Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"We are no different as moral entrepreneurs as other rights advocates"

This unbelievably biased and poorly researched article (see below) is written by a libertarian believer in the laissez-fair/free market promoting donor/vendor/surrogacy ANONYMITY.

ReasonOnline – "Free Minds and Free Markets"
Who's Your Daddy?
Children of sperm donors are seeking more information about their once-anonymous fathers, sometimes at the risk of the fertility industry itself.

By Cheryl Miller – February 2009 Print Edition

Please read the comments, specifically, this comment (see below) made by Bill Cordray (a donor conceived man from the United States who is one of our most out spoken public advocates):

Bill Cordray, January 27, 2009
Tonio wrote: “I do not believe that anyone has an unqualified right to know who his parents are.

It's not the state withholding records, it's the doctors.”

Good point. There is no law in any state that gives a doctor the power to prohibit access by a donor conceived people (DCP) to the records of their identity. There is also no law preventing them from exercising this presumed prohibitive power of procreative preclusion. States wash their hands of their responsibility to the public to regulate infertility medicine. When DCP protest, the doctors say they are giving infertile people choice. In reality, the whole system is set up by doctors to promote a lucrative business that is self-governing, Laissez-faire, libertarian, whatever. The point is they make all the rules that ultimately do not protect anyone more than their own selves. They institute protections to sheild themselves from accountability, not to protect children, infertile people, sperm donors but only themselves. Donors and intending parents come to doctors and have to play by their rules, without any say in contracts and without recourse to state laws or even guidelines. State legislatures, courts, and governors have had no idea what the doctors are doing and cannot act without risking a counterattack by one of the most powerful lobby groups around, the AMA. The history of DI goes back to 1884. It’s cloak of secrecy and binding “contracts” have made its practices virtually unknown to society and therefore state governments. Until DCP came forth to speak out, no one knew that there was even anything possibly wrong with such an altruistic mission as helping barren women to have children. Now that governments know something about us does not mean that the “rights” issues are resolved but only that no one has expressed these issues effectively yet and so society is still ignorant of the profound sense of injustice that we DCP feel. We see our rights as being violated by such a system but we have not found the same kind of voice as Martin Luther King to make society understand it in their heart.

“[Tonio]: The doctors are withholding records to fulfill their contractual obligations to the donors.”

Well, this is meaningless since it is the doctors that created these contracts and who are the source of our disenfranchisement. The contracts have cleverly pitted the “rights” of infertile people against the “rights” of the donors, with the central figures (DCP) left without a voice, since we did not yet exist until after the contracts were signed. This manipulation of a balance of rights is meant to keep the prime mover in the background, as if he played no part and was just a “provider” instead of the creator of the whole system. Why does it seem that the DCP are such threats to grown adults deliberately chose to deny the DCP access to their identity? If we are so frightening that the contractual parties need protection from us, then why were we created in the first place? Certainly we are not created for our own sake, but for the interests of future parents, the ego of donors, and the profits of the doctors.

“[Tonio]: Absent of any legally enumerated right to know one's parentage, the state is passively enforcing the contract by failing to overturn it.”

That’s not really plausible since such contracts existed decades before any government was even aware they were being written. In addition, the validity of these contracts have never been seriously challenged in US courts and may be totally indefensible, much like the various yellow-dog contracts common during the era of laissez-faire Economics, prior to the Great Depression, until the Supreme Court struck down the Sanctity of Contracts tenet before the beginning of WW2. And yet these untested contracts, 70 years later, are somehow given an air of sacred script even though they expressly restrict the rights and interests of DCP, those of us who are now human beings because of the contracts but had no voice in how these writs would so deeply affect us. By the way, the concept of a donor’s right to privacy has no definition or principle that is consistent with the Rights of Privacy as first suggested by law student Louis Brandeis (not codified, by the way, until Brandeis was on the Court) and later expanded by Roe v. Wade and other decisions. As part of the contracts that infertility doctors and clinics have written, a donor’s right to anonymity is a legal invention, made up out of thin air, not by legislatures or approved by courts, but by doctors themselves who have presumed this power to define who has rights and who doesn’t in DI.

