I held it in my hands. Actually, I held it in my hands and then quickly put it into a brown paper bag and carried it in a secluded fashion like a 40 oz on a city street over to the cryo lab. Such an amazing opportunity and a juxtaposition of feelings in that act, the act of providing the “male component” necessary for IVF. Let’s not sugar coat it, it was me, doing what I have been training for since I hit puberty, looking up at the door hoping no lines of communication got crossed and no one would walk in on me. Yet, this material was not to be wasted in a soon-to-be crusty towel in the laundry basket. Nope, this material would be used for far greater purposes … hopefully to result in our next mini. As I carried that brown paper bag down the hall, I had what I can only describe as a series of emotional waves crash over me. Hang with me as I go on a diatribe about this experience … there is a juicy tidbit at the end that I think is worth reading for. Wave 1. What I just did was not right. Alright fellow Y-chromosome readers, I know you have felt this. Every time, and this is far from the first, that I have made my eh-hum deposits for family building purpose I suddenly feel like I just did this very act in a confessional of a Catholic church (I am sure that has actually occurred but would appreciate no comments affirming this suspicion). We are not supposed to do that in a hospital or doctor’s office right? It should be behind the tool shed or in a dark closet or something. Even with all of the “bring to light and beauty” efforts that go into IVF and fertility treatment in general, the simple fact that a dude has to get handsy to provide that primal component of building a family is never celebrated. It is kind of an unspoken reality which is where I think this feeling came from. Maybe we should make t-shirts that said something like, “I spanked the monkey for my family.” That would get some looks. Wave 2. WTF am I doing? I was fairly certain that when I shot Candace’s butt with yet another progesterone shot (number 6000 I believe) I said to myself, never again. Yet, here I am with a cup full (not really) of my man-essence readily providing it to our RE cryo-lab people to freeze and ultimately use for ICSI to fertilize egg follicles retrieved from Candace in a yet-to-be performed hormone-riddled stim cycle. Am I resting on my laurels? Not a chance. I know that there is a significant readership of our blog that is currently questing after Mini #1 so let me tell you this … keep going. The feelings you will experience will be so transcendental that the idea of stopping short of realization of the family that you envision will simply seem absurd. That is not to say that pursuing a child-free future is somehow negligent. I am quite simply reverent of your decision and resolve to move forward with that decision. I am blessed to have found a life path that follows a different route and am aware of that dichotomy. The sense of victory and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles compels me to continue forward. So, I walked bravely with my cup to the cryo-lab guy who, after asking me some questions, told me all was good and to have a good day. Wave 3. What I just did was huge. As I walked down the hall and toward the elevator to leave, I was struck with this feeling that, what I just left today, could someday turn into our next mini. What?! I guess I never considered this before because I had a different perspective before, one with an intangible sense of what it meant to have a child. I didn’t have sleepless nights and bottle washing campaigns mixed with coos and incredible milestone achievements to impress upon me the gravity of the act I was performing as I made my DNA deposit. This relatively simple, seemingly nefarious act I performed could one day result in a life-altering, attention-grabbing, world-molding person with infinite possibilities and reservations and dreams just like mine. In short, Soooo much more than simple human “matter” in a plastic cup. Eventually, I got in my car and started to call Candace. I paused for a minute though. I wanted to remember that feeling. The feeling that I was a part of that miracle that is family building. So much attention is brought to the mom and, in our case a surrogate, that it is readily forgotten that this act, this adolescent-like act of masturbation, is an integral part of the intricate masterpiece that is life realized through IVF. Now for the juicy tidbit. As promised, I wanted to provide something enticing to make you all read all the way to the end. I saw an interesting warning in the “spank-closet” at our RE facility. It read, “Please refrain from removing your footwear for your own protection.” So, I have been on exactly zero adult film locations but, I can’t imagine there is man-skeet spread nonchalantly all over the place. That being said, I would hope that all of the temporary inhabitants of the spank-closet would not only be vigilant about where they were spreading there DNA, they would also be very likely to want to capture as much of that precious matter as possible. All I’m saying is that is paints a terrible picture for there to be a warning to keep your socks on so you don’t get man-DNA on you. Let’s call that #gross If you want a little more than just a blog post here and there or have questions, comments or witty quips to share with us, toss an email our way or stop by our Facebook page for a mental high-five and a little #IF pick-me up.