Louis used to cycle to the sperm bank, his deposit in a bag. He needed to make it in good time to preserve the contents of each specimen jar, which he placed in a warmed cabinet when he arrived. In the evenings, when men arrived after work, there would sometimes be social events at the sperm bank, with tea and cake. Other sperm banks – he was a regular donor at three – were more perfunctory, with small rooms for donations and the usual magazines.
Sperm donor parenthood. A large descendence without either family or sexual relations.
Like most of the donors, Louis preferred not to linger, but to pedal back to his modest flat in northern Holland and a life he felt was so ordinary that it almost blurred into the background. He was in his early 30s and lived alone, working as a bank clerk. He had no girlfriend, nor any close friends or family.
But Louis was on a secret mission, motivated by a deep anxiety that had built as he drifted through early adulthood. Profound questions of mortality were keeping him awake at night. “I had started to think, ‘Who will remember me when I’m gone? Who will talk about me? Who will be my heir?’” he says. “I think our biggest fear in life is not to die, but to be forgotten.”