The Donor Talk: When Kids Have a Sperm Donor

11th blogging for LGBT familiesAll three of our kids were conceived using sperm from the same anonymous open donor. We had a lot of reasons for choosing our donor, ranging from the frivolous (like me, his favorite sports team is the Red Sox and he loves mint chocolate chip ice cream), to the more practical, such as traits we hoped would make way into our kids (intelligent, artistic, and athletic).

Ultimately, we chose our particular donor because he sounded a lot like me, physically and in terms of personality. Even though I knew my kids would not be genetically related to me, I was hoping I might see myself in their eyes if I chose a donor similar to me.

In the almost six years since that fateful decision, I have learned that I probably shouldn’t have worried so much about choosing the “right” donor. Regardless of the lack of genetic connection, my kids are undoubtedly a reflection of me. So much so that Kendra and I often joke about the uncanny ability of my family’s genes to transcend time and space.

11th blogging for LGBT families

Yet as my initial fears that my future children would not bond with me, or that I would not see myself in them, have long since been left to the wayside, I have developed a new fear… well, more of a trepidation.

The donor talk.

Because at some point my kids will put two and two together and realize that mommy and mama don’t have the necessary equipment to make a baby.

We’ve danced around the topic with Addison, our five-year old, each time truthfully answering her questions about where babies come from, though with no extra explanation about her own conception. Despite lots of questions over the last few years, she had not made the connection between the biology of a sperm and egg joining to make a baby with the fact that her moms only have eggs.

Until last week.

We were driving home, the three kids in the back of the minivan, me up front. Kendra was at work. I don’t even remember how the topic of how babies are made arose, just that suddenly Addie was painfully quiet, clearly thinking through the stumbling block of how the heck her moms made babies without sperm.

Wait. Mama. So, how did you get the sperm?

All I could think was, “how is this conversation happening without Kendra here too?!”

11th blogging for LGBT families

I decided to just out with the truth.

Not all people have eggs or sperm, so sometimes people will give their eggs or sperm to people who need them. So Mommy and I got sperm from a man who donated it to us. And we used it to make all three of you.

Do you know him?

No, but we know about him… Do you want to know some things about him?


Well, he loves the Red Sox and his favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip.

Mama, that’s just like us!

She sunk back into her seat, and I could only imagine what she was thinking as she processed this bombshell I’d dropped on her. After about three minutes of radio silence, I finally asked her what she was thinking.

Mama, did you know that mint chocolate chip ice cream isn’t my favorite anymore? It’s cotton candy. I really love it.

I exhaled slowly, grateful the first donor talk went so smoothly. I don’t expect it always will, and I dread the day I hear, “you’re not even my real mom!” during a fit of teenage angst.

But until then, we are going to keep answering honestly, and being open about how our kids were created. Because hiding it would make it seem shameful or wrong, and I love our story. And I think if we ever meet their donor, I will adore him. And not just because we share a love of mint chocolate chip ice cream and the Red Sox, but because his selfless gift led to the creation of three incredible human beings…

…who all love the Red Sox.

The Donor Talk

11th blogging for LGBT familiesI wrote this post for the 11th Annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day. Check out for posts from other bloggers. 

You can also read my posts from past years:

About Jen

Outdoor adventurer and traveler. Writer, Photographer & Communications Professor. Wife. Mom of twins plus one. Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassador. Blogger at

, , , , , , ,

8 Responses to The Donor Talk: When Kids Have a Sperm Donor

  1. Robyn Hauck June 2, 2016 at 2:35 am #

    Love the blog, but haven’t posted before to say so.
    Thanks for this anecdote. I conceived my daughter with a donor too, and though she’s still very tiny I think about “the talk” all the time. It’s nice to hear a positive story about the subject!

  2. alwaysaraeofsunshine June 2, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    I love this. This is something I think about every day, I hope our time to share goes something like this as well :)

  3. horsefeathers24Arlene June 2, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    Thank you. I had to use donor eggs and too dread this conversation with my twin boys who are 4 but fully intend to be open b/c I don’t want anything about their birth and how badly we wanted them to be secretive or feel shameful. Recently they’ve started asking us to “tell the story of ___” insert anything, that’s just become their way of asking how something works/happens. Sometimes I’m asked to tell the story of blood and have to go through a physiology lesson while driving to the grocery store. Sometimes it’s the water tower and we go through the process of rain, aquifers, water tables, pipes, etc. It’s a fun way of sharing info and I loved it till I got the same back seat question you had…”Mommy, tell the story of Henry and Liam”. So I did. So far so good.

  4. Betty Jane Crandall June 6, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    You two are remarkable, wonderful, loving human beings, and you have 3 remarkable wonderful, loving children. They will handle it all just fine, just as you are. And you two and your children are hope for the this fragile planet’s future.

  5. Elizabeth Guilbeault December 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. Really enjoying your blogs!


  1. Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day 2016: Master List of Posts - Mombian - June 2, 2016

    […] Adventurous Moms The Donor Talk: When Kids Have a Sperm Donor […]

  2. Talking About Egg and Sperm Donors with Kids - Mombian - June 6, 2016

    […] at Adventurous Moms discusses the process she and her spouse went through to choose a donor—concluding, […]

  3. The Rolling Tide of LGBTQ Rights: Parenting with Uncertainty - Adventurous MomsAdventurous Moms - June 1, 2017

    […] The Donor Talk: When Kids Have a Sperm Donor (2016) […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: