“I’m not wasting any time chasing a relationship when I could be trying for a baby.” This is how one woman explained why she had pre-arranged sex with a total stranger. She met him on a dating site for sperm donors, and the only reason she slept with him was to try and conceive a child.
How far would you go to fulfill your dreams of parenthood? For some women, they're turning to what's being called "natural insemination." While traditional donor sites are intended to provide single women, lesbian, or infertile couples with sperm samples to be used in artificial insemination, the new trend is to use something like Co-Parents.net, which is described as a dating site for co-parenting and sperm donors.
What's natural insemination, you ask? Well, it's ... pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
The idea behind these sites is for women who are interested in getting pregnant to connect with a man who's willing to provide the sperm. And not by leaving it in a sterile cup, either, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
In "Sarah's" case (not her real name), she told the Mirror that she'd been using donor sites for two years. She explains,
I want to choose the characteristics that may get passed to my child. If anything is wrong with my baby health-wise I can go back and ask the donor for their genetic history but otherwise there will be no more contact with him. My child will never know him.
Before having sex with "Carl," she only knew a few basic details about him: he was single, had two children from a previous relationship, was healthy, and had a master's degree. Of course, there was no way for her to prove any of this, but after a introductory dinner, she decided to follow through with her plan:
Carl said I could change my mind but I didn’t want to as I was ovulating. (We went back to my house, and) I stood in the kitchen and offered a drink but we both knew why we were there. It felt staged and undressing was very unsexy. We used the spare room because it felt less personal although we lay and cuddled afterwards. I shed a tear then because I was moved by the prospect of conceiving.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, she said things were a little awkward afterwards:
I felt like a man must feel when a prostitute leaves.
Sarah did get pregnant, but unfortunately miscarried before 12 weeks. She plans to keep using the donor sites until her dream of motherhood comes true.
The Mirror researched some of the posts on donor sites, and found that both women and men were pretty direct about what they wanted:
I’m looking for an NI donor for next week -- the 14th day of my cycle.
Healthy, disease free, 6ft 2in, blond, blue-eyed, 32-year-old professional. Can help with natural insemination only. No artificial insemination requests.
Still, the entire practice raises lots of questions. What about the risks of unprotected sex? Or future claims regarding the children? Not to mention the skeevy responses the Mirror's author received when she set up a dummy account. For instance, one man suggested she wear a dress and nice underwear to "increase his sperm count," and said,
Nature intended us to reproduce with intercourse. During your fertile period, it’s best if we do it a few times so your body gets used to my sperm.
It's definitely hard for me to imagine choosing this option. I can see doing artificial insemination if my options were otherwise limited, but being physically intimate with a stranger? No.
But I'm also not in the same position some of these women are. When your biological clock is ticking, sperm banks may be too expensive, and you believe regular intercourse has the best chance of producing the outcome you've been praying for, you probably become a lot more open minded. Clearly these women are desperate for a baby, and I hope they find their way to motherhood -- however untraditional their path may be.
What do you think of donor "dating" sites and natural insemination? Would you ever consider this?
Image via Co-Parents.net