How to Pick a Sperm Donor 101

“You don’t pick the sperm donor, the sperm donor picks you!”

Just kidding, I for sure had to pick my sperm donor. Been waiting for a live sperm donor to pick me for quite some time now.

Let me start by clarifying that I have no authority to consider myself an expert whatsoever on picking a sperm donor. I will contribute the success of getting pregnant to some great tips I got from people on how to pick.

Moral of the story, it’s all about the chemistry. Literally. In real life sperm chasing or the online form. As I’ve failed extraordinarily in picking or finding the right sperm donor in real life, I’m happy to say that I figured out the formula for picking the online version.

Here is my story.

When the doctor and I met to talk DIY baby making, I was surprised to find their was no manual, guide or best practices for how to choose a sperm donor. (All I knew was the version I was told growing up. Find a guy, any guy, marry him, and then make a family the good old fashioned way and then do his laundry and clean and cook for him as a thank you.) She showed me the Midwest Sperm Bank which was literally an excel spread sheet with the donors parents ethnicity, their blood type, age, job, some other rando information and then a spot for hobbies to which one donor had written, “Aaron Rodgers look alike!” Let’s just say while It did bring me a moments pause, my smarts kicked in and realized this was an excellent sales technique some dude was using and most likely my baby would look like Chewbacca and not Aaron.

When I started looking at the other sperm donor bank options, I was immediately overwhelmed before I even started. There are 135 sperm banks throughout the US, with hundreds if not thousands of options per bank. Along with that, human men, whether they were joking or not, for some reason started coming out of the woodwork and throwing their sperm at me when they found I was looking! (SUPER figuratively, not literally. Wow, that sounded crazy.)

I did a little internet research and found out the Seattle Sperm Bank had the best reviews. It also seemed they did a great job vetting their donors. There were baby pictures of the donors to look at, a full health profile, audio interviews, and more. It was WAY too much information. I prefer to be told what to do. Tell me which one is the best choice. All I want is a healthy baby, nothing else matters.

This process took me months as I had no one tell me how to pick! I hate shopping, and going through the list of donors was like shopping at TJMaxx. Lonely, confusing, hard to know what the good stuff is and what the filler items are. I had my sister in law attempt to help as well at first, but that was a lot of pressure to put on someone. Eventually I figured out how to navigate the process like I normally do. I wasted a few months searching through man profiles confused. Literally just like online dating.

I emailed the bank for help.

Based on advice from other women who had gone through the sperm donor selection process, there were only 3 things that were important in choosing a donor. And no. FAQ’s tells me you want to know the answer to this. I had zero cares in the world about what the baby looked like. Me, Denzel Washington, George Washington, or Lin Manuel Miranda, I didn’t care. I just wanted a healthy baby and to be able to get pregnant.

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  1. Their blood type complimented mine. So this is important because it decreases your chance of miscarriage tremendously. Some blood types fight others and your body sees the sperm as a threat and not an adorable bouncing baby.
  2. They have no genetic preconditions. This was important to me as I didn’t want to spend the money getting my own genetics mapped. You both have to have the gene for the mutation in order to cause it, so if I have any bad genes, it wouldn’t be a problem because they didn’t have any genetic mutations.
  3. They had already had a live pregnancy. Many of the donors are first time donors and had yet to have their swimmers work in making a babe. Not that they won’t work. BUT because I literally had all my eggs in the IUI basket as I couldn’t afford IVF, this was important so I knew their little swimmers were as good as Micheal Phelps.

I sent this list of requirements to the Seattle Sperm Bank via email and they sent me back 8 choices. I was blown away. Because there were thousands of options to pick from, I couldn’t believe it was only 8 that fit these 3 simple things. And then I still had to pick 1. I wanted to narrow it down again, so I requested they narrow the list to include only the ones of those 8 who fit these requirements.

