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Shout out for opinons on large donor-conceived sibling groups

Posted by Corey Whelan on with 2 Comments

By Corey Whelan

My father died when I was eight years old.  He was a Polish immigrant who came here before WWII and fought in the Pacific. I was an only child, and after my dad died I was so lonely.  Most of my time was spent walking and daydreaming about a different reality I guess.  My favorite daydream was that my dad was on a long business trip in Florida and would come home soon.  My second favorite was that he had another family in Poland that my mom and I knew nothing about and that one day, the doorbell would ring and it would be my half-brother or sister standing there, waiting to meet me and say hello.  

In my fantasy I always had one or two new siblings and of course best friends forever to meet and to belong to.  I had forgotten all about this fantasy until recently, when I stumbled upon an ad on Craig's List for sperm donors.  The ad was listed under part-time work and listed the requirements for being a donor as contributing a sperm sample one to three times weekly for a year, at a salary of $14,000.  I did the math and well, no matter how you slice it that donor is going to help produce alot of kids.  I have been told that donors expect five to ten children to be born as a result of their donation but some reports indicate that 75-150 is not unusual.

I am writing this blog today is because I want to open up this conversation, hear your voices and know your opinions.  Professionals in the field, patients, donors, kids, everyone.  I am writing a shout out to all of you to write your opinion on The AFA blog page comment section instead of on various facebook pages so that it all appears in one place. You may have to sign in to do so, if you hit a snag email me and let me know.  .  I realize that Wendy Kramer and DSR have been very involved in moving this conversation forward and I will be sharing this with her.

So, is this practice a good thing, a bad thing or a neutral thing?  How do you all feel about large donor sibling groups?  Is there a magic number or does it not matter at all? 

Let's talk about it. 

Comments

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Victoria Reilly Mar 11, 2012 6:23pm

I am 68 years old and most probably older than all of you. I have known about being donor conceived for approximately 59 years. Hence, I believe that I have been thinking about this since before most of you were born. There are 2 major issues about sperm and egg donation that I find completely objectionable.
1. Anonymous donation. I have been searching for my sperm donor father since I learned about this when I was 9. (OK, I was not actively searching but I was spending a lot of time thinking about it, even if I did not know quite what it meant). Back when I was a teenager, even if I could have talked about it to my parents, I would have told them that I did not care that I was donor conceived. I would have told that that all that mattered was that they loved me and that I loved them. That would have been a lie, but I would have told them that because I would never have wanted to hurt them in any way. I waited until my "Dad" died in 2004 to actively search for my biological father, and unfortunately that was way too long to wait. The players were either dead or unable to communicate. So, don't think that you are going to get an honest answer from a teenager who loves his or her parents and does not want to hurt them, and don't think that these feelings do not change over the years and that as one has children and grandchildren this need for biological answers does not build. Thank God for DNA search websites. I do have hope.
2. The number of children being produced by single sperm donors. This is more than just an "ick" factor. All of the good, religious (and I don't care what religion you are) people who use egg and sperm donation, must know that most religions frown upon marriage between brother and sister and even half brothers and sisters. Ask the DC adults that you know if they would want to marry their half brother or half sister. What, you don't know that many DC adults - go back to number 1, anonymous sperm donation. And, thank heavens more mothers and fathers are telling their children how they were conceived, but if they can't find answers about their bio-parents it doesn't mean too much to just know how it was accomplished.
No, some people don't care and some parents don't tell. But, I think, and this is purely my take on it, that most donor conceived adults for many reasons would like to know at least what the ancestry of their donor parent was and how many half-siblings they might have.
I will continue to search until I am dead, and if I don't find out well, if there is a next life, maybe I will get an answer then.
Vicki Reilly

Victoria Reilly Mar 11, 2012 11:27pm

I must apologize, I had written the above to comment on Stuart Bell's post titled "Growing Concerns about Non Regulation of Donors – Really???". In registering on the site and trying 3 times to post somehow I commented on your post instead of Mr. Bell's. I think my comment is still relevent to this post but Mr. Bell's post really raised my hackles and got me to write. So, hope this is not out of context for this posting.
Regards,
Vicki Reilly