[Tonio]: “DONORCONCEIVED: Philosophers spout off this sort of thing all the time. There is a difference between philosophy and law. I realize you want the law to say something different than what it does, and I take no joy in pointing this out to you, but we are a nation of written laws, not of philosophical opinions. Wikipedia, and donor-conceived support sites, are not legal references. Sorry.”

I suppose you are correct in the strict sense but please remember that it was a political philosopher who pointed out that the natural rights that Jefferson proclaimed are as much a part of our heritage as those mere civil and social rights that change with every session, vary from state to state, and get clarified by court decisions, evolving over time and expanding in greater freedoms. After Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney declared in his Dred Scott Decision that Negroes were not citizens, Abraham Lincoln said that all Americans had naturally endowed rights, even black slaves, which are inherent, superior to civil and social rights, and not subject to majority rule. Out of this philosophical opinion came the Emancipation Proclamation, the Fourteenth Amendment that actually codified Jefferson’s natural rights, Johnson’s Civil Rights Acts, and the eventual election of a President who would not have been considered a citizen if Taney’s decision remained as the only legal precedent. Rights evolve and become codified when those of us who suffer injustice commit to the fight for the recognition of our natural rights. All we would need is action from President Obama to ratify the UN Charter on the Rights of Children and we would have enough precedent to push for the legal recognition of what we already know is our natural right to know our identity. We DCP see anonymity a social problem that restricts our identity interests and so we are no different as moral entrepreneurs as other rights advocates as King, Rosa Parks, Betty Freidan, Mario Salvo, Samuel Gompers, and Abraham Lincoln.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Importance of Connections

So last night I went to the local "Robbie Burns" celebration dinner. I'd been asked a dozen times if I was going, said no every time (haggis and turnips aren't my thing, especially when they cost $35), but picked up the phone midday Saturday and there was a neighbour saying someone would buy my ticket if I'd buy my kid's (cheaper) and please won't you come? So what could I possibly say but yes?

FYI Robbie Burns was THE Scottish poet, lived in the late 1700s, wrote many things you would recognize if you heard them (but might not know they were his lines unless you were Scottish or someone dragged you to a Robbie Burns dinner), was apparently a drinker and a womanizer and died at the ripe old age of 30 something. I learned all this last night. The one that got me is that a line or two from his poetry was the inspiration for Hemingway's famous novel "Of Mice and Men." Who knew? I was transported, whether I belonged there or not.

So at the dinner were some bonafide Scottish descendants (here in Canada a lot of people came from the British Isles originally) and the rest of us who wondered why we were there apart from it being yet another community event. My kid was digging through the book of Scottish clans/plaids and wondered if she had any - and fortunately I found one or two names on her dad's side and one on my mom's side (not proven, but enough for the evening). So she was happy.

But it got me thinking about roots, especially as the single malt Scotch overcame the heavy load of roast beef and mashed potatoes (the haggis and turnips didn't do it for me, or her, so I think the Scottish blood, if we have it at all, must be seriously thin).

I drank enough single malt to confess my birth circumstances to a few more neighbours, even good friends, who didn't know before. It's not like I try to keep it a secret, but it's something that's also odd to bring up in conversation unless the moment is right.

What I like about living here is that most folks are farmers. So when I say "I'm an AI baby" and they look blank, all I have to say is "like cows" and they suddenly get it. As dairy and beef famers have been doing that almost as long as people...

Don't know where I'm going with this exactly - it's weird to compare oneself with a cow so that people understand, but nice when they get it.

What's harder is going to a dinner that is all about genetic connections to a place, a name, even a person, and know I'm missing a big part of that....

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promis'd joy!"

(Robbie Burns, late 1700s)

I'll leave it to all of you to decide what this means to you...


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Checking in

I don't even know quite how this works yet...but...I am 48, conceived in a Boston hospital in 1959.