  1. 6 foot or taller (Because, why not? I could use some help on the higher shelves.)
  2. Smart (They will be rolling with me and I need them to hang. Because I’m sharp. As a tack. In the brains. Or they could help me graduate college. Shut up.)
  3. Athletic. (We be ballin’. I just want us to be able to play sand volleyball together like my mom and I do. Plus, scholarships.)

That narrowed it down to 3 choices. I was going to let my friends pick for me from those 3 options, but ended up picking myself because… let’s be honest, this isn’t The Bachelorette or an arranged marriage.

One of those 3 donors was out of stock, which helped me get it to two. Both of the two remaining donor options were amazing, but I recklessly (or… brilliantly) made the final decision because one of the sperm donors baby pictures had him in a Packers shirt. Where I’m from, being a Packers fan runs in the blood and I didn’t want to end up having to give my kid away because they turned out a Seahawks fan or something.

A picture of the sperm donor I selected as a child. Only a true Packer fan will understand that I had to chose this donor based on this picture. Packer blood runs deep.

Something interesting is that most donors now days are Open Donors, which means when the child is 18, they are allowed to seek out the donor. I’m guessing this is because with modern technology and DNA testing, they would be able to find them anyway. I struggle with this part of the narrative because my hope is that my child has a human father soon and never cares to know where their DNA came from. We will cross that bridge when we have to.

So here I am! Scientifically DIY pregnant with a chemically appropriate sperm donor. Hoping the next kid will be conceived by a sexually chemistry matched live sperm donor and the device to insert the sperm looks and feels a little different, but if not, I at least know the algorithm to get results.

TMI?

Oh, and here’s a little about the lucky donor. Eric wants to be a commercial real estate broker when he grows up. He’s only 25 right now. (Sperm donors have to be between 19-29) He has a sister. His mom is half Filipino and half Irish. His dad is German. He got a 1710 on his SAT’s and considers himself an introverted extrovert. He loves animals and BBQ, and is an amazing athlete.

This is a profile of the sperm donor I chose. It is just a summary, I was also able to listen to him talk, read about his and his families medical history, and more.

A First Trimester Reflection/Over 3 Months Sober

Sorry for the delay in blogging; been too busy enjoying my last few months of freedom before I’m never alone again forever. I will now give you a smattering of information and thoughts that I will separate by paragraphs for easy reading, but each paragraph will not include the same subject and would be graded poorly if reviewed by an educator.  Fair? 

Seriously, being pregnant is awesome.  I love it. I’m telling you, if things continue to go as swell as this, I’m going to get knocked up right away after and go for a second or be a surrogate.  I haven’t gained a pound which is FREAKING FANTASTIC NEWS.  Also, if one more person tells me I’m glowing they’re going to get a big fat smackeroo on the lips.  Seriously.  Love.

I feel really guilty acknowledging this out loud.  There are moms out there that may want to slice my throat open for things going this smoothly.  Including my own mom who has just recently stopped calling me in the morning asking me if “my symptoms have kicked in yet”.  (She had it rough with all 3 of us kids) I will say I did have 3 days a couple weeks ago where I felt fairly nauseous. BUT, I was in Charleston where it was 118 degrees with 1000% humidity so it also could have been that.  I just kept sucking on sour candy and stealing my nieces and nephews snacks they had packed for our field trips and I survived. 

Oh wait, I did throw up once.  Oh, and dry heaved over the toilet once.  So, 2 timesish. But to be honest that’s because I gagged myself with my toothbrush.  If you’ve ever seen me brush my teeth, I get pretty aggressive.  The Little does NOT like my current style of teeth brushing so I’ve had to ease up on that. 

As far as my “say yes to everything” attitude, I haven’t slowed down even a little.  I’ve traveled, golfed, happy houred, networked and gone to everything I’m invited to.  The past week (I’m at 14 weeks) I’ve had a TON of energy.  Over the past few months I’ve done some controversial things like drank the fresh squeezed lemonade at the Wisconsin State Fair and ate half of a really shitty looking lunch meat style sandwich in a box on a golf tournament.  My Little will have my incredible immune system.  I can drink the water in Mexico and sit on ANY public toilet.  (Except black toilets.  I hate black toilets) Oh, and last week I rode on a Bird Scooter because I was late to a meeting. Actually, a date.  More on that later.  I do in hindsight admit that was slightly reckless and won’t do it again. 

