I googled “sperm banks California” and got a tons of results. I noticed that one of the banks was located about 6 miles from me. It was a non-profit, queer and single mom friendly operation located in Berkeley. “Perfect~!,” I thought.
I immediately pulled up the “donor catalog” and began scanning all of the available specimen. Some banks give you baby photos along with the descriptions but this operation was more bare bones-which was fine by me. The main information they usually give you is the donor’s health history, staff impressions of the person after an interview, and the donor’s answers to a few basic questions.
At first, I found myself looking at the profiles like I look at potential dates on Ok Cupid. Then I reminded myself that I was looking for a sperm donor. I decided prioritize someone with a good health history who came across as reasonably well-adjusted but not too “normal.” The most important factor was that I choose someone that was an “open donor.” This means that if my kid decides they want to find their dad when they are an adult the person is open to meeting them. This narrowed down my options by about 50%.
After about 25 minutes, I had already narrowed it down to a few people. I kept going back to a donor that self described as a nerd, who goes to comic-cons and who paints tiny figurines for fun. Probably based on my own inherent nerdiness and my concern for having a baby daddy that was a “Bro” I decided this was the one. I just knew.
It was weird because I had expected to be toiling over this decision for weeks but i felt completely settled in my decision and I decided to take the leap and figure out how to buy his stuff.
I called the number on the website and the phone rang and rang but no-one picked up. Disappointed, I hung up and called right back. A very unhappy person answered and every time i would ask a question she would just tell me to look on the website. Undeterred, I immediately downloaded and filled out the forms and sent them off.
I was sent an email a few days later welcoming me to the world of feminist sperm. My IUI was likely going to be the following week, so I called to make an appointment to pick up my spunk for the following Tuesday. I was given a 3:45 P.M. time slot. “Not 3:30, not 3:35, not 3:50, 3:45!,” she cautioned.
On my appointment day I left super early because I was terrified of not making it at my assigned time. I work about one hour and fifteen minutes from the clinic but I had left 2.5 hours to get there due to their stern warnings. Unfortunately, there was a series of accidents on both possible highways to the bank. I called them and they coldly told me the last possible time I could be there was 4. I started crying due to the stress of messing up my first IUI, the money I would lose, and the huge dose of hormones pulsing through my body. The tears did little to melt her cold heart but I got a “maybe we can wait a few extra minutes.”
I hung up picturing the bank as the feminist bookstore (Women and Women First!) on the show Portlandia. I imagined running over the clerks from that skit as I sped through traffic. I made it with one minute to spare.
I immediately the building as the location of two businesses that my friends and acquaintances worked at. Awesome. I took the elevator upstairs and was immediately rushed into a private room. I was asked if I had remained scent free as described in the numerous rules they had emailed me. I lied and replied “yes.”
Another women came in with my tank. She was actually very nice and she pulled the vial out so she could confirm that it was from my donor. She also explained how to use the tank, had me sign my forms, and sent me on my way.
I lugged the gigantic tank to the car crossing my fingers that I didn’t run into anyone I knew. How would I explain what I was carrying? I put the tank in the car and a huge feeling of dread and fear washed over me. It all started to seem very, very real. Like I could be pregnant, as a single mom, in the next couple of weeks.
When I got home the kitties immediately freaked out and started sniffing and rubbing up on the tank. I decided it was a good sign.