If Freud were still alive, he’d have had a doozy of a time coming up with a term for this dynamic.
As I mentioned, donor profiles are gushing affairs, awash with details about glossy hair, bright eyes, athletic achievements and stunning smiles. They are online dating profiles with some bonus information, like blood type and how Mr. Perfect’s grandparents died. The donors are made to sound sexy and virile.
It’s surreal to read about how sexy a dude is when you’re choosing a dad for your baby, who will ostensibly inherit said sexiness. It’s like reverse Oedipal. We are talking shades of Louis Malle’s “Murmur of the Heart.” I have not seen “Murmur of the Heart,” because merely reading about it scarred me for life. The last thing you want to sexualize is YOUR KID.
On a less-creepy level, maybe you just want to date your anonymous donor. I think that’s a bad idea.
Let’s read this Marie Claire article. It starts out like this:
Michelle, a clinical researcher in Boston, Massachusetts, was contemplating grad school when she saw an episode of Lipstick Jungle that changed her life. “A woman was freezing her eggs, and it hit me: I’m 37, and I want to have children.” Within three months, Michelle had purchased eight vials of sperm from a bank, an experience she likens to “match.com, because you’re looking for qualities in someone you’d want to date. I used Google for everything.”
Michelle means the qualities one admits to publicly. Based on years of observation, I have found that “qualities in someone you’d want to date” include:
- asshole tendencies
- underlying similarities to father
- slovenly (aka a “fixer-upper”)
- emotional unavailability
Going the donor route means you don’t have to deal with your intimacy issues. Yay! But I digressed.
More from Marie Claire:
Mattes, of Single Mothers by Choice, recommends using this filter: “Is he someone I would have happily dated?”
Sperm banks want all their donors to sound like someone one would have happily dated. That’s their job. I happily dated a person who smoked, yet I would never choose a donor who smoked, not even if he were a Benedict Cumberbatch sound-alike talking about how much he loves doing yardwork. (Audio interviews: $34 at Fairfax Cryobank.)
“Instead of trying to have the perfect designer baby, look for a donor who, if you met him and introduced him to your family, they’d feel comfortable with.“
No! You should choose a donor that, if you met him and introduced him to your family, would AWE your family. You should be scraping your family off the floor, so flattened will they be by the gale-force awesomeness of your donor.
The only thing emancipating about this process is that you can uncouple who you thought you wanted from who your child could be. Throw some new variables into the equation. Choose a cyclist if you hate cycling, or a nature nerd, or a tuba player. Odds are these things aren’t heritable, but breaking out of your comfort zone is generally not a bad thing.
Also, let’s forget the part of this post where I talked about incest.