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Video: Women connected by ‘Wishes’ of motherhood

  1. Closed captioning of: Women connected by ‘Wishes’ of motherhood

    >>> this is "today" on nbc .

    >>> for three women , each over the age of 35, the desire to become a mother began to outweigh their professional goals and search for love. but on the journey toward single motherhood , they each ended up with exactly what they wanted , and more. now they are sharing their stories in the new book "three wishes." good morning to all of you. this is really -- you were joking about it. i fine it is an amazing story . you say, it is just our story . but it really is quite something. terry, start with you. you were a professional success but you also say you were a romantic failure. you made a decision , a promise to yourself when you reached the age of 39. what was that?

    >> right. that was the deadline i had set for myself that if i weren't married by then i would become a single mother . i never thought it would happen, but there i was, the clock was ringing. i said, okay, i have to go ahead with it.

    >> you went to a sperm bank and you chose donor 8282, tall, spli slim, well-built blonde man who wanted to be a scientist. that's all you knew. was it daunting to pick a father in that way?

    >> it was completely surreal. it was like all of our mating mechanisms get disabled and all you get is a list of categories about this person.

    >> you go home with eight vials of this person's sperm. right? the plans are you're going to be inseminated. suddenly you meet this guy and you have sort of an unand down relationship. you are inseminated it one of the vials, it doesn't takes and eventually he becomes the father of your first child and your second child . that's where you come in, beth . because you were married , then divorced and trying to rediscover yourself. in the process realized i want a kid.

    >> yeah.

    >> i want a baby.

    >> yeah.

    >> so pam , your friend -- this gets complicated, pam your friend introduces you to carrie , her friend, next thing you've got the vials.

    >> that's exactly what happened.

    >> you're planning to go through with this.

    >> yes.

    >> but then?

    >> then miraculously the same thing that happened to carrie happened to me. i had come out of this unpleasant divorce , my ex-husband had left me and i got these vials from carrie . soon thereafter, i met the man who -- i met phil who became my husband and the father of my child .

    >> again with him, too, were you a little nervous to talk to him about this whole notion of having a baby.

    >> yeah. he was sort of a certified bachelor. it wasn't his intention to have children necessarily at all and i already had that intention. i had already decided i was going to have a child . we had to have these discussions fairly early on because i was already moving in that direction.

    >> eventually he did agree and have you a child now as well.

    >> yes, we do.

    >> which leads us to you, pam . you are the hopeless romantic .

    >> i am. they mock me.

    >> you always thought you'd have the whole package and it just wasn't happening for you as well. so you inherit --

    >> i did.

    >> the seven vials.

    >> i did.

    >> and then you meet mark. it is a little complicated because when you met mark, he was married at the time and you said, no way.

    >> he was.

    >> i'm dating him in this situation. then he leaves his wife, he gets a divorce and you two become an item. but he's also reluctant about everything.

    >> he was. after having been married , he wanted a little time out, time just for us but he realized that i had this deadline and he also wanted children . so pretty quickly we were able to figure things out and knew that we would be together and wanted a family .

    >> did you even come close to using the vials or was it --

    >> by the time i would have taken them officially from beth and they've been in my custody, i was pretty much settled with mark. so we were ready to pass it on again.

    >> this story seems almost too good to be true. is there any exaggerations in any of this?

    >> there's really not. i mean in a way, it would be -- we almost wish there were. but we're three journalists and basically what we are also trained to do is be very straight in the way that we present a story . it is just that unexpected and remarkable thing happened to us.

    >> we actually ended up taking things out. it was simply too much.

    >> beth and i made pam tune down some of it.

    >> basically, figure out what it is you really want and need and go for it. you may find that things change as you do.

    >> we do feel like there was some magic in the moment in which we decided to pursue what we truly desired. for us that was children . for other women it may be other things.

    >> what happened to those seven vials?

    >> those actually went to a friend of mine and she did use them and it turned out that she had some reproductive issues that weren't recognized when she started the process. so she didn't end up having any children .

    >> well, they absolutely worked their magic on the three of you.

    >> and the friendship.

    >> that's also what the book is about, about real friendship.

    >> we were very lucky to have each other to go through all this with.

    >> ladies, thank you so much .

