Dear Straight People,
Look. I know you mean well. I know that this phrase isn’t frequently said maliciously towards us. You probably didn’t even realize how/why it would be offensive. So I’m just going to give you my rationale. Put yourself in our shoes- actually, more like our kid’s.
Please stop calling dead beat fathers “sperm donors”.
Let me tell you why.
In our family, and many same sex families- sperm and egg donors are highly appreciated. Our anonymous sperm donor helped us build our family. He gave us not one, but two kids. In addition to our children, we also were able to find “diblings” (donor siblings)- which is way cool. There are two other families out there we know, and our kids have some similar characteristics (like crazy long toes and occasional ear infections).
Our sperm donor gave us healthy children. Our children motivated us to seek better jobs. For both of us to go to grad school. I was able to find my current job working for NC Breastfeeding Coalition BECAUSE our sperm donor gave us these beautiful children, who helped me learn how to breastfeed and bond with other mothers who need help doing it to.
We get to see this world in a whole new way- through the eyes of our toddler. The way she loves to laugh, color, the way she’s taught us patience. She made us mothers. Our sperm donor made us mothers. He made our daughter a big sister.
And with any luck- hopefully our kids will grow up to be successful adults- contribute to society. Maybe EJ will be an amazing ballerina dancer (if she has it her way)…or perhaps a world renowned equine veterinarian. Who knows. She’s going to do great things. And hopefully can afford to put us in the nice retirement home.
Through motherhood- we’ve made so many friends. Created our village. Motherhood support groups, work out groups, play dates, pool parties, birthday parties. Our children have even brought our extended family closer.
I don’t know what its like to receive an organ donation- or a blood/plasma donation- but its sort of along those lines. We are immensely blessed that this person donated their DNA so we could have a family.
So, straight people-
When you call your dead beat father a “sperm donor”- its turning something our family (and other infertile and LGBT families) view as such a positive person, into a negative one. Or something to be ashamed of. Children are observant. I’ve heard a 4 year old say something to the effect of “my dad is just my sperm donor…”. Or a mother say, “Well my first son- his dad was just a sperm donor…”
So imagine you were my daughter. Sitting next to him in kindergarten. You hear a little boy say that.
EJ knows she has 2 mommies. She knows that other kids usually have a mommy and a daddy. She really doesn’t care. We explain things as she’s ready to learn them. We will always be very open and transparent.
And we will tell her- about the nice man who helped us make our family. He isn’t a father, he never planned to be. He is a donor. He gave us a gift.
Which is DRASTICALLY different that a man, who had unprotected sex and/or decided not to participate in his child’s life. Or a father who left the family.
You see, real sperm donors say beforehand that they are making a donation- long before a child is conceived- and voluntarily give up rights to their biological children resulting from their donation. It is given as a gift to another family.
A man who decides he doesn’t want participate in his child’s life after conception- that’s not a sperm donor. That’s abandonment. That’s an unwilling parent. That’s a piece of shit poor excuse for a human. Please don’t compare this situation to the generous individuals who help infertile couples build families. Its ignorant and insulting.
You’ve been warned.