When I was pregnant with Bingo, our donor retired.  At 24, he was done donating.  At 31, with no actual, out of the uterus babies on which to base our decision, Sea and I were left trying to decide how many babies we might want and how many vials of the now limited edition sperm it might take to conceive those potential babies.

I don’t remember the exact math that landed us there, but somehow we ended up with four vials of Lefty’s sperm in 2013.  They sat chilling at Clinic 3 until the beginning of 2016 when, after my period began on January 1st, one of those vials was used to conceive Powerball.

The incredible luck of conceiving Powerball on the first try meant that we had three vials left. In the hospital room, minutes after Powerball was born, I declared that we were done with two. Over time, Sea became more resolutely “two and through”.  I felt some feelings as we left babyhood behind, but also knew that I was at capacity: physically, financially, mentally, emotionally.  We were done. But were we done-done?  Done enough to part with those three vials of frozen-in-time ejaculate?

We hung on to them.

In 2018, my relationship with Sea was struggling in a big way. After a conversation where we seriously discussed the possibility of separating, we decided to try couple’s counselling.  “How will we pay for it?” Sea asked.  Without thinking about it, without hesitating, I replied: “We’ll sell the sperm.”

Sea agreed, and we posted to our Facebook group of donor sibling families offering up the sperm. Though nobody replied right away, a few weeks later a new member joined the group and asked if we still had vials to sell.

We did.

After about a million phone calls and e-mails to two fertility clinics, an in-person visit to Clinic 3, and more paperwork than I would have to fill out to transfer a house, a kidney, or an actual baby, one of those vials of sperm was packed up into liquid nitrogen and sent off into the world.  Though I know a little bit about what happened with it, the story of that vial is no longer mine.

Then there were two.

It seemed that nobody wanted those remaining two vials, which could have meant that they ended up flushed.  But a funny thing had happened in the process of selling the sperm: Sea had become less certain that we were done-done.  And when she wavered, I wavered. What if, one of us said, we used those vials?  IUIs, nothing fancy, just a fun game of fertility Russian Roulette.

Our relationship was still struggling.  We were still at capacity, in every way.  It was, in many ways, a terrible idea.  But we also knew that we would never look at a kid that this gamble might conceive with regret.  So, at the beginning of March, a year to the day after the injury that ended my dad’s life, we went back to Clinic 3 for an IUI.

I found out that I was pregnant on the day of the Spring Equinox. It felt meant to be.  But just because something feels a particular way, doesn’t mean it is.  And sometimes dates are just dates.  A second beta revealed that the pregnancy wouldn’t last, and a few days later I began to bleed.

Then there was one.

Our first response was to say that we had tried, that it hadn’t worked, and that we would move on with the two kids that we had.  But as I bled, I turned to Sea and said, “What if we used the last vial?”

The answer to that “what if” is currently rolling around in my uterus: I’m 20 weeks pregnant, with the third baby that I’ve been sure, at many times, we wouldn’t have.

I’m sorry for not sharing the story of those 20 weeks with you here, where I once counted every ultrasound.  The pregnancy has been my rockiest: including loss and risk, as well as the embodied knowledge that loss can happen, that my others just didn’t have. It has felt dangerous to name, even to the people closest to me.  It has also included moments of joy, plenty of humour at the hands of a new fertility doctor who managed to be unintentionally offensive at every turn, and growing excitement that maybe, just maybe, this story could end with three.

Of all the things I thought I would be doing at 35…

I never imagined that selling my sperm would be on the list.


As you all know from avidly reading my blog, Bingo was conceived with the aid of an anonymous donor: the same one we used to conceive the still-cooking Powerball.  The donor is identity release– when Bingo is eighteen she can choose (or not) to find out his name and last known contact information– but for now he’s a man of mystery.

What I haven’t mentioned before is that we do know a small something about the other side of Bingo’s genetics. Continue reading

A visit to Clinic One.

I woke up to the sound of our alarm clock, early enough on a fall morning that our room was still completely in the dark.  I squinted as I rooted through the laundry basket of clean, unfolded clothes: hoping desperately that the clothes I grabbed would both fit and vaguely match.  Then I stepped out into the cold and headed downtown to Clinic One.

Yes, this was this morning.

Continue reading

Switching it up.

Despite the undisguised bitterness over January’s negative result, I’m beginning this cycle with some modicum of optimism.  I may not have been humming a happy tune or skipping down the hallway as I headed towards Clinic One this morning, but I also wasn’t kicking my feet against the taupe tiled floor.  Enough is shifting this cycle to make it feel like we’re doing something different, not just expecting a different outcome with the same steps.

