I myself follow Alex and his family life on instagram, where he shares his own experiences of being a man with infertility. He has come a long way and now has a wonderful daughter using donor sperm. I know there are several out there who could benefit from following his journey, and reflect on the feelings he has gone through - therefore I asked if he would be interested in writing a something for my blog. Fortunately, he agreed to! Please do follow him on Instagram: Pursuing Fatherhood
Discovering that I had zero sperm was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life. Having children had always been a given for me, something I never questioned. My wife and I, who have been together since we were 16 years old, always knew that we wanted children. After we got married, we decided to travel and enjoy married life for a few years before trying to grow our family. We were both still young and healthy, with no indications that there would be any problems trying to conceive. When a year went by without success, I thought my wife was overreacting when she had us both get tested. I felt like we just needed to be more patient, but she felt like something was wrong.
When we got the call with my test results, I was in shock. There had to be some kind of mistake in the lab, I didn’t even know of anyone with this issue! My wife and I were devastated. I remember asking the doctor if we had any chance to ever be parents. Over the next few months we started diving into treatment and looking at alternative plans. I visited the urologist, had lots of blood drawn, and made a few lifestyle changes. I had a surgery to improve our odds, and we waited six months for results, but there were still no sperm. We spent the next year grieving the loss of the child we could not have, the child with a genetic connection to both of us.
Over the course of that year we discussed many options, but kept coming back to the same one: donor sperm. My wife and I both felt strongly that we wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth. Using donor sperm would allow for that while also maintaining a genetic link to my wife. We did lots of research and even met a few people who had donor conceived children. They helped guide us through the process, and seeing how “normal” their families were reassured us that this was a completely legitimate way to grow our family. After feeling so alone, it also helped us to see how common our situation really was.
Before we could move forward, I really wanted to make sure this was the right decision for us. We went to counseling together, I’ve done research, I’ve spoken with recipient parents, and most importantly with people who were donor conceived. I’ve listened to happy stories, and I’ve listened to angry stories. I wanted to have as much knowledge and hear as many perspectives as possible. I wanted to consider all of the thoughts and feelings that our child may have, and the issues that we may face as a family. Eventually, we both felt peace about the decision, and we moved forward using donor sperm.
After four years our greatest wish finally came true. On my 32nd birthday, our daughter, Delaney, was born. Infertility robbed us of so much, but she has healed our hearts. She is the child we never knew we needed in our lives, and now can’t imagine life without. Our bond is stronger than I ever imagined. We may not share DNA, but the effort and love I’ve poured into her is undeniable. I’ve been trying to make the best decisions for her for years, since before I even knew who she was. Our story is not over, and we know that challenging days may still lie ahead. I don’t know how Delaney will feel about her conception, but I know that I will be here for her every day of my life, because that’s what dads do.