Donor Family Issues

 


Make sure to report all births to your sperm bank!

 

Approximately 75% of all surveyed donor offspring would recommend that parents use a known or willing-to-be-known donor!

 

Videos
Articles on disclosure
Experiences of donor families
Considerations for prospective sperm donors
Research
Publicity
Testimonials

 

Videos

March 2014: 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.

 

2011: Documentary aired in Fall of 2011 on the Style Network: We worked very hard to make this a thoughtful and thought provoking show. We hope that viewers will be able to consider the perspectives of the offspring, the donors, the parents, the grandparents and the partners of the donors. We hope that people can understand why meeting a half-sister might be important to a donor conceived person. As we all redefine family on the DSR, it's important that those embarking on creating their family in this way, as well the industry, and the public, consider and ponder the issues about how families are redefined through using donor conception. This show was nominated for an Emmy in 2011.  Click here to watch!

A mother's video: When my son met his first half-sibling (video)
Both boys inherited a potentially fatal aortic defect from their donor.  This video is a photo montage of their meeting and subsequent photo shoot for a new article. 

University of Manchester research project: What happens when donor agreements break down? (video)
Carol Smart from the University of Manchester informs viewers about her research on lesbians who have conceived using a known donor.  She discusses the sociological and (British) legal factors that come into play.

TVNZ: Embryo donors warn of lack of rights (video)
A New Zealand couple donated their frozen embryo to another couple and have now been denied contact with the child.

 

Articles on disclosure and a child's right to know the truth about his/her conception

Jan 2014: Guest Blog: An Adoptee's Reaction to MTV's Generation Cryo

Dec 2013: Slate: Let's Get Rid of the Secrecy in Donor Conceived Families

Nov/Dec 2013 Issue of Psychology Today:  A Conception Conundrum

Adoptive Families: Third Party Reproduction: Explaining Donor Conception (pdf)
By Kris Probasco, LCSW, LSCSW and Megan Fabian, B.A.
Some practical tips for talking to your child about the nature of his/her conception.

Donor Sibling Registry: Donor Disclosure: when telling the truth to your child isn’t easy, and what to do about it (pdf
A guide from the DSR “designed to help take the shame, secrecy and fear out of talking to your child” about his/her origins.

The Center for Adoption Support and Education, Inc.: Should I Tell, and When to Tell? (pdf)
By Ellen Singer, LCSW-C
An article drawing parallels between the evolution in what has been considered best practice for disclosure regarding adoption, and the process for parents talking to their donor-conceived children.

Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology: Donor gametes: anonymous or identified? (pdf)
By Ken Daniels
This piece discusses the research looking at the evolution of attitudes (especially of secrecy and shame) towards talking about donor-conception from the point of view of doctors, donors, recipient families, and offspring. 

Donor Sibling Registry: Non-Bio Parent Issues (pdf)
By Wendy Kramer
A note from Wendy summarizing the reports she gets from the non-biological parent about his or her reluctance in disclosing the facts of donor-conception to their children.

Concurring Opinions: What’s in a Name, Part 2: Consider “half-siblings” (pdf)
By Naomi Cahn
This article argues for the creation of a gamete database in the United States, to track the donations and resulting offspring, and to end anonymity in the process.

The Human Life Review: “Donor Offspring” Redefining Family (pdf)
By John Burger
This article approaches the redefinition of family largely from the offspring perspective.  In addition, there is discussion about the Church’s perspective, and the future of Assisted Reproductive Technology.

 

Experiences and voices of those in "donor families": the parents, the donors, and most importantly, the people conceived via donor-conception

2014: Kansas City Star: Donor 11 Gave me my son and changed my life (written by a DSR mom).

Exerpt:  That was the day I learned about the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR), an online resource for donor offspring, parents of donor offspring and donors themselves. As soon as I finished reading the article, I walked toward my computer. Eddie was outside shoveling snow.

One tentative click, and I was on the site. I entered the name of the sperm bank and the number of our donor. Part of me hoped Number 11 had also read the article, had walked over to his computer, taken a great, trembling breath and revealed who he was.

“Happy Mother” had apparently just put down her copy of the New York Times and added Number 11 to the registry, sharing a donor profile that was identical to the one we had. She noted that her donor-conceived son was 12 years old, and she was looking for possible half-siblings.

I could hear the scraping of Eddie’s shovel on the sidewalk. I could hear a song by Phish drifting from Max’s bedroom. I tried to keep my hands from shaking as I began to type. Hello! I am Photo Mom.

2013: The Hairpin: Interview with a Woman Who Had Two Kids by Anonymous Sperm Donor
Excerpt: 

"There’s a thing called the Donor Sibling Registry, and you can register with your code and share notes and ask things like 'Anyone else suffering from hay fever?'  Luckily, most of the other donor families are in the US—all except for one family, who I literally bumped into at the supermarket down the street from my house."

"That’s nuts. How’d you recognize them?"

"You can put pictures on the website. But yeah, I’m 20 yards from my front door at Waitrose, and this woman comes up to me and says, 'Are you Maggie?' It turned out that she lived two blocks down from me, and at one point her child was scheduled to go to the same school as mine, in the same class even..."

2013: Dame Magazine: When a Sperm Donor Seeks out his Kids Donor Mike's DSR Connections including amazing portraits that he's created of his donor-kids.

2013: Daily Mail: Middle-class motherhood in crisis  The single career women who wish their donor babies had fathers

2013: Dame Magazine: Eleni Mandell and the New Family  One sperm donor, two grandparents, two toddlers and an ex-boyfriend/nanny/uncle. How one single mother redefined “family.”

2013: Yahoo Video and Mail Online: Sperm donor mum tracks down her son’s ‘global family.’

Donor Siblings, A New Kind of Family (pdf)
A narrative in the NY Times about the process of defining family, when donor-conception is involved.

Voices of the Donor Conceived, Donors and Parents (pdf)
A compilation of writings and quotes from parents, donors, and donor-conceived adults.

John's Story (pdf)
A 53-year-old donor-conceived man tells his story.

Paul's Story (pdf
Paul gives an eloquent and heartwarming perspective from a former donor.

David's Story (pdf)
David tells about connecting with a donor-daughter.

AFA Newsletter: Ryan and Anna, Two Half Siblings Meet (pdf)
Wendy recounts Ryan’s (DSR Co-Founder) experience meeting Anna, his half-sibling.

 

Considerations for prospective sperm donors

Are You Thinking of Donating Sperm? (pdf)

 

Research

Anonymity, Disclosure and Contact with Donors: How Experiences of Donor Conceived Offspring Vary by Family Type (pdf of Poster)
The DSR conducted the largest survey to date on donor-offspring. We presented this research as a poster to the The American Society of Reproductive Medicine in 2010, and as a talk to The British and Irish Fertility Societies in 2011. This research was also published in the journal Human Reproduction in 2011. See the Research page for the link to the article.

 

Publicity

Gay Parent Magazine (pdf)

 

Testimonials

The DSR is such a valuable resource, source of support and safe place to explore our diverse family structures, trials, conflicts, joy and sorrow inherent to pioneering these human relations. -Connie in MA