Sense & Sensitivity

Husband's Ex-Wife Wants His Sperm

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a young woman who recently married a professional athlete. We both want children, but in a world where so many children are without loving homes, I can't imagine having biological offspring when we could provide a wonderful life for children who would never otherwise have one. My husband has always been supportive of this, but recently he brought up an interesting proposition: His ex-wife, who is older than me and has never remarried, asked him to be a sperm donor. She has a successful career and would not need financial support, but I think the idea is bizarre. He argues that they both have excellent genetics that would be "wasted" if they do not jump at what could be their only chance to have biological children. He said it is no different from donating sperm to a bank, except that he knows the mother will be able to provide well for his offspring. They split amicably due to the pressures of both of their careers. Am I being selfish to say she should find another sperm donor? -- Not My Husband, Houston

DEAR NOT MY HUSBAND: You need to evaluate your position on having children. While your husband seemed to be in agreement with you about adoption, it sounds like he would appreciate the opportunity to bring his own child into the world. I think it is emotionally dangerous for him to be a sperm donor for his ex-wife. That feels like an invitation for the two of them to either get back together or have a close relationship. There is no way that he will just be a donor and move on.

You may want to reconsider your views on giving birth to a child. What if you have a child biologically and adopt a child? Many families do that. No matter what, you need to have a heart-to-heart with your husband. Let him know that you are uncomfortable with his ex’s proposition.

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