Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Goodbye LSB. There will always be a piece of my heart devoted to you...

Hello. I'm not really one for engaging in more work than I have to, so I put this blog off for as long as I possibly could.  Although optional, in spite of myself I felt duty-bound to write something, because truth be told, donating sperm at the LSB has been one of the most enjoyable, ego-boosting, bizarre (in a good way) and hopefully worth-while things that I have done. And I'm proud to share that with the world.

As I write this, my last donation is already a week or two behind me. It was an emotional affair. Toyin and Natalie were just on their way out to Sainsbury's as I was coming down the stairs. "Oh hi!" they said, "we're just on our way out to Sainsbury's." I was dismayed. Not having Toyin or Natalie there for my last donation would be like not having your friends and family there to wave you goodbye as you prepare to launch into space! (by "there" I don't mean actually in the room with me, obviously). Trying to stop my bottom lip from quivering I replied, "Oh right... You know this is my last donation right?" The appreciation of what that meant was immediately apparent to them both, and they assured me that they would be very quick in procuring lunch and would make it back in time to say goodbye to me. That genuinely meant a lot to me, and I beamed. "Do you want anything from the shop?" Natalie asked me. "A Snickers maybe?" I replied meekly.

Toyin and Natalie and Amber (who I didn't see as much but who is also lovely) and the rest of the LSB staff (you know who you are) are all brilliant! They are affable, interesting, helpful, warm, generous (my Snickers is testament to that) well-informed professionals, and it is to them that I dedicate this blog. Do watch out for Toyin though, for as well as being all those things she is also bonkers.

My story is one of metamorphosis. When I entertained the idea of becoming a donor, after spying an advert for the London Sperm Bank on the tube, my motivation for wanting to get involved was at first puerile, then selfish. But as I began to understand more about how much of an impact my donations might have on people's lives, the puerility dropped away. In its place there slowly grew a belief that I was actually doing something really worthwhile. Something that could be of benefit to a stranger and help make their dream of bringing a life into this world a reality. It was and remains a warm, fuzzy feeling. I did for a while wrestle with thoughts and feelings that I was recklessly helping to bring more lives into this already over-populated world (yes, I am one of those people) but then I asked myself how many unwanted pregnancies and births there are in this country alone, every year, every month, every day. All the children created as a result of sperm donation are wanted, perhaps desperately, and will be loved, no doubt madly. What more is there to say?

On top of that, you get paid to do something that I've been doing for pleasure and at will for the past nineteen years or thereabouts. And it's also a massive ego-booster: I got told after my "interview donation" that only one in ten guys have what it takes to make the grade... Read this blog and weep boys. What else... it's incredibly educational and informative. For example, it wasn't until joining the program that I learned that the sperm you are producing at any given time is the result of whatever you were doing three months ago. Wow. And, best of all, at least for me, you get to pass on and ensure the survival of your genes. Without even having to take anyone out on a date! But seriously, I know that everyone's situation is different, and that people's motivations for wanting to donate will be different too but for me, that has probably been the biggest and best thing about it all. I'm 29 now and I'd love to have children of my own someday but in lots of ways that possibility has never seemed more improbable. To know that in all likelihood my sperm will be used to create a human being that is 50% me (on a purely genetic level) is simply unbelievable and incredible. I can't describe how happy it makes me feel. Totally selfish but there you go. It would be cool to meet some of these people that I've helped make someday...

So as you can see, from where I'm sitting it's all win-win-win. Now that it's over, there is a void. I was a donor for almost a year and in that year the LSB, its staff and the act of donating itself became part of the fabric of my life. It is nice to be able to masturbate whenever I want, with better porn, in less clinical surroundings but I will miss it all. Like I say, the people who work there are awesome. You get to masturbate. You get remuneration . You get to help create life. You get to help people. And when it's all done, you get a Snickers.

Thank you, and good night.

Blog entry written by a LSB donor,  Support Worker 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Dear Diary....The Programme, from start to finish

As I prepare to conclude my participation in the programme, I thrust my mind back to the outset and the reasons I joined.  These thoughts summarise why I have to profess my pride in having run the course and hopefully helped some very willing and able parents to have a child/children of their own.  The benefits brought to many thousands of caring parents whom require fertility treatment must make the LSB’s programme both incredibly worthwhile and, in my own experience, very personally beneficial in finding out more about the people we are and the great gifts we possess.

