Sunday, June 19, 2016
Twenty-three years ago today I gave birth to our first child.
Two years before that my husband and I had been told by the country's top fertility expert that we would never conceive a child naturally. A sperm donor was recommended.
Why? Well, a good part of the explanation it seems is that the Danes are a tall lot. Indeed in Denmark where they make Danes they don't allow sperm donors who are less than a certain height, a height my husband does not reach.
But I, and as it turns out the majority of the single professional women in their thirties who now come looking for sperm donors in New Zealand (a country that doesn't impose a height minimum for sperm donors), are not so interested in tall sperm, nor sperm from donors with the other characteristics of the classic 'alpha' male -- extroversion, confidence, good looks, financial success, etc.
What they want first and foremost is kindness, integrity and reliability, the sort of qualities they have found much more difficult to come by in the dating marketplace.
And so it was with me. When told I'd never conceive a child naturally -- or at all -- with my husband, the kindest of the kind, the 'tallest' of the short, I did not think oh well, now I can get me some tall sperm.
I thought I had already found me the perfect sperm donor and the tall, good-looking alpha-type bloke delivering the earth-shattering news to us in a cool, confident manner, must be wrong and went in search of an alternative explanation and 'cure' for our apparent infertility, and found one.
And so our three, not so tall, children were conceived naturally.
Now I'm not saying there's not some very nice and reliable tall sperm out there, and vice versa for short sperm, just that an emphasis on height in choosing a mating partner and having a height minimum for your country's sperm bank donors is a potential recipe for tall but shallow off-spring.
Obama is tall, but he's not your classic alpha male. If you want an example of tall shallow sperm, you only have to look to Trump and just about every Republican presidential candidate before him.
So a tall and towering happy birthday to our not so tall firstborn, Conor James, a one time semi-finalist in New Zealand's Brainiest Kid -- a fairly tall feat.