I didn't actually find this out until I was 37 and pregnant with my first (and only) child. My mom came north to visit and dragged me through an hour or more of something she needed to "share" with me before she came out with it (I worried she was going to die soon, so the news I wasn't who I thought I was was a relief at the moment). Seems my "life father" (what do you call the man you grew up thinking of as your father who in an instant turns out not to be that? I haven't figured out a good term for it yet) was not my actual biological father.

If you're reading this most of you have been there and done that by now. It's provided me plenty of food for thought over the years since the revelation and I hope to share those thoughts from time to time here, but for now, this is just a hello to all...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Biological Connections Exist And They Matter

I am a medical researcher with a strong background in the biological sciences. I have also worked for and with clinicians who are involved in reproductive technologies and or the obstetrics and gynaecological fields. This career path has shaped my perspectives on the issues of donor conception. I have always known about my conception and I consider myself very lucky to have been told from an early age. It did not change the love I had for my dad and it made it easier to deal with and accept as it was always a part of my life and is not something that I all of a sudden had to come to terms with. As a child my dad was my father, it did not matter that we were not biologically related. I was always too busy being a child than to stress over my origins.

The family unit is recognized as the greatest factor in our lives. It is important to recognize that sociological and biological fathers can be two separate things. And while a family is what you make of it, there is however a basis to the phrase “blood is thicker than water”. Genetic connectedness, are ties that bind.

It is this genetic connection that I have been trying to locate during an 19 year search for information. It started off as a search for non-identifying information and to obtain a family health history. At one point it would have been of great benefit to have had a family health background to help assess a condition that I had. During this time I have encountered numerous brickwalls and hurdles. The fertility units that I contacted over several years provided differing accounts on my records, with them being lost, being destroyed or of unknown location. This was very frustrating as was their answering or not answering of certain questions I posed to them. Only through contact with individuals that were conducting the practice at the time was I able to track down my mother’s treatment records. These documents contained a donor code, but no records to link this code to a donor. Apparently, donor records were not kept. The changing of stories by these clinics which has occurred to not only myself, but numerous other people that I personally know, has led me to be very cynical of their practices and what they report to customers and the media.

While I started off searching for non-identifying information as I at one time agreed with anonymity – I have now changed my perspective and I wish to know who this person is. This view changed after the birth of my daughter. It was a moment not too dissimilar to the moments that parents often report experiencing when they hold their child for the first time and stare into their baby’s eyes. It was an acceptance and knowledge of a biological connection. That no matter what might happen in the world, we would always be father and daughter. No one or no thing would ever be able to change this. This biological connection made me think about how I would feel if my daughter grew up not knowing who I was. This was a concept I could not bear to think about, instead I applied it to how this notion did in fact mirror my own life. While events transpired that I do not know who my donor is, and I may never know, there will always be a biological connection that can never be broken.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Always Wondering...

I was born in October 1974 to my Mother and the man I grew up thinking was my Father. I grew up always wanting a sibling and being told that was not going to happen. I used to think I was a twin who was separated at birth or imagined that some of the older students at the private school I went to were my "secret" siblings. Little did I know back then, that my Mom had gone to the Tyler Medical Clinic (Westwood area of Los Angeles) in the early seventies to conceive a child using anonymous sperm donation. This secret was kept from me until I was 22 years old.

Growing up I had a lot of cousins, but always felt alone. My parents owned their own business and were gone all the time. I grew up mostly at my Grandmother's house. When I was 7, my parents divorced. I was devastated, my whole life changed... My older cousin used to tease me and say "I know a secret that you don't know...". To this day, I wonder if she really knew the truth. I started to fall in love with movies, TV, actors/actresses. I wanted to be a part of that world and not my own.

When I was twelve, my Mom remarried and when I was 14 she had my brother (the natural way). I was excited to finally have a sibling, yet didn't understand why my parents only had me... As I got older the tension between my Mom and I grew. We were and to this day still are very different. It always seemed everyone was against me. I didn't feel like I belonged in my family or at my school (Private Armenian school). I had big dreams, I wanted to be somebody, I wanted to go to UCLA, I wanted to experience the world... but there was always someone discouraging me from being ME!

