The start of this story technically goes back about 15-16 years, shortly after my second child was born. My wife and I came to an agreement that after recently having a second child fairly soon after our first, we should take a break before having more. We discussed options for birth control.
Decisions were made, procedures had, and — against the odds — we were expecting our third child, Toby, within 2 years anyway.
I made a decision to have a vasectomy performed. As far as Emily and I were concerned, we were finished with having children, now having had 3 close together.
Then, tragedy struck. Toby died unexpectedly of Cancer shortly after turning 12.
We continue to experience many emotions over our loss. Those feelings include the sense of being cheated. Robbed. One of our children was stolen from us by fate against our will. We still have so much love to give to our kids. With that in mind, we re-opened the discussion of having more children.
We weren’t naive about our chances of success. Emily and I are both in our 40s now. But, with open minds and hearts, we started seeking fertility consultation in May 2021.
The first action for me to take was to have a vasectomy reversal, which I did in July 2021.
Emily and I then started having discussions with Newlife Fertility Clinic in August 2021. Emily was monitored and both of us underwent testing to assess feasibility — including assessing the success of my vasectomy reversal. By December, the clinic had all of the data it needed.
During that time, my benefits plan at work came up for renewal. This was a good thing because it allowed me to increase my coverage to pay for fertility medication, which it wouldn’t have before. The new coverage began in January 2022, and that’s when Emily began the process of ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval.
In March 2022, after going through embryo screening and selection, the embryo was transferred, and we had a confirmed pregnancy!
Whose Cookies Are They?
Here’s a scenario to consider.
You’re making chocolate chip cookies. You’ve done your best to prepare, but you realize that you don’t have any chocolate chips! Your neighbour has some and kindly offers them to you so that you can complete your recipe and make your cookies.
Question: Whose cookies are they?
This thought experiment was one that I and Emily had to consider during the IVF process. The reason is that my post-vasectomy reversal testing indicated that I was not a viable donor to produce an embryo. Secondary male-factor infertility: At one time I was fertile, but am no longer.
So, we turned to a donor bank.
In choosing this, we were required to meet with an IVF councillor. One of the things we talked about is the nature of fatherhood, and what it means to be a father to children that I did not offer a biological contribution to.
What is a father, anyway?
Fatherhood is just as much a legal term as a biological one. But the more relevant example, in this case, is a relationship between a male parent and a child. I will be the only father these kids will ever know. They will be my children, and I will help raise them to be the best people with all the love that I have, as best as I possibly can.
Although we had help, we took the time to make the way for these kids to come into the world.
They’re our cookies.
Through this process, I came to learn that sperm donation is seen as altruistic in countries like Denmark, where 90% of donors state this as a reason for donating. This hadn’t occurred to me until I found myself needing a place to turn to for help. So, guys, consider donating. There are often shortages in Canada. It’s an amazing gift to people that want kids.