Following my pre-clinic appointment, I was asked to complete a very short document labelled 'Characteristics Form for Single Intended Parents'. The document was one and a half sides of A4. Half of the document was for me to identify my characteristics – ethnicity, hair/eye/skin colour, blood group (pass! No idea.), height, weight and build. The remainder of the form was a repeat of the above but this time the characteristics that I was looking for in an intended egg donor.
At this point, I have been counting down the days to get to this moment. Nearly 6 years to mull over my desired physical and intellectual characteristics for the biological "mother” of my child. Butterflies had filled my chest. In a perfect world, what did I want her to look like? If you had asked me before the summer, I probably would have said 5’3 tall, long dark brown hair, piercing blue eyes, button nose, olive/tanned skin, and naturally full lips with a glorious, humble smile. But now I finally had this document in front of me, it felt like I was diving in the deep end, I was torn…
To begin, I was faced with a selection of multiple-choice characteristic. What hair colour would I find acceptable in a donor? The options available were Black, Brown, Red and Blonde. Whilst I may not be sexually attracted to women, I do find many characteristic attractive in the opposite sex. If you were to ask my mother which colour hair the biological mother of my child would be, she would probably start telling you the story of two-year-old me dancing in front of the television to Kylie Minogue’s Locomotion. I used to be in awe of anyone with blonde hair - apparently. As a natural “redhead” (which, to be fair, has darkened over time – I put that down to my Greek heritage) I wouldn’t personally choose red as a desired characteristic. Which is odd, considering the characteristics shared by the men I have dated in the past has been red/auburn hair. Maybe this is where I’ve been going wrong! No, nothing against red-headed ladies, but would like to give my child (born to a red-headed single father by choice) a fighting chance. Personally, growing up as a redhead was not always fun!
The second multiple-choice characteristic was eye colour. Before looking into surrogacy, I had never considered eye colour as a preference. After all, does it matter what eye colour a person has? Well, the more you look into physical characteristics and health, the more you will learn about how our physical characteristics can play an important role in our health. Turns out that those with lighter eye colours i.e. grey, green and blue, are more likely to develop eye melanomas in comparison with those with brown eyes. Something to consider I suppose? Not sure where that places me with my left brown eye and half brown/blue right eye! With no burning preference for the desired eye colour, I ticked all available boxes, i.e. Hazel, Brown, Blue and Green.
The third multiple-choice characteristic was skin colour. Available options were Black, Olive, Medium and Fair. This is a characteristic which I have most definitely given thought to over the years and in recent months. When I previously experienced the process of becoming an approved foster carer with my ex-partner, this characteristic was quite a key point of discussion throughout the training and application process. Without giving the wrong impression, if I was to have one overarching goal when it comes to having a child, my top requirement would be that I would want the child to at least look like me. Additionally, I wouldn’t want my child to grow up into a predominantly white family and feel they have a disconnect or confusion over their heritage. Whilst intuition tells me that I would love my child, regardless of their skin colour, this characteristic plays such a huge roll in any person’s identity and feeling of belonging. On this occasion, I selected Olive, Medium and Fair.
The remaining characteristic choices did not come with multiple choice. For Education, I merely listed the level of qualifications I was happy to accept from a donor, i.e. School level (GCSE/A level - or equivalent), Further Education, Higher Education and Post Graduate level. Whilst I would be honoured to have a savant for a child, my research showed that whilst egg donors who have qualified with HE and PG qualifications are a possibility, the types of women who choose to donate their eggs tend to be at the start of their studies or careers. By only requesting one level, such as postgraduate, would greatly reduce the odds of the clinic identifying a suitable donor as the pool of donors would automatically be reduced – or worst case, non-existent.
A second characteristic I could specify was the donor's Hobbies and Interests. Never having considered this before, I simply listed interests which I felt matched my own. For example, Arts, Science, Technology, Music, Theatre and Travelling. Everything goes!
The third characteristic I could specify was Religious Beliefs. Not being a man of any religious denomination, I simply left this blank.
Before completing the form, I had to choose from one final multiple-choice list of Ethnic Origins. I could select yes or no for the ethnic origins which I would be happy to match from potential egg donors. The list included Caucasian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian, Afro-Caribbean and Oriental. For the same reasons for which I decided on the skin tone of my potential donor, I selected both ‘Caucasian’ and ‘Mediterranean’ as an ethnic origin I would be happy to match with.
Finally, to complete the form I had to state any other matching requests which I would like to be considered. I simply requested that the donor be healthy. With the form now complete, I added my digital signature and promptly submitted it to CRGH and await their response.
The waiting had begun but with a little bit of luck, come September, the search will be on to find the one. At which point I will return to the city to provide my genetic sample to create my embryos. Until that day, who’s that girl?
Answers on a postcard If you know.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and keeping the dad dream alive!
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