I still remember the day I found out. I was 22 years old. My Mom, my little brother and I went to the Fallbrook Mall in West Hills. We shopped for a little bit. I remember my Mom being very quiet and avoiding eye contact all day. Then we sat in the food court to get something to eat. My Mom sent my brother off to the Burger King across the court and we sat down, she looked me in the eyes and said she had to tell me something.... I just remember thinking "great,what am I going to get blamed for now...". She started the conversation off with talking about my Dad (at this time, he was in a nursing home, he had mental issues that I always feared I was going to have). I remember her saying "Jack is not your real Dad". I questioned her and she just repeated herself, then she proceeded to tell me that she had me with the help of a sperm donor. I freaked! My brother recalls hearing me from the other side of the food court just yelling at my Mom, saying "what??" ,"You lied to me!" etc... The whole conversation is a blur. I don't remember everything she told me that day. I do remember exactly where we sat, where we parked and what we bought. I just can't remember what exactly was said...

There were a lot of tears shed that day. I was relieved that genetically I would not have the same mental issues as my father. I was happy to know that having curly hair and being tall and not quite looking Armenian wasn't a curse, but kind of special. Yet, the anger and hurt from being lied to my whole life really hurt. Growing up I questioned why I looked different and my questions were always dismissed. Even then I knew, I really knew some part of me was missing. I wish my Mom had told me a lot sooner and not later. I guess I should be happy she told me anything at all, since the clinic did tell her to keep this a secret from everyone, especially me!! To this day, I still do not know why my Mom chose that day to tell me...

Over the years I have wondered about my biological Father. The man that I share half my DNA with and I want to find him and thank him for what he did. I want to find my half siblings, and see what interests we share and if we look alike. I want them all to meet my son, who is quite the little handful (like I was). Every so often I ask my Mom more questions and she still says she knows nothing... I don't understand how that could be possible and why that would be ok... How could you not want to know what nationality, what background, medical history, family history the donor had?? How could you trust that the sperm you were given came from a healthy donor?? And, how could it be legal for the clinics to destroy OUR information?? I have no anger towards my Mom ( I have trust issues, but not anger), it wasn't the Donor's fault either, but Tyler Clinic - yes, I blame them. I blame them for taking up all my free time to search for my other half, I blame them for making me fill out medical forms stating "unknown" for my paternal medical history, I blame the clinic for not allowing me to know my half siblings... I am not trying to replace anyone , by any means. I just want to fill in the gaps, to know I am half Armenian and half ??? To know I got my small hands from my Mom, yet my height from my Bio-Dad.

If you are considering using a sperm donor to conceive a child, please get all your information. Ask for ID release, tell your child as soon as they are born where they came from. Talk about it, be honest, don't hide any information. The hurt when you find out stays with you forever... Better yet, if you want a child, really want a child... adopt. Give a child who doesn't have a family a good home and a good family. Anonymous sperm/Egg donation is not the answer, ask any Donor Conceived adult...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lindsay's Story

I was conceived on May 24th, 1984 outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  There was no candlelit dinner or even conversation between my parents that day.  In fact, they had never even met.  My father was likely sitting through a graduate school lecture in Georgia and had no idea that 1,000 miles away his own biological daughter was being conceived in a doctor’s office.  My identity was severed that day, through artificial insemination by anonymous donor.  My unmarried mother felt her biological clock was ticking and opted to raise a child herself.  With the support of family and friends she set out to have a biological child.  Eight and a half months later I was brought into this world in the middle of a legendary blizzard.  Five pounds ten ounces, a healthy baby girl.

In elementary school I began wondering about my biological father.  The questions were piling up and I had no way to answer them.  I remember dreaming that my father was some famous person or did something remarkable.  I dreamed that one day I would find him because I wanted to know this foreign half of me.  I even wondered if I could use my DNA to trace my father – a strange foreshadow to the current use of genealogical DNA tests for male offspring.

When I was 18, after seeing a television program about donor conception, I confronted my mother about information regarding my biological father, and learned that she had virtually no information.  The only information she recalled was that the sperm bank her doctor used was in Georgia and she had asked him for a donor with brown hair and blue eyes that was around 5’8.  After some searching I concluded that my mother had used the Xytex Corporation in Augusta, Georgia.  Unfortunately I had no donor number, so the chances of finding my biological father or any half-siblings were virtually nil. 

