledge, and away from anonymity, secrecy, and large numbers of children being conceived from small pools of donors.
We know there’s often people in personal networks who are good folks, who already donate blood or have a family member who needed IVF with donor eggs, and if they knew their friend, or friend of a friend was looking for assistance they’d be happy to explore it. And if we’re not the right fit or this isn’t the right time, there’s many other wonderful people out there who need assistance too and we can point you towards those networks. So, if you’re in South Australia, between 25 and 40, happy for us to get to know you and discuss how the AI donor process works (there’s no sex) and what it means to be a known donor (not a co-parent), please feel welcome to reach out.