Lucky cousins at the 1st Ultrasound!

I had my first doctor appointment with an ultrasound where I got to see that there was one singular Little Travel Buddy in there with 2 arms, 2 legs and a heartbeat of 161 beats per minute so that was really relieving.  I brought with my lucky nieces who were there during the insemination, Georgia and Ivy, as well as their mom Natalie, and my mom.  My best friend Cynthia was there too, but only for breakfast before at one of my favorite breakfast spots in the city (Mimosa.  You must go if you haven’t been.) because she happened to have her 6-week postpartum appointment at the same place and same time!  It was amazing to have the gang all there.  Also, my mom made “ghost” cookies for the staff as a thank you for knocking me up.  (Mind wandering… wondering if she would have baked those same cookies for a guy if that’s how I ended getting pregnant instead?)

“Ghost” Cookies for the staff at the OBGYN office as a thank you

During the appointment, I could tell in classic Lisa style I did a couple of controversial things.  There’s always got to be that one person that goes against the grain, doesn’t there? (I believe our biggest enemy is the status quo so I’m used to the distaste I often get from others when I challenge the norm) First thing was when the doctor asked me if I wanted genetic testing done, I said “Yes please!”.  Listen, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be a-ok with a special needs baby, because I would.  I’m saying, it would be nice to be prepared if that was the case by researching and having my budget appropriately planned for the type of childcare and support that would require.  Test results were negative which is great but not 100% conclusive. 

Second thing I did that made Natalie and my mom feign with disapproval was that I asked about a planned C-Section.  Geez Louise people, I like to know all my options.  First of all, I get 2 extra weeks paid time off for a C-Section with Short Term Disability so there’s that.  (Did you know that the US is in the bottom 5 in the entire world for supporting working mothers having children? We only get 6 weeks paid, but only if we have Short Term Disability, and only a portion of our income. FMLA allows us to take 12 weeks off if we can afford it without losing our jobs. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 16 weeks off for your body to recover) Secondly, I already have a wild gnarly scar on my stomach from an emergency appendectomy so it would be cool to have a collection of them.  Thirdly, I’m still very single so it would be really nice for the future love of my life to meet my lady bits in all their glory before they are destroyed by a human emerging from them.  Just sayin’.  Not saying I’ll do it; I just would like to know my options.  Geez.  (Sidenote:  I love my mom and Natalie with all my heart and all of you as well so I am not at all discouraged by people challenging my decisions and disagreeing with me so I’m not even a little mad at them and you as well if you decide to weigh in.  I went into this full transparency, so I expect the healthy disagreements in opinions. Just so you know I ain’t mad about it and feel free to bring it without hurting my feelings)

My favorite part of the appointment was how excited Georgia was.  I gave her one of the pictures from the ultrasound and Natalie says she takes it with her everywhere.  I was telling Georgia about my doctor and how she has 3 little girls.  I rattled off the names of the girls, one of which was Amaya, and Georgia immediately fixated on that name and now calls the baby Amaya.  Natalie said to Georgia, “but what if it’s a boy?”  to which Georgia replied, “but what if it’s a girl?”  Touché Georgia.  Touché. 

Georgia showing off her 10 week in utero new cousin to her dad/my brother. The cutest ever.