Over the next five years, every once in a while someone would join the registry from Xytex who seemed to fit the description I had, but after three negative DNA tests with donors and other offspring, I felt that I was at a dead end.  Last year my mother came across a vial number in her medical records from the day of her insemination.  She told me it didn’t look like the numbers I had told her about (it had a dash in the middle) so it never crossed her mind that it was my donor number, but in fact it was. 

My biological father was Xytex donor 2035: Born February 12, 1961, English, brown hair, green eyes, 6’0 tall, 175lbs, B+ blood type.  He began donating in 1982, as a senior in college, and continued to donate until 1989.  Based on my academic interests in biology (and that my mother has no aptitude for science), I believe my father may be in the science/medical field.

I have not found my biological father, or even any half-siblings yet, but I will continue to search for them because of this intense desire to know this other half of me.  

These small bits of information that many of us "older" offspring have are surely not enough to replace what has been eliminated from our past.  Being deliberately denied the right to know how our genesis is something that the average person simply takes for granted, but for those of us with this void it is of the utmost importance.  We are human beings, not products of a financial transaction without thoughts and feelings, and we deserve to be respected as much as every other person in the world.

Karen's story

I contributed two essays to a book titled Voices Of Donor Conception, Behind Closed Doors: Moving Beyond Secrecy and Shame.

My story is outlined in the first essay which is available to read by downloading PDF here

Karen: Mother and donor-conceived adult
This mother has an interesting perspective on how her donor-conceived status affects not only her, but her children.

Laura's Story.

I'm Laura, I'm 17 from Southampton, England. Before I was told about my conception I was always curious as to why I was nothing like my social father or as to why we never really got on or understood each other. It was always in the back of my mind that, perhaps, I was adopted or my Mum had an affair.

My social Father developed myloma (bone marrow cancer) when I was 13 and a couple of weeks after they told me about that he had a reaction to the steroids he was taking and started acting really strange. On the same day my Mum came in to my room in tears and told me that her and my 'Dad' needed to talk to me. I remember them sitting me down and explaining to me about how I was conceived that how my social father was infertile. Due to the state my social father was in when they were telling me, I wasn't told in the nicest way possible to say the least. I remember spending the rest of the day in my room in floods of tears thinking about what they had told me. I felt upset, angry, betrayed but, strangely above all, relieved. The man I had thought to be my Father who I had never got on with wasn't my biological Father after all. This may sound a bit mean towards my social dad, but there was things that had happened before I found out that I will never forgive him for. I felt angry and betrayed because it was like I'd been lied to about what is, in my opinion, a very important thing - to know who your father is and where you come from. I think people take that for granted unless they are in a situation like this. I also felt anger towards my parents for not telling anyone. Not even family members on my Mums side. It was asthough it was a shameful secret and I was in the middle of it all. I felt asthough I was the secret. Eventually, I told the family because I didn't like the secrecy of it all.

For the next couple of months after I was told I didn't really feel any interest in finding my biological father, or any other half siblings/relatives. But eventually, after the initial shock of finding out, I started to get curious. I emailed the doctor who helped my Mum concieve me and ended up having a meeting with him to talk about the possibility of me finding any relatives. He told me that there was little to no chance of me ever finding any one of my relatives, that all the records of donors had been destroyed and if I was born literally 3 months later than I was then I would have recieved non-identifying information about my donor but, being born in May 1991 means that I'm not entitled to any information on him at all. All I've been told is he possibly has dark hair and is tall.

