Most Gracious ILites, This is one of my most controversial stories. There were editors who dubbed this story as ‘quite vulgar and shocking’. I have moved with many people who are self-proclaimed progressives. And I find their attitude towards life far more vulgar than this story. As I love to say every time, please don’t raise questions like, “Is this true? Did it happen?” May be this is slightly ahead of the times. But events like these are quitely happening in metros. Whatever may be the progress made, at one time or other ‘chauvinism’ raises its ugly head and kills many a healty marriage. Read the story with an open mind and tear the characters to pieces. It is needless to say that you can take the same liberty with the author. If at any point of time you find the narration obscene or offensive, please don’t go any further. And please do forgive me. Varalotti The Sperm Donor A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy Anita entered their bedroom with a cup of milk in her hand and romantic thoughts in her heart. But when she saw Raj in a pensive mood,all dreams of making love fled from her and she braced herself up for another round of arguments. Raj and Anita, dubbed as the made-for-each-other couple in their circles, had everything life had to offer, except a child. The first five years of marriage without a child was just a long honey moon; but now they felt the pressures coming in from his parents, her parents and their peers. It was with open minds that they subjected themselves to medical tests which identified some serious problems with Raj. Of course it had nothing to do with his potency or for that matter, his performance in the bed. He was a wonderful lover. Sex, for Anita, was not a Sunday-afternoon formality to be complied with dutifully; but a bi-weekly ecstasy beyond words. But Raj could not father a child. The Doctors had clearly told that the count was so low that harmonal injections might not be of help. Anita and Raj had resigned themselves to the facts. And then one of Raj’s friends had advised in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with a donor’s sperm. The gynaec who had examined Anita pronounced her fit for the procedure and they had even tentatively fixed the date. The sperm bank was also notified. And now almost every day they were discussing about the project. Anita opened the conversation in a lighter vein. “Looks like the boss wants to say something?” “Ani dear, there are a few points about this IVF and sperm donation, I am not comfortable about.” “Neither am I, Raj. I would rather prefer remaining childless than going through the procedure. I consented only because you were particular about having a child. To be frank I find this sperm donation and IVF a little embarassing.” “Are you kidding? A software engineer and a woman’s lib activist from <st1:city><st1lace>Bombay</st1lace></st1:city> being embarassed by sperm donation? I can’t imagine that. Darling, my embarassment has a different reason. A few weeks back we were discussing about adopting a child from an orphanage. Do you remember why we dropped that idea?” “I do. You told me that to take in a child without knowing its lineage is too much of a risk. And we can’t tell how the child will behave when it grows up, because we do not know about the child’s parents.” “Precisely. Ani dear, in the project we have before us exactly fifty percent of the lineage risk is still there. Do you agree?” “How?” “What is the procedure? The sperm of an unidentified donor will be fused with the eggs from your ovary and the embryo formed by that fusion will be placed back in your uterus. Right? Now in this case you will be the child’s mother; but about its father, the sperm donor, we do not have any info. The Gynaec said that she won’t divulge the donor’s identity at any cost. And at least half of the child’s qualities and abilities comes from its biological father. So…….. so..” Raj in spite of his background as a space scientist could not find words to express himself. But these clues were sufficient for Anita to guess what is coming. Seeing the panic in Anita’s face Raj made a small detour. “And there is another thing. In spite of the tall assurances given by the Doctor, I am a little scared about this artificial fusion and creating the embryo outside the body.Call it an unfounded fear; but I don’t think I can get over it. Darling, I am against the unknown sperm donor and this artificial insemination. Of course I do want a child for us but without these two hassles. Hence…. Hence……..” Anita grasped the import of what Raj said even before he could find words to express it. “What do you mean, Raj? You are against an unknown sperm donor and the artificial process. Then you want me to sleep with the guy of known lineage and get a child for you? Are you in your senses? Or are you still nursing a hangover from yesterday’s party?” Anita said something more but it was supressed by the sobs. Raj came near her, held her hand and spoke gently. “Ani Dear, I never expected this outburst from you. Allow for the initial emotions to subside and think it over. You are not a prude, dear. And this is not new. Think about the fertility rites ceremonies practised by most of the older civilisations; the essence of that was childless women were allowed to sleep with the virile men discreetly. And in our Mahabaratha, when the King Vichitraveeryan died childless, his widows, were made to sleep with Vyasa and it was because of that, Dhirudurashtr and Pandu were born.” “What do you want me to do?” An emotionally exhausted Anita asked in a bland voice.