For as long as I can remember I have always wanted children. I can remember one specific point in this story when this was most apparent. I was on a ‘lads’ holiday at around 18 years old when, I saw this man and his little boy playing in the pool together and laughing and having fun. This made me feel that I would like to have this experience.

Friends with children who I have played with have always said, “You’d be a great dad! You should have children.”

I then met and married my wife, Helen, and after a few years we started trying for a family. We tried and tried but after 2 years we still were not pregnant.

I decided to ask the GP to be referred to a fertility clinic; they started by offering me a sperm check. The first result showed that I had no viable sperm at all - this obviously came as a bit of a shock to me. The GP tried to be kind to me by saying, ‘Oh well, it was hot and a bit sweaty, sometimes that can affect the result.’ The next episode also showed that it was negative and blood tests confirmed I was not producing any sperm.

After this our consultant gave us the bad news – there were no viable sperm present at all and no chance of being able to ‘retrieve’ any from me. He told us that we had three options: adoption, sperm donation or choose to have no children.

It took us a while to actually talk to each other about what the consultant had told us and even longer before we started to talk about the possibility of having a family through sperm donation.

We met a psychologist who discussed the options and what it could be like to have a family this way.  She recommended some texts to read and for us to look into the DCN. We are so glad that we did! In January 2011 Helen and I travelled to London for a weekend workshop aimed at couples thinking about using donor sperm or eggs for conception. This was an incredibly valuable and enriching experience and we came away convinced that sperm donation was the route we wanted to follow.

Later that year, Helen had one course of IUI and amazingly it worked! In December 2011 our eldest boy, Harry was born. A beautiful baby with gorgeous blue eyes – just like mine, and white blonde hair – not like either of us! After a few years we decided to try for another baby and were able to use sperm from the same donor to conceive Harry’s brother – William. Our family felt complete.

It amazes us every day that we have these gorgeous, quirky, happy little boys all thanks to the kindness and generosity of a man we will never know. We talk to the boys all the time about how they were made by a kind man who gave his sperm – the ‘Our Story’ books have been brilliant for helping us with this. Every day when I play with my children I’m reminded of a fantastic altruistic decision made by a total stranger.  Sometimes I wish he could see the joy and happiness he’s brought to our life.

Written by Mark in 2018.