Donor Siblings: Our “Spreadsheet Moment”*

18 years ago I posted the very first message on our original Yahoo Group board:

Donor #1058?  Wendy Kramer  Sep 3, 2000

I am the mother of an awesome 10 year old donor child. I know that he has at least 3 donor siblings and would love to contact them. We are looking for Donor #1058 from the California Cryobank. I hope that this board will serve others looking for their children’s (or their own) siblings.

Our half sibling group hit the “spreadsheet moment” this year when my son got his 11th half sister in March.  Two more came along in June and then two more in July. I had heard about many other DSR families having Excel spreadsheets, as once you surpass a certain number of half siblings, you might not remember clearly all of their names along with their birthdates, locations, places of birth, families, and other vitals.

*8/4/18 Update: one more 1058 half sister added to the group!

Because all reporting is voluntary, and because sperm banks want to sell as much of a donor’s sperm as possible, they just do not have accurate records on the numbers of births. In 2000, when California Cryobank told us that there were three half siblings, at least 15 others had already been born.

Some other families who used CCB report:

“In about 1990 they told me ten. I guess it just depends on who answers the phone!”

“In 1991 they said 1 or 2 births was the limit.”

“When I used CCB in 1999 they told me limited to 30 families- as of right now there are 30 kids.”

“Back in 2004 I was told that each donor had 10 vials and that was it. “

“In 2005 we were told the limit per donor was ten families.“

“In 2010, when we chose our CCB donor, we were told 10 families max.”

“They told me in 2011 it was limited to 20 family units but they are now saying it has increased to between 25 and 30 family units.”

In 2011 CCB also told me that they limit families of open id donors to 20 and anonymous donors to 25. “

When a prospective donor called CCB in 2017 and asked this question: “What is the maximum number of children that you allow per donor? California Cryobank told the prospective donor, “12 to 15 family units.”

A former donor reports:

“California Cryobank, where I donated, knows of 35 successful pregnancies from me. Yet, when I donated I was told 10 families was the maximum number who would be allowed to use me.”

And another donor who donated to CCB in the 1990’s reported to me yesterday that he knows of 27 children, so far.

Here’s part of the problem: “Just want to add that I also reported my son’s birth almost immediately to CCB (in 1995), and when I called years later, it hadn’t been documented…”

This also happened to me.  CCB also had no record of Ryan’s birth several years after I reported it myself. And when we visited them in 2011 they had no records of the three half sisters that had all participated in national media stories with us. Even Ryan wasn’t included in their records.

So without mandatory reporting (reporting oversight/regulations), ALL sperm banks will continue to have incomplete record keeping of how many kids are born for any one donor. My donor donated for 5 years. That’s literally hundreds, if not thousands of vials of sperm, as each donation (agreements are for 2-3 times/week) can yield between 4-24 sellable vials. [Seriously, the math is scary].

While each new half sibling is warmly welcomed into our group, I hope, for the sake of my son, his half siblings and their biological father, that the 1058 group doesn’t reach epic proportions[100-200], like many others on the DSR.

A revealing assessment of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s “recommendations” for “no more than 25 pregnancies per donor per population of 800,000″:

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