MEMBERS ONLY: Sunsetting as a Sperm Donor

by Justin Rosario

Sometime in the next few months, the five small frozen samples of my sperm will be defrosted, prepared by a technician, and squirted into my friend Jenny to hopefully impregnate her. Depending on the how much the doctor deems necessary to use, Jenny may have as few as 2 attempts left or as many as 4. If she’s not pregnant after that, that’s all she wrote folks! Considering our track record over the last 3 years, I’m not terribly hopeful.

It would be an, forgive the pun, anticlimactic ending to my career as a stud (in the strictly utilitarian sense) but it’s necessary that this be my last rodeo.

If you’re not up to date on my less-sexy-than-it-sounds adventures of impregnating lesbians, here’s the summary: My two best friends, Maria and Jenny wanted kids and they wanted me to be the baby daddy. Maria had Kyle, Jenny miscarried three years ago. We’ve been trying ever since but with no luck. 

Both Maria and Jenny really wanted baby #2. I think Jenny wanted it even more because until she met Maria, she hadn’t really considered having children. As a lifelong lesbian that was never confused about who she was, a husband was out of the question and babies never realistically crossed her mind. All of a sudden, with Maria (with an assist from me), being a mother was not just possible but something she wanted. So as the months, and then years, passed without a second pregnancy after the miscarriage, Jenny started to give in to the disappointment. She went into a kind of holding pattern; skipping doctor’s appointments and passing over opportunities for us to try to get her pregnant. I guess it was a way to protect herself from being let down but reality has a nasty way of intruding whether we want it to or not.

Last year, I had told both Maria and Jenny that 2017 was it. If we couldn’t knock Jenny up by the end of the year, I was officially retiring myself from the baby making business. I didn’t really want to but there’s a known, but not well understood, increased risk of autism the older the father gets. As the father of one autistic son, I felt that I was rolling the dice in an increasingly rigged game.

To be clear, there’s no definitive proof that my son Jordan’s autism comes from me. However, in my entire family, among my numerous aunts and uncles (there’s over a dozen and I lose count) and their numerous kids and and even more numerous grand kids which now total somewhere close to 30 or more, exactly 2 children have autism. One is my son and the other is my nephew from my half-brother from my father’s first marriage. That’s not absolute scientific proof our particular branch of the family tree carries the genes for autism but it’s the kind of controlled study scientists dream about. I really should contact someone one of these days and have them take DNA samples.

Maria and Jenny knew this before we got Maria pregnant. I made it a point to sit down with each of them separately to make sure they understood there was a real risk involved and I would absolutely not hold it against them if they decided not to take that chance. But they were not to be dissuaded, a fact that still occasionally makes me blush in gratitude, and Kyle was the result.

But over the next 5 years, I got older and Jenny kept not getting pregnant after the miscarriage. At 44, even though the chances weren’t skyrocketing of our child being autistic, they were going up and that was becoming intolerable to me. I still really wanted what, for me, would be baby #4 but not at that cost.

In April, Jordan turns 10 and he’s still having difficultly answering “why?” questions because it’s more abstract than who, what and where. He hardly pays attention to other children and prefers to spend most of his time in what we call “Jordan Land”, not so much cut off from the outside world as not particularly interested in it. At the pace he’s going, he will not be able to live on his own as an adult and that reality came crashing down on me and my wife Debbie in the last couple of months. 

When Jordan was 4 and we were trying to get Maria pregnant, we didn’t know how he would progress. We still had hopes that he would be high functioning enough to be self-sufficient. We haven’t given up yet but the longer he stays in Jordan Land, the less likely it is that he’ll ever come out. I wouldn’t wish this feeling of looking into the future and desperately worrying what his life will be like when we’re gone on my worst enemy much less my best friends.

So this is it. I committed to this year and they have the frozen sperm samples. I hope they get pregnant and Jenny gets the little girl she’s been dreaming of. If not, I hope they adopt like they’ve been talking about and I still get to be “daddy” to whoever the lucky little toddler is. Family is more than flesh and blood. My wife doesn’t share a single chromosome with Kyle and she would still murder the world to protect him. Jenny and Maria are genetic strangers to Jordan and Anastasia but they’re their legal guardians if Debbie and I tripped into a wormhole.

It’s depressing that we couldn’t cross that finish line together and I feel guilty that I had to be the one to pull the plug but it was time for this sperm donor to ride off into the sunset.