Today we hear from Ris and Marie about their experiences building their family. This is the third story in our new series highlighting and celebrating family building with a known donor. We asked each family in the series the same four questions and left their voices and messages unfiltered so you can hear directly from them. We hope you find this series helpful, and as always, we welcome your feedback.
We are continuously inspired by the love and tenacity of all the families in the Mosie community. Our sincere thanks to Marie for sharing their story!
How did you know you were ready to start your family?
We want to start by saying, we aren't your typical "modern family". When we started trying to conceive, we were already proud parents of a 10 year old boy. He's the product of a previous relationship. Although he isn't bound by our blood, it wouldn't make us any closer. When I (Ris) met Marie she embraced the package deal. We always said we wanted to add to our family however, we didn't feel we were financially ready. We wanted to have a house, cars paid off and a long list of other things. Fast forward almost five years, we decided if not now, then when? Years had passed us by and our "clocks were ticking". In 2017, we began our TTC journey.
How did you find your donor? Did it take a long time?
We joined a lot of lesbian TTC forums, groups on Facebook, and looked into a lot of the recommended cryobanks and websites. Some of the websites charged a fee to do a simple search and others only provided minimal detail about the donor. We eventually took to Google and came across Knowndonorregistry.com(KDR). The website is completely free, donors provide a brief bio and pictures. I always refer to it as the Facebook of donors. You can search by location, nationality, and even height. KDR was so promising because we weren't completely sold on the idea of having an anonymous donor. Within no time, we found our donor and reached out to him immediately.
Any advice on how to approach the topic of signing a contract with your donor? Was it awkward or were you all ok with the whole process?
When we initially met our donor, we clicked almost instantly, so the topic of signing a contract came easy with us. If it hadn't been, we would've been very direct with what our contract entailed and clarified our stipulations. Our advice is to be upfront and confident with your terms and what you're expecting.Be open to discussing the contract but don't feel pressured to make changes you aren't comfortable with. To be quite frank, if we weren't comfortable asking him to sign a contract, we weren't ready to take this journey.
Did you work with a lawyer for your donor agreement?
We didn't work directly with a lawyer however, we did ask a friend in legal to look it over.
A few words of advice:
Know what you want. If you aren't comfortable with the donor or his terms, understand that you have more options.
Prepare yourselves for the journey of pregnancy and post-partum challenges and don't be ashamed to ask for help or acknowledge the struggles that may come your way.This journey is beautiful and the fruit of the "labor" literally, is the greatest gift ever.
*If you’re considering using a known donor, please know that anything referenced here is anecdotal and not considered legal or medical advice. For more info, read this article and checklistfrom Family Equality. You’ll want to be sure to discuss your donor’s physical and mental health, along with STD testing.
If you're hoping for additional resources, check out our full digital course with Connecting Rainbows on growing your family with donor sperm here.