Of course most things haven’t changed between January and February.  Heterosexist Receptionist greeted me by name in the same, slightly nasal, voice as always.  The blood draw technician, not the blood drawing miracle worker, still couldn’t find a vein in my arm.  I ran into the same acquaintance in the waiting room.  Dr. Text rushed down the hallway at the same frantic pace.  But some things were different.

There were the small things that make every visit to Clinic One different enough to write about: the Christmas tree was finally gone, replaced by a chair, and the blood draw technician told me that riding a bicycle would make my ovaries shrink.  In addition to running into my acquaintance, I also ran into two actual friends– a couple, there for their first visit.  (“Oh, you know them?”  Heterosexist Receptionist said, with surprise) and I sat with them as they filled out their paperwork and I waited for Dr. Text.

Then there were the bigger things, like my visit with Dr. Text.  Though his race down the hallway hadn’t slowed over the past couple of weeks, his first words as he sat down at the desk and opened my file were, “Now let’s go through this very slowly”.  It turns out that a slow read of five months worth of medical documents takes five minutes for Dr. Text.  As he settled on to January’s paperwork, he told me that he thought it was time to try medication.  He explained that, if somebody asked, he wouldn’t be able to say I was infertile– that, in fact, he didn’t actually think that I was.  But, he continued, he understands that this is costing a lot of money and, repeating one of his oft used lines, he can’t just tell us to go home and have sex.

Dr. Text raised the issue before I could, but I had been planning on asking.  As a person who generally considers taking two Advil excessive, I find the idea of fertility drugs disconcerting.  After three months of trying, there’s really nothing to suggest that I’m infertile and not just unlucky.   At the same time, I’m learning very quickly just how emotionally and financially draining this process can be.  Sea and I have spent thousands of dollars on sperm, procedures and various pills, powders, oils and suppositories with nothing to show for it—not even a lousy t-shirt.  I’m sure the ends will justify the means and our kid will be worth every penny, but we would prefer to get there sooner rather than later.  My health insurance covers medication, including fertility medication, so this increased chance isn’t going to cost any more money.  I left the office with a prescription for Femara.

The other big change for February is our new donor, made necessary by the fact that Mickey retired at the impressive age of 24.  I appreciate having the option to blame other people when situations aren’t going my way, and I’ve decided that blame for the IUI failures to date should be placed squarely on the shoulders of  the young drum circle enthusiast who donated his sperm.  I don’t know whether the sperm was inadequate or fate intervened to prevent the creation of a dangerous killer but, either way, Mickey wasn’t working out.  I’m confident that our new donor—Lefty—will be impossibly virile and using his sperm will result in children who will awe everybody with their impressive accomplishments and bent towards pacifism.

New month, new meds, new donor– here’s hoping for new results.

Total Ultrasound Count: 25

Really? No, really?

Of course we would like this cycle to work, and we’ll know whether or not it has by Tuesday.

But we also are trying not to pin all of our hopes on approximately 1.5 cc of twice-washed sperm.  As summarized by Sea in Hey, Mickey, we had a first choice donor who was ahead by a mile and also in very limited supply.  We had managed to procure a total of three vials (so now two) from a regional supplier, and had been promised that another regional supplier would do a little networking and sperm juggling to procure another three.

That regional supplier forgot to follow up with Xytex.  The two remaining vials we have may be the only that we’re going to have.  Because our contact forgot.


Well, shit.

So, today’s the first day of my cycle.  And at Clinic One, day two is when you go about ordering sperm.  Which is pretty exciting.  So I call, all excited about my bleeding uterus, only to find out that the supplier of our first choice donor is all sold out.  And that our first choice donor has now left the program.

As discussed in Sperm & Our Guy, our first choice was ahead by a mile.  There’s a slim possibility that we may still be able to get two vials, but that’s it.  With the statistical (im)probability of conceiving using IUI from frozen sperm, there’s a good chance that two vials won’t be enough.  And even if they’re enough for kid one, any potential kid two would have to be from another donor… because I’m not naive enough to think that two kids are going to come from two (hypothetical) vials.

There is a whole lot whirling around in my head right now as I wait, totally on edge.  Are the two vials are even a possibility?  And then what?  What comes next?  After a lot of waiting, this is all happening very, very quickly.

Oh, and Sea is out of the country until next week.  We’re just going to have to make major life decisions via Facebook chat.

Well, shit.