Thursday, November 13, 2008

FAQ's, Needed Legislation, and Resources

FAQ’s, Needed Legislation, and Resources
These are a few questions frequently asked to those of us conceived through sperm donation.

1. How can you be against something that brought you into the world?
-I believe that you can appreciate your life without supporting your method of conception. People produced through rape (which obviously involves an act of violence that does not apply to my situation) or an affair may feel similarly. While I am grateful to be here, I only support known (versus anonymous) donors.

2. Are you mad at your parents?
-No, I'm not mad at my mom, dad, or biological father. I believe that my parents sought donor conception as a "medical treatment." Nobody was aware of how we, the "products" of a business deal, might one day feel. I'm also not mad at my biological father. I believe that the vast majority of the young men who are targeted to become sperm donors are naive but kind and well-intentioned. Most probably wanted to help a family and needed money.
However, I think we need to learn from mistakes of the past and correct them for future generations. I also hope that my biological father will come forward one day. If he would give me a chance, I'm pretty sure that I would grow on him.

3. It's just one cell. Why do you care?
-That one cell led to my existence. It's not one cell, but half of who I am. If genetics weren't important in the first place, this booming industry wouldn't exist.
In addition, I am curious about the other half of my family, including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. I also want to meet my half-siblings, whether I have 2, 20, or 200 of them. There were no limits placed on the number of children that one man could produce, which increases the likelihood that I may have numerous half-brothers and half-sisters.
I also want access to my medical history - which would be helpful not only since I am diabetic, but for appropriate screening for other illnesses - and heritage. I have even googled my features to try to figure out my ancestry.

4. Aren't you violating a contract by searching?
-No, I am simply the result of a contract that was signed by my mom, the clinic, and my donor long before I was even born.

5. Is your search threatening to your dad?
-My dad knows that he's my one and only dad. Although I do view the other man as my biological father versus an unimportant donor, he is not a second dad. To me, your dad is the person who raises you as his own. I think that each of us must define these terms for ourself - donor, biological father, and dad.
6. How is sperm donation any different than donating blood (or an organ)?
-While some people may think that the two seem similar, I find sperm donation and blood donation very different. Sperm donation involves paying a person to help CREATE life, while blood is given to SUSTAIN life. Furthermore, sperm donation contributes to the resulting child's sense of self and identity. Sperm donation also potentionally tranfers a sense of loss and grief to the children that does not apply to blood donation.

7. I'm thinking about using donated eggs/sperm because I'm single (or in a same-sex relationship or struggling with infertility). What would you recommend in terms of the best interest of my future child?
-I highly commend those who learn about all perspectives prior to going through this process. I think it takes great insight. My main advice is to use a known donor. Even if your child does not feel like me, at least he/she will have options available. Also, I strongly encourage honesty. Tell your child at an early age (in an age-appropriate manner) about his/her conception. This avoids secrecy and deception within the family.

8. What legislation do you want passed?
-I support the objectives as stated by The International Network of Donor Conception Organizations (INODCO,
1. End donor anonymity.
2. Track all recipients, donors and births and safeguard all records in a central, government data bank indefinitely. Information to be accessible by all involved families.
3. Mandate reporting of donor conceived live births from each donor.
4. Limit the number of births conceived with the sperm or eggs from any given donor
5. Require donors to regularly update their family medical history. Medical information to be included in donor data bank.
6. Mandate genetic testing for donors and include genetic information in donor bank.
7. Push our respective governments to inquire into followup health histories of egg donors.
8. Require mandatory third party counseling for all prospective donors and parents.
9. Require legal and financial protection for anonymous donors so that they may feel safe to come forward.
**The following organizations also push for the above, new legislation internationally. (Endorsed by the Donor Sibling Registry, USA; The Donor Conception Network, UK; CaBRI, USA; MAIA, France; Procreation Medicalement Anonyme, France; Donor Conceptuion Support Group, Australia; and International Donor Offspring Alliance (IDOA)

9. What Resources are Available?
For additional information about donor conception as well as a registry to look for donor relatives, visit the Donor Sibling Registry ( Other helpful sites include the Infertility Network of Canada( and The United Kingdom Donor Conception Network ( Information about finding biological relatives through the X chromosome (for women) and Y chrosome (for men) can be found at and To view a site containing pictures and detailed stories of donor-conceived people, go to Online groups about donor conception include People Conceived Via Artificial Insemination (PCVAI), IDOA, and Tangled Webs. For information about legally binding DNA testing, visit Identigene at For non-legally binding DNA testing, visit the Genetic Testing Laboratories, Inc. (GTL) at

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