Not like Joe or David or some regular man’s name. But my wife and I have decided that we want to be able to call our sperm donor something more endearing than “sperm donor” or “biological father” when we refer to him or when he comes up in family discussions with our children and other family members.
But we’re having a hard time figuring out what “name” will work for us, so we’ve tepidly decided to open it up for discussion with the rest of the world – realizing, that in doing so, we are once again faced with explaining the whys of what we do.
For my wife and I, it’s a no-brainer that we’ll openly speak about our donor with family and friends, and especially our children. We have zero desire to hide from whom and whence our children were created. And part of our decision stems from the very clear fact that Sara and I cannot create our children on our own. It’s not as though we are a straight couple who cannot have children and have to turn to fertility services, namely a sperm donor, to conceive. Those couples have their own reasons for sharing or not sharing with their children that they were conceived by use of donor sperm, and it’s not my place to say whether they should or not.
What I’m talking about here is what my wife and I feel is right for our family. And that includes wanting to create a name for our sperm donor that signifies the gift he has given us, and the joy he has helped create in our life. Also, we want to name him because we believe it will help our children understand that he is honored as part of our family, that we wouldn’t have a family – that we wouldn’t have our children – without him.
Some people say sperm donations are just like blood donations, or that they’re like organ or tissue donations: part of a scientific equation that’s needed for a greater cause. Grandma needs a new valve in her heart, so she gets a new one that came from a pig. Aunt Jenny has to have knee surgery, so she gets a cadaver part to replace a tendon. Jessica and Julie want a baby, so they need sperm. Scientific and to the point. I respect those beliefs. And I respect those families that simply consider their sperm donor as a means to an end.
But Sara and I have realized that he is more than that for us. And we don’t want a name that is so clinical (sperm donor) or that’s so scientific (biological father). Of course, our child will most certainly know that this man who we call whatever it is we decide to call him, is, in fact, their sperm donor. We just don’t wish to call him by those words. We also don’t want a name for our donor that includes the word “father” or “dad” at all, because we believe the emotional and societal connections to those words would only add confusion and blur the line of who this as-of-yet unnamed man really is to our child. Yes, he is their biological father. No, he is not their dad. With all due respect, if you don’t understand the difference, you should probably stop reading at this point.
So the name we’re looking for is something endearing, something honoring, and something that doesn’t deduce our donor to nothing more than a piece of a scientific equation. Thus far, we have come up with words that mean “joy” or some such equivalent in other languages, words that can also have cute-sounding, name-ish monikers. This is our short list:
- Oninemi: a Greek word that means “to be useful and to have joy.” We’d likely use the nickname of “Oni”
- Osher: the Hebrew word for “happiness;” nickname of Oshi or Osh
- Joie de Vivre: a French term that means “the joy of life;” pronounced “jwha,” with a soft “j”
If you have any names you think could work for what we’re looking to do, please share them! If you have further questions about why we want to do this, please ask them! But if you only have judgement to pass or negativity to spew about our decision, please keep that to yourself. We’re just two people trying to live a happy, peaceful, and love-filled life.