Another quite magical part of this pregnancy is how attractive I am to men at the moment.  I’ve NEVER gotten this much attention in my life from men.  It’s pretty awesome.  My first experience into this phenomenon was in a Taco Bell drive through. (I promise that was my only Taco Bell drive through moment so far. It’s not a thing, it was just the only convenient thing on the way home from a late night work event. But now I really want Taco Bell.) The young man with the headset in the drive through taking orders was in his early 20’s and wearing a taco as a hat. He proceeded to tell me I was “rocking that bomber jacket”. (It was a pretty cool bomber jacket from Rent The Runway.) He wrote his name and number down and passed it to me saying “just in case” with a wink.  Because I was so surprised and flattered, my response was putting my hands over my heart and bursting into a huge smile and saying “THANK YOU!!!!” with enthusiasm because I was over the moon excited to be found attractive to anyone whilst pregnant. In hindsight, I feel bad for that reaction.  He probably was convinced that meant I was going to call him and waited by the phone for weeks.  I did not. It wasn’t the hat. The hat was the sexiest part.

My second experience was a Meet Cute IRL in the Apple Store with one of the Geniuses.  (Meet Cute is what they call it when you meet someone now days in the wild and not online.  IRL means “In Real Life”.  You’re welcome.) He was getting me hooked up with a new phone because I don’t put mine in a case, so it was all jacked up.  We had some fun banter the whole time.  I knew he might be into me when he offered to look at cases with me and left the Genius Bar to go slumming in the retail section. (I know from getting many a broken phone replaced that this is not at all something that happens IRL)  After more banter before I left, he asked if I might want to continue our conversation to which I excitedly replied “YES!” and he then asked for my number.  It was wild.  I genuinely can not remember the last time a man asked for my number IRL.  Maybe in Phoenix, years ago.  A guy followed me to my car outside of the grocery store and offered to put my groceries in the car. Psycho.  I blogged about that and was going to hyperlink the blog post for your to read but I’m so bad at technology that I can’t even access the website anymore. Not to give away the climax of this story but it’s too bad things didn’t work out with the Genius from the Apple Store, he could have helped me restore my old blog. He was hot. Anyways, me and the Genius went on a date to the Milwaukee Art Museum, and then he ghosted me after that.  I did not tell him I was pregnant.  He could have googled my name.  Whatevs.  Still got it!

Sorry for being a blogging slacker.  I do understand I scared many of you with my lack of communication, but I promise me and my Little Travel Buddy are doing great.  We even bought a rug for his or her nursery, so things are getting serious.  I’ll be better this next time I promise. 

Proof!

Thanks for following me on my adventure into motherhood!

Lisa

The Two Weeks After Finding Out I’m Pregnant

Ok, I’m pregnant, now what?

Now I start to learn what that really means. First mind-blowing thing I learned is that the day I found out I was pregnant, I was considered 4 weeks pregnant. Even though I was inseminated 2 weeks before. I mean, I know I’m bad at math, but this just doesn’t add up. Apparently, they start counting on day 1 of your cycle. So hello, today, I’m 6 weeks pregnant! Even though I’m technically only 4 weeks pregnant. #confused (PS, week 4 the baby was the size of a poppy seed, week 5 the baby was the size of an apple seed, and this week the baby is a BLUEBERRY! And it’s making a face this week! Crazy!)

On the first day I found out I was pregnant, week 4 (I know, I can’t and you probably can’t either, but just roll with it) my doctor sent me for blood work to check my Progesterone and HCG levels. Progesterone helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy (which is good) and if the number is low, miscarriage could be inevitable. (I had a 47 and the standard range is 11.22-90) HCG is the hormone that you get when you are pregnant (or you inject into yourself while trying to get pregnant via IUI). My first bloodtest showed me at a 77 (You are supposed to be 50-500 in your first week) She made me go back 4 days later to confirm, as these numbers are supposed to double or more every 48 hours. 4 days later my HCG level was 450. Okkkkkuuuuuur. Girl, I’m pregnant.