Dear friends of my mother have recently had their first child, a beautiful daughter; counted as a great blessing which they had for years feared would never arrive.  They had exhausted a great deal of savings to attempt three cycles of fertility treatment.  Having seen their disaffection – though maintained desire – it brought home to me how lucky many of us are; to have full virility.  Quite saddening to me is the fact that many of us, either by choice, misfortune or orientation might never be in a position to have a child.   Educated friends, increasingly, do not want to bring children into the modern society; feeling a general dissuasion toward the world we live in.  Some are incredibly fertile but either have not the luck or the confidence to meet somebody.   Others simply are not inclined towards children, towards traditional conception and so forth. 

Personally, having a very faithful; thence fatalistic background, I had to search my conscience to find comfort in engaging in the programme.  Aspects of my religious upbringing make the process quite uncomfortable and therefore what I have done for the good of others does not conform to what I would say are the rubrics of my personal ethics.  Or, should I say, what were my personal ethics.  Fortunately for me, I have benefited from different educative schools and I took a utilitarian viewpoint when weighing-up the decision to donate.  I would describe myself as a straight, reasonably-conservative and old-fashioned, young man with traditional views on bringing children into the world: mother and father, 2.4 children, nice family home.   What I had to do; or more-so, decided to do – was to look at the situation objectively. 

The modern world allows us all to thoroughly enjoy our differences; in ethnicity, creed, culture and many other areas.  There are no longer the outmoded restrictions and discriminations regarding sexuality, gender, colour, physical ability and such.  So my mindset of the typical family is rather narrow; though I am proud of who I am – there are many other people who are incredibly capable of bringing-up children.  For instance, I have two girl-friends and two male friends whom are enjoying same-sex relationships, are brilliant with children, hold steady jobs and own their own properties.  There can be no right, objectively, to say that they are any less able to raise children than a heterosexual couple.  With a great deal of young people in this country falling pregnant in adolescence, latching-on to Government-backed support to raise their children; it can be no less socially acceptable to help those whom have the means to raise healthy and happy children.  Rather than turn this into an anthropological or socio-demographic debate (or any other highfalutin’ terminology one might seek to use) I shall shut away my full rationale and personal soul-searching regarding donation.  Needless to say, however, the crux of the matter is that the benefits to society as a whole must be seen to be good.

Having overcome my initial inhibitions, I have to say that I am greatly pleased with the decision to join the programme.  In my earnest opinion, there must be hundreds of thousands of men, in London alone, whom can painlessly (quite the opposite, rather) help innumerable potential parents.  The people whom utilise fertility treatments are both screened – rather scrutinised – and, more importantly, incredibly devoted to the notion of parenthood.   In our modern day, where genuine affection and love for other people appears less and less evident; this behaviour should be greatly encouraged.  

What grates at me a little is that the LSB programme is so logical.  Most men, since puberty, have somehow engaged in masturbation, often by desire; more pressingly by necessity.  This is a fact which is irrefutable and perhaps ought not be such a cause of shame as it often is for the young, particularly.  Irrespectively, the programme gives men an outlet for this, covers expenses and aids other people.  Therefore, this is the most enjoyable vocation any man is ever likely to find!  As such, you could sum-up the programme as a way of – genuinely – doing a huge service for other people, whilst taking care of a natural process and, perhaps, earning a little cash for the fun of it.

My final point is the personal mental and health and fitness benefits that the programme brings.  Going through the initial tests is a little bit of an ego boost.  Ascertaining virility can give the confidence a lift.  Then there are the tests; a little blood, some urine & a physical examination.  At the end of this, there is room to appreciate the lack of illness, disease, infection. 

The flipside of the tests is that it has decreased my desire to sleep-around; particularly to be far more careful in future.  Those of us on the programme are very fortunate and gambling that away in a game of chance with a stranger no longer appeals greatly.  Combining that with my aforementioned reasons of wanting to help those whom cannot have children, it really has given me an increased awareness not only of the great tool I have in my body; but also the genuine sanctity attached to raising children; and family love – irrespective of what the components are of that family.

This is not a deliberately persuasive piece for the LSB.  I am not a sycophant, perhaps an idealist; more-so a realist.  There are many people affected by fertility problems: many people have the ability to help these people via a simple process which costs nothing yet gives an awful lot to the donor.  Entered into for the right reasons, this is as rewarding to the donor as the recipient.

Article written by a London Sperm Bank Donor:  A Business Owner  living and working in London