    >>> up next, mark bittman takes

TODAY contributor
updated 4/21/2010 11:13:35 AM ET 2010-04-21T15:13:35

The three single ladies with dreams of becoming moms didn’t know much about sperm Donor 8282, other than he was tall, trim and blond, with a dream of becoming a scientist. But vials of his sperm turned out to be lucky rabbit’s feet of love in a romantic story that turns fairy-tale endings on their head.

Journalists Carey Goldberg, Beth Jones and Pamela Ferdinand tell the tale in a new book titled “Three Wishes,” in which they relate their unlikely story of passing along Donor 8282’s sperm to each other — and finding real love and motherhood without using the contents of the vials.

Their story seems so unlikely that when the three women visited TODAY to relate it, anchor Meredith Vieira wondered aloud whether exaggeration was involved. “There’s really not; we almost wish there were,” co-author Beth Jones told her. “We’re three journalists and basically, what we’re all trying to do is be very straight in the way we present this story. It’s just that unexpected and remarkable things happened to us.”

Three women, eight vials
The story centers on a trio of women who found great success professionally, but found their personal lives wanting. All three wanted babies, but with no men in the picture, each was ready to go it alone.

Carey Goldberg was first to jump into the donor pool. She purchased eight vials of Donor 8282 from California Cryobank, but also hedged her bets: She continued exploring online dating sites. She met a possible match, a man named Sprax, but after some dates they broke up.

So Goldberg opened one of her vials, but a first try at artificial insemination didn’t take. Sprax then offered to be a donor the old-fashioned way, with no strings attached. They eventually had their baby — and after a period of separate-but-equal parenting during which each saw other people, they finally fell in love, married, and had a second child.

Through mutual friend Pamela Ferdinand, Goldberg met fellow journalist Beth Jones, in a similar romantic boat to the one Goldberg once was in. Goldberg passed along the seven remaining vials of Donor 8282, and what could be called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Sperm began.

Not the marrying kind
Jones, who was coming out of a painful divorce, told Vieira that soon after receiving the vials, she met Phil, who became her boyfriend but kept the idea of having kids at arm’s length. Miracle babies

“He was sort of a certified bachelor; it wasn’t his intention to have children, necessarily at all, and I already had that intention,” Jones said.

When he still resisted the idea of starting a family, the pair split. But Jones had accidentally become pregnant by Phil. She eventually decided to have an abortion, after an amniocentesis revealed that the baby would have Down syndrome. The couple soon reconciled and tried for another baby — and Jones gave birth to baby boy Gareth.

Ferdinand, however, was still having no luck romantically, so Jones offered to pass along the Donor 8282 sperm to her. But shortly before she laid legal claim to the sperm, Ferdinand met a man named Mark she took a liking to. Ferdinand said that she and Mark had an instant connection, but with one major roadblock: He was married.

Pamela Ferdinand didn’t use the contents of the traveling vials of sperm — but had a daughter, Emma, anyway.
And even after he divorced his wife, Mark told Ferdinand he wasn’t ready to have kids. “Having been married, he wanted a little time, time just for us,” Ferdinand told Vieira. Finally the couple agreed to try, but they had to endure some heartache: Pam miscarried once and ended a second pregnancy when she learned the baby she was carrying would be born with severe health and mental defects.

But four months later, Ferdinand became pregnant again, and the third time was the charm — she gave birth to a baby girl, Emma.

Love and friendship
Donor 8282’s sperm traveled one more time when Jones passed along the vials to another friend. Sadly, the story ends there: Her friend had reproductive issues and didn’t ultimately use the sperm.

Slideshow: Sleeping beauties Still, the vials that served as a talisman for finding true love are still a source of wonder for the three women. Goldberg revels in the joys of raising Lilianna, 8, and Tulliver, 5. Jones has Gareth, 5, and Pam dotes on Emma, 2.

“We do feel like there was some magic in the moment in which we tried to pursue what we truly desired,” Ferdinand told Vieira. She noted the book not only tells stories of finding true love when you might least expect it, but of strong friendship as well.

“We were very lucky to have each other to go through this with,” Ferdinand said.

Goldberg added that she believes the book carries a valuable life lesson. “Commit and basically figure out what it is that you really want and go for it — and you may find things change as you do.”

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