Brett Berk, aka “The Gay Uncle,” has just written a post about sperm donation. He finds it odd, he says, that lesbian friends of his can choose the looks of their children “like a handbag,” and is wondering if anyone else finds the process odd.
Leaving aside the question of how many lesbians carry handbags—as someone who has been through the sperm-picking process myself, I can say, yes, it is a little odd to shop through an online search engine for sperm. At the same time, I think most lesbians don’t pick their donors for the narcissistic reason of wanting to create an idealized “Mini-Me.” I think the ability to choose the characteristics of our children’s donors is more often about choosing someone whose physical characteristics are similar to the non-bio mom, in order to honor her connection to the child and to minimize the awkward questions about our families. (Show of hands: How many non-bio moms have ever been asked, “Are you the nanny?”) Granted, physical characteristics shouldn’t matter—and there are plenty of adoptive families, gay and straight, where the kids don’t look like one or both parents—but in our current society, there is still the assumption that families have some physical similarity.
Now, if you’ve read any of Brett’s writing before (he’s guest posted here at Mombian), you’ll know that his style is very tongue in cheek, so please don’t go bashing him for his hypothesis of lesbian narcissism. I think that underneath it, he raises a good question about a process many of us encounter, and I hope you’ll pop over to his place and leave your thoughts.