Author: London Sperm Bank
Last night, over dinner with my sports club, I dropped into conversation that I was a sperm donor. They took it quite well, by which I mean that only one person looked shocked and asked me to repeat what I'd just said.
I've always been one of those people that friends criticise for being overly honest about my life: I don't like to dress things up, and I struggle somewhat with conversational boundaries. I've been dubbed 'inappropriate' by many while at the same time applauded for being direct and not embarrassed to discuss things like masturbation or the snot hanging from my friend's nose...
When I started donating I felt the need to be quiet about it. I worried about this being a new low for me: being paid to donate something I'm usually quite happy to waste without any thought. The money wasn't the reason I decided to donate, but I did fret that friends would misinterpret my motives and think of me as some sort prostitute. I just wasn't sure how the group would react, so I kept things to myself.
This withholding didn't sit well with me, and after a couple of visits, I decided that my close friends know enough my past antics for this to not cause any issues or raised eyebrows. After all, we all masturbate and that's all donation is really... Just with a jar and paperwork. And a bag clearly labelled 'BIOHAZARD'.
So I outed myself as a donor to a friend via email:
Me: 'I'm a sperm donor.'
Friend: 'Cool. See you in the pub later'.
No derision. No disgust. Just acceptance.
By the time I got to the pub, however, it was apparent that the gossip circle had been running at the full belt as everyone knew what I'd been up to and was full of questions. If I'd know just how many questions there were going to be, I'd have prepared a powerpoint deck! They grilled me about why I'd decided to do it, what it involved, was I buying the beers using sperm-money and 'can I be there when you tell your mother?'.
All in all, things were positive, and it proved that my fears of being branded a prostitute were unfounded. Reactions ranged from "I think you're doing a great thing" and "I wish I were capable of abstaining for more than a day, so I could do it" to mildly negative comments around my helping people produce children who should be really adopting or that, from a gay friend, I was in some way having sex with a woman, which he found disturbing. But mostly positive.
One particular highlight of my coming out as a donor was at a birthday where someone asked how my donations were going. From this, the conversation leads down a path to us drunkenly coming up with a marketing strategy for a new range of mini milk. At which point the waiter, who'd be fussing around us throughout, interrupted to ask if we were interested in a desert... For some reason, the birthday boy felt it necessary to apologise.
The most extreme reaction I've had was from my mother, unsurprisingly, who decided that my donating was depriving her of grand children. Despite already having four... But this post isn't long enough to work through the way my mother's mind works. Even she has got over her initial shock (I'm sure the arrival of two more grand children helped), so these days I'm much happier discussing it, and I've even told my aunty. I've not quite reached the stage of checking myself into the clinic on Facebook when I go, but I'm no longer shy about it. I can even, almost, look Toyin, the nice lady at reception, in the eye afterwards...