By: Brandy Black
Sperm Donor X is a documentary that explores the underbelly of 4 different women choosing to be single moms, each taking different paths to pursue their dream of having children. It delves into the processes of picking a sperm donor, artificial insemination, adoption, and the opinions of outsiders. This is an insightful documentary filmed in New York and directed by Deirdre Fishel. I caught up with her over the phone last week between our mommy schedules and a 3-hour time difference to discuss the film, her life with twins, and what exactly she needs to get this film out in theatres.
Brandy: How did you come to the decision to make Sperm Donor X?
Deirdre: I was not at all convinced that I was going to make this film. But I knew these really pivotal moments were happening, and that I had to be shooting them if I was ever going to make a film. I shot for about 2 years and then I stopped for about 2 years. I was very ambivalent; when it came down to it, it was very personal. But I kept meeting these amazing, gorgeous, fabulous women who were in their late 30’s and they were so terrified of going out and having kids on there own, and it,… really motivated me to see, do I have a film? Then, once I felt like I did have a film- to keep working to get it out. So it’s been 7 years total.
If I hadn’t met those women, I don’t think I would have made the film. I just really felt so lucky and was so scared. There was such a radical difference before I did it and after it, and I guess I’ve been really motivated to try to inspire more women who are so scared to realize that it’s doable if you really want kids.
Brandy: Why did you decide to use a sperm donor?
Deirdre: Well, my initial thought about a sperm donor -I remember I was really dead-set against going through an anonymous sperm donor. I thought it was very creepy and weird and I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it. So I sought out to, you know, it’s a hard question to ask, and there are not many people, but there was one friend who had a family already, and didn’t live in the area, and I thought maybe he would do it. I thought he was healthy and sane and he said, “I’m flattered but I had a vasectomy”. And then I asked another person, a friend, and he was all excited and then he didn’t want to do it. Pretty quickly I just felt like, wow –it was so awkward and embarrassing…Plus, I have a friend who’s a lawyer, and she was really counseling me that rights are a big issue. The more I got into the process, the more I started to see that there are really some advantages to using a sperm donor. Now I’m so glad I went this route, and my kids are so great. I really know a lot of women are very uncomfortable with that; it’s not what you think is going to happen to you. You’re getting on the internet, you’re looking at profiles. It’s a little strange. You gotta get over that hump, but what I’ve come to see 7 years later is that we’re really lucky in this country. We have really good reproductive rights. I mean, there are a lot of countries in the world where you cannot, as a single woman, just go and order from a sperm bank and walk into a fertility clinic. So what I feel like right now is that there’s more of a lag -a sort of cultural lag- where a lot of women feel like “how did this happen to me?” But I also feel like we have a lot of choices and a lot of people are choosing not to partner with someone that they don’t feel great about.
Brandy: How did your friends and family feel about your decision?
Deirdre: I live in a pretty progressive world, so nobody said “you can’t do that.” My mother was very anxious about it, but when I started to really make the decision, she got behind me and had a paradigm shift and realized we don’t have forever. In some ways the biggest issue was myself and coming to terms with it and not feeling like I somehow failed. I’m so on the other side of that now. I feel so lucky and really empowered, and I feel like we have a really great family.
I watched Sperm Donor X with no color correct and no sound mix because it is not yet finished. In fact, Deirdre only needs $10,000 to complete this documentary. I was inspired to interview her because this enlightening film should be available as a resource. It is not only edifying for single women, but also for anyone who is enduring the process of choosing a sperm donor and taking the non-traditional route of creating a family.
If you would like more information on this film or would like to donate Sperm Donor X go to
Sperm Donor X