April 24, 2024

Sperm-donor child launches web forum

Undercuts PR about “The Kids are All Right”

Alana SIt had to happen sooner or later: a forum for people
born from reproductive technologies, especially donor eggs and sperm. There are
many forums where IVF mums can swap stories about their pregnancies, but none
about the mums’ children. Until now.

Alana S., a 24-year-old writer and musician from San Francisco,
has launched a website called AnonymousUs.org. She is the child of an anonymous
sperm donor and she is inviting parents and children to contribute their
stories, positive and negative.

In the US, she
estimates that every year 30,000-60,000 children are born with donated sperm.
While the fertility industry makes US$3.3 billion annually, little is known
about the experiences of these children and what kind of adults they grow up to

“Not all the
kids are doing all right,” she says. She wants the site to be a “tool for
better decision-making so that parents and policy-makers aren’t relying solely
on biased endorsements from clinics and vendors.” She recognizes that many
donor-conceived adults may wish to improve practices and policies, but fear
publicity or conflicts of loyalty with their families. They may have ugly
family secrets.

“Many of us want
to speak about our pain, but we don’t want our faces on camera or to hurt our
parents.” Some of the stories are very thought-provoking. Here are excerpts
from three recent posts:

“I got asked on a date to see Jennifer
Aniston’s movie. Even this past weekend, a friend of mine, totally unknowing of
my situation, started talking about sperm and egg donation. It’s a hot topic
and people have opinions on it. People also LOVE to ask the question ‘What are
you?’ in reference to heritage. Coming up with an answer, a lie, on the spot,
is never fun. Even worse is when you get caught in the lies. It’s impossible to
escape. The reminders are everywhere.”

“I am not angry at my parents, but still
struggle with the secrecy, as I have not told my brother that we are only
half-siblings, and my dad doesn’t know that I have been told this information.
I was treated differently by his parents growing up, and I now know why this
occurred (they were aware of the donation).”

“I am a human being, yet I was conceived
with a technique that had its origins in animal husbandry. Worst of all,
farmers kept better records of their cattle’s genealogy than assisted
reproductive clinics had kept for the donor conceived people of my era. It also
made me feel strange to think that my genes were spliced together from two
people who were never in love, never danced together, had never even met one

Michael Cook
sperm donation