It’s no secret that when my wife and I decided to start the process of having a child, we needed some help. My wife dreamed of being pregnant, and although I wanted to be a mom, I had no desire to be pregnant. Perks of a two mom household.
Once we (quickly) decided my wife was to carry our child, we had to pick out donor sperm. Picking out donor sperm is a lot like online dating. I’ve never dated men, but from what I understand, a lot of them list their height on their profile – this is true with sperm donors as well. You can sort potential donors by height, build, eye color, hair color, race, ethnicity etc. I imagine every couple has different priorities but ours was a healthy donor that looked a bit like my side of the family tree which included red hair and a good amount of height. We found a donor that we liked and bam, a bunch of doctors visits and a year later we got my beautiful, amazing and hilarious daughter, Amelia.
Nature vs. Nurture
This great debate has always been of interest to me. My father was adopted so my genetic family tree stops at him. Adoption has always been on my heart because to me, family is more than biology. And while the psychology of nature versus nurture is fascinating, living the experiment is next level. My daughter is the spitting image of my wife. They are twins separated by a few decades. But her attitude? All me. Her humor? That’s me as well. Her side eye? Ding ding ding. That’s me. I am not genetically linked to this tiny human, but she is mine. She is half me and half my wife. But there is also another part of her.
The sperm donor is just that, a donor. He’s not part of our lives or our daughter’s life. But he helped us become moms and for that, I will always be thankful. The other thing he did was connect us to some amazing other humans. We weren’t the only people that chose our same donor. While there are limitations on how many families can be created with the same donor, the limit is certainly not just one family. We knew this going into it. It wasn’t a part we were ever thrilled about, but we didn’t really have any other options.
Knowing there could be little half Amelias running around was a wild thought.
My daughter was about 8 months old when the thought became a reality. We connected via social media with another family that used our same donor. We started chatting about our babies’ similarities and how fun it would be to watch each other’s babies grow up. Soon there was another family and another. We started a group chat, and today there are nine families with 11 total children. Two sets of twins and two total boys, with several of us trying to create the second round of babies. This is just the group we know of so far. These babies – diblings (donor siblings) – are being raised by a strong group of women that includes a doctor, teachers and business and nonprofit leaders (among other things). I feel lucky to be connected to them.
Recently, we decided to meet up with one of the families that lives relatively close to us while we were on a road trip. This single mother by choice welcomed us into her home, and we got to meet sweet twin little girls that are biologically related to my daughter. Her half-sisters. That’s when I knew for sure that it was important to stay connected to all these families.
I want Amelia to know both things; her nature and her nurture. We are her moms. We are her nurture. Though these kids won’t be raised as siblings, I like to think that we are all family now. This is her nature. I always wondered what the other side of my family tree looked like. My daughter will never have to wonder. I don’t know what our long term plans include with this fantastic group of families. Will we meet them all? What will we tell Amelia as she grows up? We are still figuring that all out, but I think we have some time.
For now, we remain thankful to science, and donors and new friends and diblings across the country. I will continue to watch these half Amelias live their best lives with their amazing moms all over the country.