When Julie Peterson decided to have a baby on her own two years ago, she picked a tall, blond, blue-eyed Danish engineer as a sperm donor to match her own Scandinavian heritage. But when she went back to the sperm bank to use the same donor to have another child, she was stunned to discover that the federal government had made it impossible.
"I just cried," said Peterson, 43, who lives in North Carolina. "I was in complete shock. I hadn't thought about anything but having another baby with this donor. It was just so surprising and bewildering." [...]
Now, as the remaining vials of Nordic semen frozen in U.S. sperm banks are running out, a small but desperate number of would-be parents are frantic. Peterson has flown repeatedly to Denmark, and went again this week, to try to get pregnant with sperm from the same donor. Others are going to Canada or Mexico, or haggling with other American women who have leftover vials. [...]
"The demand was huge," said Peter Bower of Nordic Cryobank of Copenhagen, which had supplied California Cryobank. "In addition to being tall and well educated, their motivations for donation are quite sincere -- they want to help childless couples. They tended to sell out very fast."
With California Cryobank's and Cryos's supplies virtually depleted, Nordic Cryobank filed a petition in June asking the Food and Drug Administration to lift the restrictions. [...]
"I'm Swedish-Norwegian and really wanted to have a gene pool that was similar to my own," Peterson said. "I wanted a baby that looked like me and wanted to share my heritage with my baby. Now I have a beautiful Viking baby, which is what I wanted. I was hoping to give her a full sibling."
After Peterson found out she could not get more sperm from the same donor from Cryos, she flew twice to Copenhagen to be inseminated with sperm from the donor. She did not get pregnant on the first try, and a pregnancy from the second one ended in miscarriage. Peterson, a chiropractor, thinks this week's attempt will be her last.
"It's a huge commitment both financially and with my time. I have to close my practice and go to a totally different country. But I'm committed to having my daughter have the same father if I can. But I don't know how many times I can do this if a baby doesn't come with this one."
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