Welcome, LGBTQ Families!
You might be surprised to learn that around one-third of all DSR parents are LGBTQ!
If you are a prospective parent, trying to figure out which sperm bank to use, here's a link to our "Which Sperm Bank?" page, where we continue to collect the experiences of our members to help you make a more informed decision.
If you are already the parent of a donor-conceived person, and need some guidance, please read through our FAQ page and the research that we've published. Also, you can pre-order our new book: Finding our Families: A First-of-A-Kind-Book for Donor Conceived People and Their Families.
2014: I am so excited to announce that we have started a wonderful partnership with the Family Equality Council. Here is their Book Nook page featuring our book(!), From their website: "Family Equality Council connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender in this country and their six million children."
Watch the video webinar we did for the Family Equality Council! Wendy talks about the DSR, who were and why we do what we do, what we have learned over the years, moving the industry forward in a more ethical and responsible manner, and how to create healthy and happy families.
June 12, 2014: We will give a Skype workshop with a GLBTQ parents group in Boston after they watch the Family Equality Council webinar.
11/12 QParent: Sibling Registries Connect Donor-Conceived Kids
QParent is a news and resource site for queer parents. This article talks about the DSR and other registries, and explores the question of whether to use an open or anonymous donor.
1/12 It's Conceivable: Ask Gwendolyn- Of Donors and Dosies: A Few Thoughts, Dos and Don'ts
Each month, Gwendolyn answers questions on LGBTQ parenting for the readers of It’s Conceivable, a website dedicated to centralizing pregnancy and parenting information for the LGBTQ community. In this installment, she provides resources and offers some Dos and Don’ts to answer the question: “We are in the process of choosing a donor, but we are debating whether an open donor or anonymous donor would be the right choice.... Could you share your thoughts on whether to know – or not to know – and how to handle it if our child does end up wanting to know more about his or her donor?”
5/11 Chelsea Now: The kids are all right...without knowing who ‘dad’ is?
Chelsea Now is a Community Media newspaper that caters specifically to the people in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, which has a thriving LGBT community. This piece discusses some of the issues brought to light in two recent movies. The feature film “The Kids Are All Right” is a movie about a brother and sister who search for--and find--the sperm donor used by their lesbian parents to conceive them. “Donor Unknown” is a documentary about the process of a group of
DSR siblings who meet each other and their donor.
4/09 Richard Dedor: Donor Sibling Registry Supports New Families
Richard Dedor leads motivational and leadership workshops, has a coaching company, and has written a book entitled, “Anything is Possible.” In this piece, which was published by Liberty Press, he explains the history and purpose of the DSR, with a focus on support for LGBT families.
8/08 Bay Windows: Donor Sibling Registry helps kids of LGBT parents grappling with their origins
Bay Windows is a weekly publication and resource for the LGBT community in New England. This article discusses the issues confronted by parents who have donor-conceived children. It includes the experience of a lesbian couple navigating the complexities of connecting with donor-siblings.
For LGBT Families: Ashleigh's Blog
Ashleigh lives in Arizona with her wife and their donor-conceived daughter. Together with the DSR, they hope to promote the importance of access to donor information by donor-conceived individuals, and educate prospective families on the choices they have to make.
May 2012: Donor Sperm: The Story Beneath the Baby
"In my family...we are committed to not only doing our best for her as an infant, a child, an adolescent, and a teenager... but also looking out for her best interests as an adult. And to us, that means as much information about the other half of her genetics as we can possibly give her."
December 2012: Non-Biological Mom's Perspective
"One mom grew her and birthed her, and one mom waited for her and loved her all the while."
March 2014: Ashleigh's latest blog:
Many of us are familiar with the all-encompassing urges that our hormones put us through during our reproductive years. That desire, that urgency to "have a baby".
Come on, you know what I'm talking about. Grinning stupidly at any baby in your vicinity, glancing fondly at those big beautiful pregnant bellies that just seem to be everywhere during these hormonal times, feeling jealousy when friends or family announce new additions.
I've noticed though, that the urge to have a baby is not always connected to the desire to raise a child. Sometimes it's just our bodies wanting to do what they're built to do. Bring new blood to your family, continue the next generation, propagate mankind. Sometimes we desperately want to get pregnant/have a baby, but aren't really interested in raising any more kids. That's okay; it's completely normal.
Another observation I've made is that most of the time, parents who do want babies and who do want kids forget that children become adults. Not logically - logically we all understand that as our bodies and minds age, we become adults and we leave our families of origin and we create a family of our own. But emotionally, we think only of that baby growing in our womb, of what that newborn will look like, of what color his eyes will be, and maybe about what we'll do for her first birthday party. At the beginning of childbearing, most people rarely consider further than that, other than to occasionally fantasize about vacations or holidays. We don't think about what'll happen when our babies turn eighteen or twenty five or forty.
Our babies are real people. With real, separate, individual personalities. And if we are fortunate, we will get to raise them and watch them grow. But we have to realize that some of the choices we made for them when they were small are choices that they will have to live with. We make choices that affect the rest of their lives, and some choices follow them even past their own lifetimes - the choices we make about our conceptions and pregnancies and babies today can live on for generations and affect our children's children and their kids after that and after that. It's so important to educate ourselves, and to choose carefully.