I have been searching for relatives online but theres not a great deal I can do until I'm 18, which is in another 4 months (I've been counting the months since I first found out when I was 13!). When I am 18 all I can do is join donorlink UK, have a DNA test and hope they find a match. I've always felt that theres a part of me missing. A big part. Its almost as if I will never know who I am and where I've come from fully until I get information about my biological family. Information that might not ever come to me. All you can do is wait, and hope.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kathleen's Story

Like many others faced with infertility, my parents turned to sperm donation to create their family. My conception through anonymous sperm donation occurred May 4, 1981 at St. Luke's in Houston, Texas. Following standard practice of the time, my parents recieved no information about the man - including medical heritage, heritage, or a donor number - beyond the fact that he was a student at Baylor College of Medicine. Therefore, my mother could not provide any other information about this man when she told me of my history at age eight. I initially did not care, though, and instead viewed my conception as special and magical. I felt very wanted and enjoyed the concept of an abstract family. However, eventually my fascination progressed to curiosity about the man who contributed to half of my genetic make-up. Among many other questions, I wanted to know whose face I saw reflected in my mirror given that I do not particularly resemble my maternal relatives and how we were similar. I requested my mother's medical records, only to be informed that they were destroyed years ago. By college, I experienced grief and loss in being intentionally denied access to own flesh and blood. I found it ironic that what leads many people to donor conception in the first place - the desire for a biological connection - had been severed between my biological father, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and me through anonymous sperm donation. With little information to go on and no records available, I turned to the old Baylor College of Medicine yearbooks. I naively believed that one man would jump out of the pages within a few hours and I would find my answers. However, I began to realize that I could resemble dozens of me. I gradually obtained contact information for all 600 men in the yearbooks, sent them letters, received 250 responses, and completed 16 DNA tests. Despite a 900-hour search, my biological father has yet to come forward. I now try to use my story to raise awareness about donor conception and advocate for needed changes within reproductive medicine.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vicki's Story

The year was 1952. I was in my grandparents apartment in New York City. We lived in Buffalo at the time and had come to NY so my father could go to a convention. On this particular evening my parents had gone into the city for a function. I had eaten dinner and was sitting in the spare guest room on the bed reading a book. I was about 9 years old. In the next room, the dining room, my grandparents were still sitting at the table after dinner with 2 other couples. I can remember this because the table seated 6 and I couldn’t wait to finish and get away from the talking and smoking. Although I can’t remember the entire conversation I heard, it went somewhat like this. They were discussing why my parents only had one child. Back in the early 50’s I guess only children were not the norm. My grandfather said that my mother had had to go to a doctor in Chicago in order to have me and that was because my father had had the mumps and could not have any more children. At the time this really piqued my interest because I wanted a little brother or sister like most of my friends. When I was born my parents lived in South Haven Michigan and it was true my mother had gone to a hospital in Chicago for my birth. I tucked this information away and over the years I thought about it and added to my storage of facts about my conception.

Because I was an only child I spent a lot of time around adults. I was quiet and a bit shy and sometimes they forgot I was there and listening. I heard a lot but didn’t ask questions. I really did wonder why my mother had to go to a special doctor in Chicago if my father was the one with the problem and could not have children.

With this in mind, I heard my father tell one of his friends, a doctor, that he did have the mumps before he met and married my mother. He told his friend how terrible it had been and painful because he had become very swollen. I figured out later what he was talking about.
I have brown eyes and my mother and father both have/had (she is alive in a nursing home in Maryland) very intense blue eyes. In high school I learned in biology class about genes and eye color and how it is almost impossible for 2 blue eyed parents to have a brown eyed child. The operative word here is almost.

My mother always kept a picture of the doctor who was her OB/GYN in Chicago. It was among the other pictures in the family album but it was there and if I came across it she would say oh, that was the doctor who delivered you - he was such a nice man. I later found letters he had written to both my parents during WWII when he was stationed in the Pacific asking about me and the family. Just a family friend??? I wasn’t sure.

My father was always reserved and formal and a bit cold. He was very religious and had been raised in Western Maryland the son of a farmer. He never disciplined me. If I did any thing that was in the least bit against what my parents considered proper, my mother would scold me with “You don’t know what a good father you have.” Later I wanted to ask why I didn’t know and why they didn’t tell me. I thought later that she was telling me that he was so good because he had allowed her to have me and that I was allowed to be born.

