“Family Only”

Last night my wife Dory and I went to visit our good friends, Luna and Dan, and their brand new baby. She is so precious! I have been craving baby and this fix hit the spot. Four more months til ours is on the outside!

The new mom and dad were inviting “family only” to the hospital and we were honored to get the invitation. We’re Auntie Molly and Auntie Dory even though there’s no blood relation. But the thing is, there will be soon.

Dan is our sperm donor. Our baby and their baby will be biological half-siblings. Since our friends will go by Aunt Luna and Uncle Dan for our kid too, we’re calling the babies “cousins.”

When Dory and I first started about starting a family (seven years ago!), we hated the idea of a sperm donor but it was a necessary evil. We looked at adoption and foster care very seriously, but in the end it came down to what we could afford (and which process we were prepared to put ourselves through). An anonymous donor seemed like the best way to go though we were uncomfortable with some stranger having such a big impact on our child’s biology and identity. Would she want to meet him? Would she see him as her father? The idea was very threatening. We wanted our baby to have two parents: us. Being “forced” to involve someone else to make that baby happen sucked. A known donor would just call attention to the fact that there was this third pseudo-parent out there even more than an anonymous one.

Luna was a very close friend when we made the decision to have her officiate our wedding. We were still close when we were both bridesmaids in her wedding to Dan a few years later. For some reason on his wedding night I got into a conversation with Dan about having kids and he casually offered to be our sperm donor if that was a route we wanted to go. It instantly clicked. I talked to Dory and it clicked for her too. It was almost the opposite of what we thought we had wanted, but it just felt right.

There was nothing “threatening” about Dan becoming a part of our family. He is absolutely amazing and we’d be lucky to have him as an uncle figure without the biological connection. The bogey man of this nameless looming sperm donor interloper disappeared and a friendly, feminist man who we trusted completely stood in its place. When we thought about “Dan” instead of “the donor,” everything was different. He is everything we want in a husband for Luna and will be an amazing dad to his new baby. Luna and Dan were going to be in our child’s life already so it didn’t feel like adding in an extra potentially-competing parent.

Everything about it still felt right while we did the at-home DIY inseminations. Luna would bring the product out of their bedroom and hand it to Dory in their guest bedroom. We’d hang out before and after (or sometimes not) and it somehow wasn’t awkward. It was great to spend so much extra time with them one week of the month.

I love that our new little families are linked forever. Four years ago before the idea was brought up I never would have thought I would. They’re coming to our baby shower and to the hospital and it is because they’re our best friends, not because Dan is somehow also a dad to our baby. We’ll raise our daughter letting her know about her biological connection to Uncle Dan (in age-appropriate ways over the years). She can define the relationship however she wants. Dan, Luna, Dory, and I are all comfortable with that. To us he is the donor not the father and we are secure in knowing our daughter will know her moms are who raised her, regardless of how she defines her relationship with Uncle Dan for her own identity development. I love that she can just casually ask him about some hereditary thing without there being a shroud of mystery or even shame over the idea that this man helped create her.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and I’m proud of mine.

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