My son was conceived with donor sperm but I’m no less a ‘real man’ for that

The thing about assisted conception is that it’s an elective, considered act of parenting. There’s nothing accidental about it: you get tested; you are evaluated and assessed with some rigour; you sign forms, you go back and forth, you jump through hoops – you actively make that child happen. The commitment to J started at the fertility clinic.

I’ve been a rubbish dad far too many times – so many mistakes and crap decisions; bad advice, useless advice, no advice; too many sweets; too many hours onscreen; two failed relationships he’s seen come and go. But if there’s been one thing I’ve got right, it is that I am always here for him. This is the real challenge: being there as a parent, day after day, is how you man up and prove yourself.

I understand sperm banks feel a need to be more bold to increase donations – without them I wouldn’t have a son. But it is odd for a medical organisation to associate manhood with sperm count. It might be good short-term PR, but there must be better ways to get more men to masturbate into a cup.

The truth is that sperm doesn’t always work.