How to Handle the Donor Sibling Question
By Lex Jacobson
Funny how timing works out with things and worlds come together. I had an appointment with my doctor the other day and she asked who would be in the delivery room with us. I told her just us, a midwife, and that we were trying to find a doula, but couldn’t afford an “experienced” one. Turns out one of the Registered Massage Therapists in her office just finished doula training and is looking for a few couples to work with for free to finish her qualifications.
Ideally, it would be great to have someone more experienced, but we just couldn’t justify the cost. We met with the potential doula yesterday after work and we instantly clicked with her. She’s awesome. She’s young and extremely passionate. I did really like the fact that she is an RMT who specializes in pregnancy massage and fertility – I’m sure having an RMT in the room during labor would be an added plus. She’s also gay, which doesn’t really change anything, but I like that she understands the additional complexities of our situation.
My main question for her was how her role would work when I really, really want Devon to be my primary birth partner. She explained that she’s mostly there to be my voice and that if I want, she would coach Dev to do things that might help me through certain times in the labor. I appreciate that. She’s never been to a birth. Does that bother me? Not really… we all have to start somewhere. It also can’t hurt to have an extra pair of hands in the room. If I were spending money, I’m not sure I would invest in someone nobody can vouch for, but I like the fact that we are giving her this opportunity, as she is with us. We’re pretty excited.
Something weird happened this week, and I’d love to hear from others about similar experiences. I was on our sperm bank’s Facebook page just to check it out and started clicking through photos that clients have posted of their children. It amazes me that people can post so many pics – which include personal information – with comments thanking donor #9346 or whatever.
Here I am clicking through the pics and I come across a picture of a mom thanking a donor and I’m suddenly staring at my future daughter’s half-sister. You could definitely see some of the donor’s features in her… oddly enough, the one characteristic that I’m not super keen on… and I was fascinated. She was a lot darker in coloring than I expected (eyes, hair, and skin), and her mom was very blond and light-skinned. Our donor has reached his maximum number of offspring and has retired, so god knows how many are out there. I followed the link to the mom’s profile and totally Facebook-stalked the family.
It’s a surreal experience, and one that I realize I haven’t really figured out how to deal with before. Part of me wants to join the donor sibling registry, but part of me wants to keep my family just that – my little family that’s mine and mine only, you know? We did choose a donor who is willing to be known eventually, and I have no problems with our daughter finding him later in life, but I still don’t know what I’d like to do about half siblings.
Is this part of the process that would be helpful for our future daughter? We plan to tell her from very early on that she has two moms and a donor and explain what a donor is, but I have no idea what to do about bringing sisters and brothers into the mix. I know some of you are in contact with half siblings and some of you have chosen not to be, but I don’t even know where I want to stand on the issue! Would love to hear some advice from others who have already dealt with something similar.