Specifically, the biggest decision I feel we made for our Ever was regarding her biological father; her sperm donor. The color of his eyes or his hair don't matter to me in the long run - but his openness to a relationship with her meant everything.
We knew from the very earliest stages of preparing for conception that we wanted a donor who was willing to be known to our children, no matter in what capacity. This was not a decision we took lightly; indeed, we feel like choosing such a donor was the best gift we could give to our daughter, since we couldn't give her both sides of her biology from the two of us.
We felt that this was the only possible decision to make for E. Yes, we created her life, and yes it was done in an atypical fashion, but it's her life. I wouldn't want to cut her off at the knees before she's even born - I want her to have every possible option when she's grown. If she is interested in knowing her donor, then I'll be at her side.
If she doesn't feel the need to find him just yet, I will help her to truly understand what that choice will mean for her but ultimately, I respect whatever decision she makes.
I strive, as Ev's parent, to consider her as a separate entity from myself or Teri. Her feelings are her own, her opinions are her own. She is an individual and she deserves every ounce of consideration that I can muster. My biggest hope in this regard is that one day, she will see the lengths we've gone to in order to give her as many choices as we were able to.
For LGBT Families: Ralph's Blog
Ralph is married and the father of three small children born through egg donation and surrogacy. He is interested in exploring third-party reproductive practices and improving their impact on families, donors and surrogates.
August 2013: Our children's sacred story
"Donor-conceived children who know the circumstances of their birth will inevitably become aware growing up that their biological linkages have a different quality from most of their peers and even from others in their family. Our job as their parents is to reflect on questions that in many ways are similar to those of all other parents: What is the best way to help my children along the path of discovering their own sacred story? What will help them build the identity that their conception story will then be a key part of? What will support them in embracing this identity as part of their path to becoming emotionally healthy adults?"
March/April 2010, March/April 2011 Ad in Gay Parent Magazine and October 2012 Ad in Philadelphia Family Pride Brochure:
The New Gay Family: Connecting with other Donor Families
A Meeting of 7 Families
"We just returned from a weekend gathering of donor siblings where nine of the twenty three kids we now know about (while we were meeting, two new families posted on the DSR!) attended along with 2 SMC's 5 lesbian couples four grandmothers and a grandad. The kids range in ages 8 mths. - 4 years. Like others, we formed a private site to share photos etc. and have been communicating for about two years. Over the course of the past year or so, several small groups of us have met but I must say that having such a large group was overwhelming in the best way possible.
I never could have imagined how amazing this would be. I was very hesitant to join the DSR at first for all the reasons I am sure everyone else has. However, meeting the others was not only comfortable but incredibly natural...like we had known each other for years. The kids warmed up to one another and the other adults immediately and the other parents seemed like old friends. Not to read too much into the genetics of it all, but there was something truly special about the way everyone interacted. I can't imagine what the future might hold but I am confident that meeting the other donor siblings and their families was the best thing we could have done for our kids. I am grateful we had the opportunity to begin building these relationships while all of them are still so young. Great memories are being created as is a healthy and dynamic sense of place for our kids."
Content but Curious
"My partner and I have two beautiful daughters from an anonymous donor. While we are very content with our family, we have always wanted our daughters to have the option of exploring their biological siblings/donor; plus we are so curious about traits, behaviors, and medical issues of other half-siblings out there.
This is a wonderful service that brings together a community of people that often feel stigmatized or outside of 'mainstream' America. Individuals can control their anonymity and can pursue whatever level of involvement they choose and do so comfortably. It also provides people an avenue to answer and explore all those questions about the 'who' and 'what' that are associated with anonymous donors."
Is the Donor a Threat to Our Family?
(Based on correspondence with a LGBT mom who is also a donor-conceived person.)
One common problem that we've seen in the lesbian community (and to a lesser extent in the gay community) is the idea that if you talk about the donor, you are implicating the family in being somehow less than enough and implying that two women or two men alone do not make a family.
This is a reaction to to a very serious political situation. Yes, there are also attacks on women who have children without fathers but single female parents are also not denied any fundamental rights. They are not constantly being told that they are not a family or that one of the parents does not matter. There is no danger that their child will be taken away from them or that they would ever be denied custody.
In this context of sustained attacks, a common reaction is to assert that the family is perfect and there is no need to talk about this donor. Gay people are often very defensive about their families and thus reluctant to talk about the donor. Many people have said that they refuse to talk about the donor to anyone because they perceive that to be questioning the legitimacy of their family- so they refuse to engage in that conversation. Families should not be built based on fear and defensiveness. We owe more than that to our children.
The DSR in Your Community
We can come speak to your organization, or have a booth or table at your event. If interested, please contact Wendy.
2012 DSR has a table at Philly Pride
2010 Wendy and Ryan speak at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center
2010 DSR has a booth at Denver Pride
Diversity is a Fundamental Value: Our Non-Discrimination Policy:
The Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) believes that diversity is a fundamental value. We believe that greater diversity will enhance the quality of all families and communities and enrich understandings between people.
The DSR provides equal opportunity for all its members*, volunteers, employees and applicants for employment regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status, age, gender, marital status, height and weight.
The DSR expects all of its members, volunteers and employees to join together to develop a community where everyone values individual and group differences, and respects the perspectives of others.
* DSR board member Liz Margolies is the Executive Director and Founder of the National LGBT Cancer Network.