We are very grateful to all those who have taken the time to write about their personal experiences of donor conception and issues relating to it. These stories are invaluable in helping to share common feelings around complex issues. Reading about how others have dealt with things is often very reassuring. Use the drop-down options to search for particular story types. And if you would like to contribute your own story, please do get in touch with us.
In the last year, over the course of four IUIs intrauterine inseminations and one IVF in-vitro fertilization procedure, I have purchased millions of sperm "donated" by men whose names, ages and places of birth remain unknown to me. My journalist husband and I sit down together on Saturday evenings to shop the overwhelmingly diverse, abundantly stocked sperm bank's website. Michael, my spouse, is a rectal cancer survivor treated with radical radiation, whose sperm growth, as a result, progresses only to its third of four maturation levels, stopping at what the doctor calls its "adolescent stage. I should explain: We'd made a serious commitment to each other three years earlier when I was 36 biological clock ticking like a bomb with the understanding that we'd attempt to have a child naturally or, for me, the relationship would be over. Michael had never wanted children, but he wanted our connection -- so much so that he was willing to open his eyes to the possibility of fatherhood, and willing to try with me on a very regular basis. By the time we wed, however, we knew what we were in for in terms of fertility obstacles.
When we got married, Charlie and I solemnly vowed to care for each other in sickness and health, in good times and bad. I had faith that we would someday face such vague adversity hand in hand, with grace and fierce protection for each other. Or, failing that, at least make a reasonable attempt to circle the wagons.
Print this Article. Even though infertility strikes men and women equally, and men and women may feel similar emotions upon being diagnosed, their experience of infertility may be quite different. Society encourages women to express feelings, which helps them seek the support of others and utilize available resources. Men, on the other hand, generally are taught to suppress emotion, increasing isolation and diminishing the possibility of receiving help.