All About Sperm

Well, it was quite a week. I spent an inordinate amount of time talking all about sperm.

I was invited to speak at the American Association for Tissue Banks in a talk directed to sperm bank industry reps about what we as Choice Moms do and do not like about the options available to us.

You can read more about the purpose of my speech here, in my introductory post on Medium, where Rachel Lehmann-Haupt (author of “In Her Own Sweet Time”) invited me to contribute to her interesting collection about Open Source Families.

Prior to my talk, I ran into the man who originally ushered me into the world of sperm — California Cryobank co-founder Charles Sims, an 81-year-old man who has been in this field 35 years and STILL works 50-hour work weeks, according to one of his coworkers.

It was several years ago that Charles brought me to AATB for the first time (a representative of Fairfax suggested it this time) in order to talk to his colleagues about why it was important to change bank policies on behalf of the best interests of the child, in this changing landscape of singles- and lesbian-couple families who TALK to their kids about the donors who helped their family become.

I haven’t seen Charles for a few years, so when I stumbled upon him and his wife, and joined them for cocktails and dinner, the focus of our conversation — for HOURS — were answers to my questions about:

  • “why are some Choice Moms learning from their fertility doctors that the sperm vials shipped were much lower in quantity of mobile sperm than promised?”
  • “define sperm motility for me”
  • “with so few families reporting live births from a donor — generally considered to be about 40 percent — how can Choice Moms feel family limits of 25 family units are at all relevant?” 
  • “we have ideas about how to improve on reporting track records… want to hear it?”
  • “is it superstition to think that some sperm donors might impregnate us better than others?” 
  • “since open identity policies are so radically different from bank to bank, how can banks reassure women that they will be able to track down a donor in 18 years — and what kind of reception can they expect from the donor?”

I will have answers to these and many more in the revised 2014 Choice Mom E-Guide to Donor Sperm, which will include updated policy comparisons and Q&A from all sperm banks who chose to participate.

After the dinner conversation, I had a breakfast roundtable conversation about third-party parentage laws with Ami Jaeger of BioLaw and other sperm bank representatives, followed by my 45-minute talk and Q&A with industry reps…. so, my head was…. ahem… swimming with factoids about sperm and the single woman.

But it was not a 24-hour period entirely focused on sperm. Afterward, I met with a favorite D.C.-based Choice Mom and we talked about… follicles and egg retrieval.

Ah, the Choice Mom journey….

— Mikki


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