When I was 19, I got engaged to a young man who was studying premed at the University of Buffalo. We intended to wait until he finished medical school to get married but he got malignant melanoma and died in 1962, 6 months after we married. We knew he was terminal but we wanted to get married and so we did, big church wedding, the works. The point of this is that during that time, while he was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation I was informed that he could not have any children after this treatment. I spoke with my mother who then told me that I could have a child using donor sperm and that it was not difficult to do. And, I didn’t ask her how she knew this. I was distraught, young and didn’t want to question her.

I never thought about asking either my mother or my father about this. I knew it would hurt him and it would cause pain to them or so I believed. I just tried to forget about it but later when I married again and had children, I began to dwell on the sperm donor and the question of who he was. I came to the conclusion it was probably the doctor. Why had my mother kept his picture and letters from him for so many years. I was in my forties by then and over the years I would go through periods of questioning but I never asked them. Then too, I thought maybe she had had an affair with this doctor and my father knew about it and raised me as his own child even though I was the child of my mother’s illicit affair. If that was the case it would explain the eye color, and why she would say “you don’t know what a good father you have.” and the secrecy. And one big question I had was if they had used donor sperm why didn’t this beloved doctor know that thing about the eye color. You would think if he was picking the sperm donor he would have found one with blue eyes.

Again, I did not ask. Time passed and my parents aged. My mother developed dementia and was put in a nursing home. My father died at 96. It was time to investigate. I searched on line and found the doctor’s son. I wrote an email and he answered. His father had passed away but he was willing to meet with me and gave me information about his father. It was possible that his father and my mother had had an affair or that he was the sperm donor. And, he had had brown eyes. I was certain I had found the piece of my identity. I traveled to his home and met him and his wife. We went out to dinner and I looked at pictures of their family. There was a slight resemblance but nothing you could really pinpoint. I later asked if he would do a DNA test with me and he agreed but the test turned out negative. So I am where I was before and I am getting older.

When the internet was first conceived I began searching for information about anonymous sperm donors and artificial insemination in the US in the 1940’s. There was no information out there. I found no books, no groups, no blogs, nothing. I am writing with my story just to let anyone in this circumstance know that you are not alone and that there are many good people out there in the same situation. It is important to us and to our children. I want to know whose genes gave me my love of languages. Who gave me this adventurous spirit that took me to the Middle East and gave me 2 half Turkish children. Who’s blood lines are in me and my kids and my grandkids. Was he funny, was he a bit silly, did he love dogs, did he have some of the same medical problems I have. Do I have half siblings out there. Where are they. Could we laugh together.

I guess the point of all of this is don’t wait and do ask. It will hurt you much more not to know than it will hurt them to tell you. Others have made it a secret not you. I am 65 years old and even though I have little hope of finding any information at all, I have listed on sites for donor conceived children. I have recently paid to list on the DSR and found that they only go back to 1945. I was conceived in 1942 and born in 1943. I would like to find anyone who was born in Chicago in the 1940’s or 1950’s who is looking for information about sperm donor conceived during that same time period but I don’t think I will find anyone. I do hope that the rest of our group will have the benefit of time and technology and legally be able to trace their roots.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Welcome to Donor Conceived Perspectives.  I created this blog because I felt there was little information available for other offspring, parents, potential parents, donors, and the public to hear what donor-conceived individuals actually think.

Bear with us as we are still building this site.  My goal is to have at least a dozen or so offspring to be posting regularly, first on their personal story, and then on anything in the community that peaks their interest and they feel is something that the public needs to hear.  This can be discussions from our group PCVAI, demonstrations and current legal battles worldwide, or updates and/or success stories.  I want this to be a place where people can see the many different viewpoints of adult offspring from across the world, and how donor conception is viewed in other countries.  

We are eager to hear your input, so please comment on our posts, and I will be creating a "Mailbox" for you to send questions and concerns for the group as a whole or individual authors.

But PLEASE be respectful.  We do moderate comments, so be patient, and we will not tolerate abusive or obscene comments directed towards any person.  Many offspring in the past have been hesitant to publicize their opinions, and we do not want the authors here to stop contributing, so lets be civil human beings and learn from one another.  

Each offspring has a story, each of us has a unique perspective, and this is where we want you to hear them all.