Read an excerpt from Speed Dating for Sperm Donors
Can a lesbian couple find Mr. Right?
Helen and Paige really want a baby. Maybe even two. They’ve decided they want to use a sperm donor, but because of Paige’s own upbringing as an adopted child they want the donor to at least be known to the child. This challenge makes the normally anonymous favour even harder and more intimate than they expected.
In this heartwarming and funny scene from Natalie Meisner's Speed Dating for Sperm Donors, the couple go through their options, from listing the men they know to taking the innocent search to Google.
PAIGE and HELEN are in their favourite coffee shop in Calgary with their computers and newspapers.
HELEN: This is harder than I thought.
PAIGE: We’ve been here in Calgary such a short time. Who can we ask for this kind of favour?
HELEN: Can we find a way to put everything on pause? Go to France?
PAIGE: Impossible to leave work. For a couple weeks, maybe, but it’s not long enough.
HELEN: We could bring someone over here. What about your brother?
PAIGE: My brother?
HELEN: He’s so great! Not to mention handsome . . . and since you aren’t biologically related—
PAIGE: True, we are not blood, but he’s my brother still.
HELEN: He could be a donor for me and we find someone else for you.
PAIGE: But they won’t be related to one another.
HELEN: We might have to make compromises if we really want this to happen.
PAIGE: Perhaps, but not my brother. Feels too strange. What about your relations?
HELEN: Tons of girl cousins. And a few guys, too, but they are all in the busiest part of raising their own kids. What about that friend of yours who wants to come for a visit?
PAIGE: Andre? Sure, I’ll ask him to plan his ski trip based on our fertility cycles.
HELEN: I know, right?
PAIGE: And if he says no? After what happened with your friend . . .
HELEN: There is that.
PAIGE: Have you talked to him? Maybe time to call?
HELEN: I should. I will. Maybe it should be someone we know less well. Or even someone we don’t know at all.
HELEN slides a pamphlet over to PAIGE.
PAIGE: A catalogue?
A sperm donor catalogue. You know how I feel about this.
HELEN: I know, but they give you their profiles, so we’ll know some things about them.
PAIGE: Height, weight, eye colour? Tells you nothing.
HELEN: You can also see where the donor comes from. Look, here’s a guy from Cameroon.
PAIGE: And so? Do you know, Helen, that the clinics freeze the sperm? It is less effective. And just feels . . . wrong.
HELEN: What do you mean, wrong? Why?
PAIGE: I don’t know . . . cold. To begin a life this way . . . I understand that it can be okay for some. But not for me.
PAIGE turns away. She puts her arms around her own shoulders as if she also feels the chill. HELEN approaches her and warms her up.
I am sorry. It is a feeling and I can’t explain it . . .
HELEN: Okay. I understand. Then what are we going to do?
PAIGE: There must be someone.
(suddenly) Ask Syd.
HELEN: My squash partner? No way.
PAIGE: Pourquoi pas?
HELEN: Can you have an in-depth conversation with a two-inch piece of rubber whizzing past your head? You work with guys all day. You ask someone. That granite guy. Who does the countertops. He’s nice. And cute too.
PAIGE: Kyle? He’s a stranger, nearly.
HELEN: And if he said no you wouldn’t lose your best friend. Maybe that’s exactly what we need.
PAIGE: At work? I don’t think I can. There must be other women doing what we are doing. Try to look it up.
HELEN: Look it up? What, like google it?
PAIGE: Why not?
HELEN flips her computer open and types in a search term.
HELEN: Okay. Looking for . . .
Sperm . . .
Nasty things start popping up and she tries to click them away, aware that they are in a café.
That’s so wrong.
PAIGE: What is it?
HELEN: Just playing whack-a-mole with porn sites here.
PAIGE looks at the screen, laughs. HELEN continues clicking away images. When one of the sites initiates audio, she closes the lid, shutting it down.
PAIGE: Maybe different search terms. Try “sperm donors.”
HELEN: Okay. If my hard drive isn’t fried already.
HELEN peeks under the lid and starts searching again.
Here’s something. D-I-Y Baby.
PAIGE: Do it yourself . . . j’aime ça.
HELEN: No donors, though. This is more like a set of instructions.
PAIGE: That’s useful. We save it for later. Look, here: Co-parents dot com.
HELEN: There’s a minefield. All the decisions about schools, health, food, rules. Hard enough to do as a couple. Can you imagine doing it by committee with people you don’t even know?
PAIGE: People look for all sorts of arrangements. Some co-parents . . . mild involvement . . . and involvement after the age of eighteen.
HELEN: Here’s another site: Global Sperm Donors. Donors and people seeking donors can find each other. Look, you can browse by country. Even province.
PAIGE slides over, reads.
Paige: Anyone near us?
HELEN: Here’s a lesbian couple. Looking for a donor. A straight couple . . . looking. Another couple need a surrogate. A single woman . . .
PAIGE: Two more lesbians . . . They want to form a support group.
HELEN: Trust lesbians to form a support group right out of the gate. There’ll be a potluck, no doubt.
PAIGE: Why can’t I find profiles of the men?
HELEN: Here’s something I thought I’d never see.
HELEN: Paige cruising for guys on the Internet.
PAIGE: Enough from you now. Here’s one . . . Delbert from Edmonton.
HELEN: Roads are starting to clear. I’d drive to Edmonton for fresh sperm.
PAIGE: Healthy, STI-free . . .
HELEN: Good, good.
PAIGE: Twenty-two years old.
HELEN moves to read over her shoulder.
“Will drive to your house and take as much time to get as many women pregnant as needed.” As many women as needed? How many does he think we have over here?
PAIGE: Very generous with his time.
HELEN: Here’s one. Ex-CFL linebacker. Based in San Diego but comes to town for business.
PAIGE: His username: DaHulk? Like the Incredible Hulk. We can have little green babies.
HELEN: Says he’s a card-carrying member of Mensa.
PAIGE: Very intelligent little green babies, ripping out of their onesies. Lifting us up over their heads. “You won’t like baby when he’s angry!”
HELEN returns to the site.
HELEN: Says he’s an investor in oceanfront land. Owns several yachts. Works with Doctors Without Borders . . . and is also the advisor to several heads of state.
PAIGE: Hm. Too good to be true?
HELEN: A fourteen-year-old with an overactive imagination.
PAIGE: Maybe we should make a profile.
HELEN: Put ourselves out there . . . on the interwebs, in strangerland, for anyone to contact?
PAIGE: You write it for us.
HELEN: Yeah? What do I write?
PAIGE: Say who we are . . . what we like to do.
HELEN starts writing.
HELEN: Hi. We’re Paige and Helen. We like travelling and cooking . . .
“And long walks on the beach.” Sounds like dating.
PAIGE: It is, I suppose. Only different. Keep going.
HELEN: So we are . . . doing this? Right now?
HELEN: Okay, here we need to check a box for AI or NI. What does that mean? Artificial Insemination. And NI . . . Natural Insemination. Natural? That means that people are actually . . .
PAIGE: With strangers. No. Oh no. Mark AI. This box for certain.
A pause. They are quiet.
We’ll get this done, right?
HELEN: Yes, girl. We already crossed continents, uprooted our lives to be together.
PAIGE: We love each other.
HELEN: That we do.
PAIGE: It will happen. I’m not sure how yet, but it will.
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