There is no “dad” in that thar sperm

We conceived both boys with sperm from the same anonymous donor. For all of his anonymity, we actually know quite a bit about him: his most embarrassing moment, his favorite sport, what the staff at the cryo-bank thinks of him. We have 30-minutes of his voice and enough pictures to describe his looks from birth to college.

Although Otto has no concept of gender (people are either “big” or “tiny”) he is at the precipice of understanding “dad.”

“Do you have a daddy?” Jill asks one afternoon when labeling the stick figures Otto insists she draw of Miles and his two dads.

“No Mommy!” He responds with the same silly timbre he uses to turn down rhinoceros stew.

It’s startling to hear him say “daddy,” which he does with some frequency now, referencing other peoples’ fathers.

To be honest, I feel a flash of sadness when I hear him say it. Sad not because he doesn’t have one, but that someday he’ll probably wish he did.

When I was pregnant with Otto my mom would ask questions about the father. What color hair does the father have? How tall is the father? What else do you know about the father?

“There is no father,” I’d say, burning with frustration before answering her harmless questions.

She doesn’t bring him up much anymore, but now when she does, she pauses to collect the right word. Donor.

I don’t know if she totally understands it—that this man who, according to his donor profile, walked a few miles in the snow every week to contribute his genetic material is, despite a biological link, not the father to our sons.

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