I’ve been quoted that [Patients should] “Get counselling before going down Mary Portas sperm donation route”

This may make it seem that only when family members are involved counselling is important but I actually think that counselling is a must in all cases involving egg and sperm donation. Many people start this route with the best intentions and thinking, hoping, that after the conception all will be seamless. Life however doesn’t work that way. For some it will be, for some it won’t.

The challenge with the word ‘counselling’ is its connotation with therapy. Too many people, especially men, will think or say “There’s nothing wrong with me so why do I need counselling?” And there’s the thing, this has nothing to do with therapy. It’s about being able to discuss and understand the implications of the road you’re embarking on.

I had a discussion with a potential sperm donor a while ago who thought it was ridiculous that in some clinics counselling is standard part of the process. So I explained it in ‘men speak’. I asked him how long he drove a car. “15 years,” he answered. “And if you can get a Ferrari for a week but you need an hour with a specialist driver would you take it?” Needless to say his answer was “Oh yes, where do I sign up?” “Do you think by insisting on that, Ferrari implied you are bad driver?” “No, I understand that, it’s a specialist car after all.” I didn’t say anything and just looked at him. “Ah well, yeah, if you put it that way…”

It may seem a simplification of the issue but it comes down to the same thing. It’s about understanding and accepting the differences this car, this parenting, might bring. It’s about asking questions related to something non-standard. It’s not stating you’re a bad driver…

Talking about the implications and exploring the issues of being a donor or receiving donor sperm or eggs should be an integral part of the process. And in my humble opinion, if you’re not ready for that, maybe you’re not ready to be a donor or donor-recipient.