When Jessica Share bought sperm from a sperm bank in order to start a family, she never imagined that more than a decade later she would meet the donor – and would feel a strong attraction to him.
In 2005, when my eldest daughter was born, I became the first lesbian parent I had ever met. This was the American Midwest, and the only lesbians I’d heard about with children had usually given birth to them in a previous, heterosexual relationship. My girlfriend and I, however, had had to start from scratch.
Ever since we’d met we had dreamed about having kids together. We decided on four and together we chose their names. The next step was more difficult.
My girlfriend suggested her brother-in-law could help. He was receptive, but I took a gay and lesbian legal rights course offered by the college of law at my university, and quickly gave up on the idea of a known donor. Courts had been known to give them custody rights, calling their gift of sperm an act of parenting. When birth moms died, children were removed from their homes to be placed with men they barely knew.
Luckily, we discovered a sperm bank that shipped right to our home, where the anonymous donors signed paperwork that legally barred them from ever seeking custody of the children they helped create.
Because I was writing a doctoral dissertation at home, I would carry the first baby. We matched the donor to my partner – who was by now my wife – choosing someone of average height and weight who had studied literature, had wavy brown hair, and liked sports.
The donor listed his profession as a writer, musician, and taxi driver. My wife and I romantically imagined he was refusing to get a desk job, but instead collecting the stories of those he’d pick up in his cab, readying to write the Great American Novel.