I called to make my first appointment where they do an ultrasound. This normally happens around weeks 6-10. They can’t get me in until week 11. I’m all over here like, “So…. what am I supposed to do until then? Just sit around all pregnant and shit?” I can’t believe they just trust me to be doing the right things until then. Thank God for my sister in law Natalie turned Doula who always knows the right thing to say. And the internet. (PS: A Doula is a birth companion or coach who keeps you cool and calm and educated)

An example of Natalie’s telepathic Doula skills: I left my dog with them the day after I found out I was pregnant to go up north with a big group of friends to party on Green Lake for a couple of nights. (FYI, “Party” for me that weekend meant drinking water and watching everyone get ripped, and then leaving a night early because I was tired AF and soooooooo wanted my own bed) On my way out the door, Natalie says, “By the way, you should experience some cramping over the next few weeks, and that’s normal.” Seriously, if she wouldn’t have told me that, I would be FREAKING OUT. So. Much. Cramping.

Speaking of symptoms, I feel great. Seriously, great. The only symptoms I have at the moment are:

-Sensitive Nipples. Yes, I said nipples. I’m sure there are men reading this and giggling because I said nipples. It’s literally my most predominant symptom and the one that reassures me that I’m still pregnant. The rest of these symptoms are just… light.

-Tired AF. But I LOVE to sleep so bring it. I have even taken TWO naps in the the past 2 weeks! Totally unheard of for me. I mean, look how good I sleep at night, why would I ever need a nap? Yes, I’m an insanely good sleeper. But we should also talk about how amazing this sleep app is. It’s been a game changer for me. Sleep Cycle. Download it.

The Sleep Cycle App. Literally the most amazing app I own. I’ll tell you more about it some other time.

-No more snoring and a smaller waistline. Ok, so these symptoms might have more to do with me not drinking anymore, but still, GREAT symptoms!

-Cramps on Cramps on Cramps. This is not my favorite thing because they feel just like period cramps so I’m constantly thinking I’m going to get my period. Apparently right now inside my body, my uterus is stretching and contorting, and building an ADDITIONAL ORGAN (I can’t. I just can’t.) called a placenta to hold the baby. As the baby grows inside, it will just shove all my organs wherever it pleases and the tiny human will take over.

-Not. Hungry. At all. Not mad about it! Don’t forget, I’m still super single so I don’t have that “Your husband will love you no matter what you look like” situation on my hands so I really have to keep my shit tight during this process and not go overboard. Healthy body. Healthy body. Healthy body. I still laugh about this one. (Because it’s SO not me. Girl can eat.) One day, I made myself 3 different lunches because I hadn’t eaten at all that day and wanted to make sure I was taking care of my little travel buddy. I didn’t want any of them. I forced myself to just eat the 3rd meal. It was tomato soup. When it was 95 degrees outside. I don’t get it.

-I’m SO THIRSTY! I’ve never drank this much water in my life. I can’t get enough. Must be ice cold or I’m sad.

The “Cinnamon Tonic” Mocktail from Bodegon

I’ve had lots of energy, I’m not crabby, no nausea (everyone cross your fingers), and I’ve been sleeping around a 95% sleep quality every night. My goal during this pregnancy is to find the best Mocktail in the city (So far Elsa’s, Bodegon, and The Diplomat are in the running.) I’m reading a book my friend gave me called “Expecting 411” which in hindsight I should have read prior to getting pregnant. (The chapter on “Labor” is making me queasy, and I literally had to skip the chapter on “Complications”) I’m using the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” App, and the “Ovia” App. (per my doula, Natalie) I hate the WTEWYE App though because there are all these “chat rooms” and stuff of people due around the same time as you and you get sucked into their madness. So I’m over than one. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Whatever happens, happens.

I’m loving all the support from all the people, thank you. My desperate plea is that you don’t forget to invite me to things just because I’m pregnant. Rent the Runway has a great selection of maternity wear gala dresses and formal events. (I have an unlimited subscription) I’ve also discovered I still have my sea legs so boating is on the table. Keep in mind, I make an excellent designated driver, and I’m the same level of fun sober or not. Promise. I have 7 and a half more months to rip it up alone before my new travel buddy gets here and the rules change. So call me maybe.

Thanks for joining me on my journey!

Lisa

Sushi is tired after reading “Expecting 411”