I always imagined I would have a family one day. When I was younger, I just assumed it would happen because that’s just what people did: they got married, bought a house, and had kids. When I was 26 I moved to San Diego, got engaged right away, bought a house, got married, but I realized I was not with the right person, so I ended the marriage. After we separated, I had no desire to date anyone for about a year and a half. Then, I started to miss the companionship of a romantic partner, so I tried on-line dating. I figured dating would be easy considering that between the ages of 16 and 29 I was constantly dating someone (or I was married). DEAR GOD if I had only known what I was getting myself into! I need to keep this as PG-13 as possible, so I won’t go into details, but there are some shady, deviant, weird-ass dudes in this town. I sometimes question my own mental health considering I made the conscious decision to (briefly) date some of them, like the guy who lived in a basement of an office building in a bad part of town and collected trash to make art and served me wine from a bottle he found at a construction site. Or the geologist who found a rock shaped like a large dick-and-balls that he displayed prominently in his apartment (and who was excited to show me his glass dildo purchased in a head shop in Boulder). But these are just a few. My last (and final) online dating situation ended when I scared off a guy by enthusiastically lip-syncing “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins in his car when I was drunk. The sad thing is, while I was doing it, I was thinking that he was thinking that it was really funny, but actually, he was thinking, “Get this crazy drunk bitch out of my car.” I figured The Phil Collins Incident was a good place to end my on-line dating career.
Therefore, I find myself single at 35 (officially of advanced maternal age). When I was told I had cancer and was going to need chemo, what scared me the most was the potential damage it would do to my already aged eggs. The first oncologist I met with referred me to a fertility specialist, and it just so happened that my period was ending at the perfect time to start an IVF treatment right away. I was going to be pumped up with hormones to get my ovaries as plump and stimulated as possible. I’m currently in the second week of hormone shots, and my extraction (eggstraction?) is set to happen this Thursday or Friday. Because I’m a cancer patient, the drugs are free (they are usually very expensive). Before my cancer diagnosis I had thought about freezing my eggs, but it was too expensive. Now, thanks to cancer, I can do it. (Thanks, Cancer!)
When I first spoke to the fertility doctor, she asked if I had a partner because embryos freeze/thaw better than singular eggs. I told her I was single, but when I got off the phone, I thought about who I could ask for sperm. There really wasn’t anybody. I mean, John Hamm broke up with his girlfriend, but he’d probably be too difficult to reach. I stopped thinking about sperm and went back to teaching. However, that evening I had dinner with some friends (who are doctors and know about science stuff), and they also reminded me about the greater viability of embryos as opposed to eggs. They told me to consider a sperm donor. My friend’s sister had used one and it had worked out well. Well, when I went to the fertility clinic, I mentioned that I may be getting a sperm donor, and I asked for recommendations. They suggested California Cryobank, and this was the site my friend’s sister had used, so I decided to check it out. –>YOU GUYS, this is the stuff of science fiction. It’s wild. I went on, selected blonde hair, blue eyes, 6 feet + , and considered my options. Once you register, you can see their family health history, a writing sample, staff impressions, their college GPA and degree, etc. If you pay for an upgraded membership you can see their baby pictures.
I selected some favorites, looked through their family health history (eliminated some based on that), and then voila! I found my future anonymous baby daddy. He is a bio-engineer, and based on his interests/hobbies, writing sample and staff impressions, he’s also funny and charming. My perfect man! Then I started to wonder about possible future scenarios that would arise due to this anonymous sperm donor. Here is one I considered:
My five-year old blonde-haired, blue-eyed, bright and bubbly little one would ask, “Mommy, where do babies come from?”
“Well,” I’d say (then take a deep breath)…”When a young, attractive man at a prestigious university is walking on campus, a recruiter from a sperm bank may approach him about donating his genetic goods in return for a nice paycheck. The young man’s ego may be stroked by this proposition, and the appeal of cash for beer and books may be enticing enough for him to jerk off into a cup that is then tested and, if approved, frozen and kept waiting for single and/or gay women to pay for.”
Or, there’s a slight chance I may meet a man in the next five years (I have to take meds for at least five years after my chemo/radiation regime before I try to have children–so I’ll be 41) and I’d have to have this conversation:
“So, babe, you know how I used to have cancer?”
“Well, I had my eggs frozen before I started chemo, and I went ahead and got a sperm donor because there are greater success rates with embryos, and so I basically have a baby with another man, and it’s currently in a freezer in Indiana.” *There is apparently a place in Indiana that would store my embryos for a decent price.
‘And, well, here’s the deal. You’re, like, a solid 8.5, but this sperm donor was a 10, AND he was young. You’re kinda old. Do you wanna just use that embryo? I mean, there’s probably a greater chance that the kid would get a scholarship or something. I mean, being a father isn’t about donating sperm; it’s about a raising a child.”
——>aaaaaaand another relationship ends.
Well, folks, turns out that the whole sperm donor situation would get expensive, so I didn’t order any. I’m just saving my eggs. But it’s nice to know that, if I need it, I can use California Cryobank in the future.