We have been working on some DSR site upgrades, and hope to have them complete within the next few weeks. The most exciting of these is the picture uploading capability. Members will be able to post photos with their postings and choose whether they wish to have the pictures viewable by everyone, or just people who have posted for their donor. This capability will be very user friendly!
We will soon be sending automated emails to those already posted on the site when they have a new match. So that these messages, and messages from member to member are received- please don’t forget to check your spam folders, or make sure that DSR messages are recognized by your email provider as valid.
We are also looking into having a few DSR pages translated into 6-8 languages.
RESEARCH- We are currently working with the University of S.F’s Institute for Human Genetics on some proposed research that would use donor sibling groups to study influence of heredity on psychological traits. We look to examine six psychological constructs: personality, intelligence, working memory, obsessionality, narcissism, and happiness. I’ll keep you posted on this. We should know if we have approval by September.
MEDIA- We are still pursuing the idea of a DSR docu-series for tv. We currently have a production company pitching the idea to the networks for a top quality weekly tv show that would feature different DSR individuals, families and stories. We know how successful the media has been in helping to make donor issues a public discussion- I think that we could, through the telling of DSR families stories, have people better understand some of the issues we all deal with and what we’ve all learned over the years. We would focus on the searching for biological relatives, the connecting- the joys and challenges this can present. Weâ€d also focus on what happens after connecting- the meetings-the redefining of family and how that can look so different for each individual and family. Telling these stories from the perspectives of the parents-to-be, parents, donor conceived people and the donors would be an incredible opportunity. Any one willing to participate, please let me know!
PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS: We are exploring the new genetic testing that is available through companies like 23andme to see how these types of test results could help DSR members who have very limited medical information on their donors. We are hoping to have some sort of discounted rate for DSR members. Stay tuned!
SPERM BANK INFO: We recently presented our egg donor research at the ESHRE meeting, where we had the chance to dialog with three sperm banks that were also attending the conference. We received a warm reception from two of the banks, but I must put out a warning on the third- Cryos International. The director of that bank said to me, because of YOU, we are now creating invisible donors! Apparently, they are not aware that there is no such thing as an invisible donor. That with DNA testing and Google- donors can most certainly be found. The director seemed to think that as long as his donors did not put their own DNA in for testing, that they were safely anonymous. Definitely not so, and it is dishonest at this point for any sperm bank to promise anonymity to any donor. In my opinion, this sperm bank is stuck in the dark ages and completely ignoring the research that has been done on the importance of honesty and disclosure in families.
Although it hasn’t happened yet, we are still hopeful, that one day we can stand behind and recommend a sperm bank that shows they are committed to doing the right thing for the donor conceived, the parents and the donors. This would include proper education and counseling for all donors and parents before they make the decision to donate and use donated sperm (by a third party not affiliated with the sperm bank). This would also include adequate genetic testing of all donors, accurate tracking of all children born to any one donor, keeping limits on the number of children born to any one donor, sharing and updating all medical issues amongst families, and supporting the DSR and our work to address the needs of donor conceived people and help those who wish to connect to learn more about their genetic, ancestral and medical backgrounds.
COUNSELING: As many of you know, we now offer a free session of counseling with a licensed therapist. We are thrilled that some of you have taken us up on this offer and have decided to continue to offer this service as the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.