November 20, 2005

"Yeah, we're sisters."

Children of the same sperm donor find each other and build their relationship. If you were a sperm donor, originally intent on remaining out of the picture, but you knew that a large group of your children had sought each other out and formed powerful love bonds, would you have a change of heart? What if there were dozens of your kids out there, and they all got together and started to see themselves as a big family, with you as an absent presence? Would it make you sad? Would it make you lonely?
[Two half-sisters] are considering a trip to Wilmington, Del., which Donor 150 listed as his birthplace.
Hey, maybe it's my brother. I could be your aunt. When do I get in on this extended family action?

14 comments:

peter hoh said...

The Washington Post had an interesting article about a 15 year old who identified his donor "dad." You can read pasrt of the article over here:
http://familyscholars.org/?p=5338

Wa-Po has been doing a lot of reporting on this. On Fathers Day, they had a story about a woman who took her kids to meet their sperm donor.
http://familyscholars.org/?p=5005

And here's another, from the Minneapolis paper:
http://familyscholars.org/?p=5005

I've read about seceral donor-conceived adults who contacted their mother's gynecologist to learn more about their donor, only to figure out that the gynecologist was the donor. Wish I had links for those stories. Will post them if I find them.

37921 said...

That is amazing, and very heartwarming. Human beings refuse to act like machines. I predict that this will have the effect of reducing sperm donations. I would not be at all surprised to read of some judge, somewhere, ordering that an anonymous donor be identified and made to pay child support for his offspring. A few cases like that and the donations will start to dry up (!)

Ann Althouse said...

37921: Thanks for reminding me that this post is another example of my obsession with bodily fluids.

CCMCornell said...

If the anonymity protection of donors does decrease and this leads to less donors, wouldn't the value of donations increase and lead to still-willing donors to simply donate more?

Sebastian said...

Interesting. I wonder what would happen if two sibling sperm donor offspring were to meet, fall in love, and want to get married?

Strange to ponder something like that, but one can imagine such a situation occurring. Sperm donor siblings wouldn't feel like real siblings, not having been raised as such.

Would the law allow such a thing? Even if that is the case, I suspect society would frown on these types of relationships.

F15C said...

I'm not a lawyer but... To me, if you donate sperm, you are agreeing to become a father. If even men who are tricked into becoming a father, can be held liable for child support, then why not a man who agreed to become a father - even if he did not know who the mother was going to be? A father is a father.

But that is completely secondary to the children of these fathers. They want, and more importantly for society, need fathers. It is sadly interesting that these children will work so hard, so dilligently, for so long to find out who their father is. They are clearly being driven by forces greater than just mild curiousity.

I can not even begin to imagine what it would be like to be told I was fathered by anonymous sperm from a man who was paid by a company for his seed. I think, I too would want something more than that.

KaneCitizen said...

To me, if you donate sperm, you are agreeing to become a father. If even men who are tricked into becoming a father, can be held liable for child support, then why not a man who agreed to become a father - even if he did not know who the mother was going to be? A father is a father.

I donate blood regularly. My hope is that it will be used for someone who needs it, maybe even to save the life of an accident victim or something.

To me, the argument quoted above is like saying that I am financially/socially/ethically responsible for the well-being of the person through whose veins my blood will eventually be flowing.

F15C said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
F15C said...

"To me, the argument quoted above is like saying that I am financially/socially/ethically responsible for the well-being of the person through whose veins my blood will eventually be flowing."

Like I said, I'm not a lawyer, so this is all my lay opinion in terms of the legalities. But sperm and blood are vastly different. Blood can not create a new genetic offspring of the donor - sperm can and does - that's all its good for.

IMHO, blood/organ donation is not comparable to sperm selling (rarely is sperm actually 'donated' gratis) relative to the legal ramifications precisely because of the impact to individuals (those humans created by the act of sperm selling) versus those help/saved by blood/organ donation.

My point is that the increasing number of progressive, technological, political "choices" we've gained come at a price. Simply having more choices does not make a society better. It may actually make achieving a better society more difficult in that there is greater opportunity to make choices that have dangerous long term consequences to individuals and society as a whole.

amba said...

This seems to be a story about, as much as anything, people's longing for extended families.

Starless said...

amba said...
This seems to be a story about, as much as anything, people's longing for extended families.

Indeed. They're only real connection is biological, everything else is emotional and internal. Not to be insensitive but...well, who am I kidding? To be insensitive, I wonder how many of their stories lead back to, "We exist because Dad needed beer money for the weekend"? And how does that fit in with this romantic notion of finding your long lost half-sibling?

XWL said...

I don't recall hearing of it yet, but what will society think of half-siblings marrying?

Since this procedure has been going on for barely the length of a generation there still isn't that large of a potential for this to happen, but as time moves forward the possibility becomes more likely.

I'm completely ignorant as to the law regarding whether half-siblings are already prohibited from marriage.

At the very least it could be the plot of a bad romantic comedy (aka chick flick, sorry carina chocano) starring Ashton Kutcher and Rachel McAdams.

Chum said...

Amazing stories. I appears from all of the personal stories this longing to meet the father occurs with single mothers. Years ago when my husband and I tried to conceive with DI the gyn. restricted his practice to couples only. Nor would he accept same sex couples for which he was later sued by a lesbian physician in a long term relationship for discrimination. He lost the case.

In desire to have a child I admit to not thinking this possibilty through, thinking that my husband would have been the only father the child would need.

michael a litscher said...

Sperm donor siblings wouldn't feel like real siblings, not having been raised as such.

I am adopted. I met my birth mother (Sue) for the first time about two and a half years ago. She lives in Madison, btw. Her sister (Kathy) lives in Sun Prairie.

Anyway, it turns out I also have two half-brothers, both of whom I've met. One lives in Madison (Todd), and the other in New York (Brian).

My brother Todd and I have so much in common it's actually kind of scary, but it makes us very close, too.

I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving again this year with my birth family in Sun Prairie.