Ella Rasmussen’s doctors started to prod her about children when she turned 30. She was single, suffered from endometriosis, and contemplated a hysterectomy. After several years, the nudges took hold. Because she wasn’t a good candidate to freeze only her eggs, she was advised to undergo IVF and freeze fertilized embryos.
In 2016 Rasmussen, then living in Queensland in Australia, decided to take the plunge. A friend offered his services, but she worried that if she knew the father, but he wasn’t involved, she or her child could feel hurt. If she wanted sperm, she’d have to buy it.
For Rasmussen, a striking brunette of multi-ethnic background, looks or an attraction to the donor weren’t a factor. Neither was race; it would be difficult to match what she knew of her own ethnic background anyway. She wanted someone who might fit her family personality-wise. That included a love of music and a sense of humor.
In Australia, Rasmussen found fewer than 10 potential local donors. Her doctor told her that “because there’s such a small number of male sperm donors in Queensland, the quality isn’t very high, particularly as these particular men have been donating sperm for some time, and they are older generally”.
Her doctor made a recommendation: go American.
Her fertility center gave her the password to a protected site – the catalogue. It contained a mix of Australian and American men. “Go and have fun with it,” the andrologist suggested. “Invite your girlfriends around, have some wine and cheese, and choose a donor.”