Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

This is a 21st century question of etiquette. My son didn’t date much in high
school. After a long college romance he is now with a young woman I hope he
will one day marry. But that day and parenthood seem very far off. Yesterday he
got a text from a young woman he was in a local pre-school with, who is three
degrees of separation friendly with my future daughter-in-law. She (the neighbor)
asked him, literally, in a TEXT!!, “Would you consider being a sperm donor for my
partner and me? We married last year and want to start a family. I always
remember what a great guy you were so I thought you might be willing to spare
some of the secret sauce. We would love to start as soon as you say yes.” Your
column is several pages too short for me to expound all the reasons I am
appalled. They are 24 years old. They have no personal relationship. He’s not
ready to be a parent, or to give up a child. “Secret sauce”?! A text?!? On and on.
My specific question is this: I want and expect him to say No, or No!, or NO! I
know about it because he told his dad over the phone, with the intro “You’re not
going to believe who I heard from.” How should we respond to this bombshell?


Dear Horrified:

I’m with you on virtually every level. But neither of us was asked to be a donor,
so your question is the proper one, how can you be a resource to your son? And
the subliminal question as well: how can you ensure he makes the right decision,
as in No, thank you. I’m not ready to be a parent, and when I am it will probably
be with my future wife.

Your husband and you should schedule an in-person meeting if possible or a
Skype if not. Be sure you can watch his face and body language when you talk.
Ask him what he thinks his response will be. If it is No, your work is easy. You
can focus on communicating the answer clearly and firmly. If he is in any way
considering the possibility, start with the more serious objections, from their youth
to the legal issues and responsibilities, to the possibility that any future fiancé
might have strong negative opinions. If he thinks that being a sperm donor is
something he would consider in the future, encourage him to do so anonymously
or for a very close friend with whom he might have an ongoing relationship. Also
insist that if he is serious now, that he commit to several extended sessions with
a counselor and a lawyer to understand the implications of a Yes.