By admin on October 30, 2010
The Donor Sibling Registry presented two research studies at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM's) annual meeting this past week — one on the 164 sperm donors and one on the 759 offspring that we surveyed. We will now be working hard to write the donor paper, and to get our finished offspring paper published.

The meeting was a bit disheartening for me because so many of the “experts” in the reproductive medicine field — including the mental health professionals, sperm bank folks, egg and embryo clinics and agencies, reproductive endocrinologists, and doctors — are just not informed of many of the issues that we, the donor families, face after pregnancy. I drove home thinking that if many of them could field the emails and phone calls the DSR receives in a week, they would have a whole new perspective on the issues, needs, and desires of the donors, offspring, and recipients. They are so focused on infertility and on achieving pregnancy that not a lot of attention is paid to the families they help to create.

I attended on “debate” on donor anonymity that was filled with quite a bit of misinformation. “There is no scientific or psychological proof that anonymity is harmful to donor offspring.” Even though we (and others) keep pumping out research showing that donor offspring advise prospective parents to not use anonymous donors, and that not knowing one’s genetic, ancestral, and medical background can be harmful and hurtful, the “experts” choose to keep ignoring this research. (74% of offspring recommend that parents use a known or willing-to-be-known donor. 83% who were not in contact with their donors wished to be. Almost 90% wished to be in contact with half siblings. And almost half of these respondents were not from the DSR’s website; they came from other communities and websites.) For offspring, having the ability to make connections with biological family does matter.

The director of Fairfax was adamant that donors did not have the right to know their own donor numbers, even in cases where there was medical information that the donors wished to share. And the director of Idant still believes that anonymity is best. (Our donor research showed that 84% of donors have never been contacted for medical updates, yet 23% say that they or close family relatives have medical or genetic issues that would be important for recipient families to know about.) Just as the world of adoption came to realize that open and honest adoptions are best, I truly hope that the sperm banks can put their profit motives aside in the future and truly consider what is in the best interests of the children being born.

I remain adamant in my views of which sperm banks to steer clear of, and I became a little more comfortable with the couple that I do recommend. As always, anyone needing assistance with choosing a sperm bank can contact me.

On the positive side, I am glad that we were even invited to present our research and that I did get to talk to quite a few people.

By admin on October 12, 2010

For the first three years after it’s establishment in 2000, the DSR operated from this Yahoo group site. In 2003, when we became too big to properly support the matches that were happening here on Yahoo, we built the website and moved all DSR activities (except for discussion, which stayed here) over to there. We have continued to add capabilities and grow the site, but without changing the site interface too much in the 7 years that it’s been up and running.

Seven years in a website’s life is an eternity! It’s become apparent to us that our site really needed to be updated and improved. Currently, the donor Q&A page, the photo page and the medical page are not being fully utilized as I believe that people are just not aware that these options exist. Also, people seem to have a hard time accessing and updating their personal information, postings, and messages that they have sent and received.

So- we have just hired a web development firm to assist us in a complete site rebuild. I am hoping that we can have the new and improved DSR website launched right after the first of the new year. We want to continue to grow the DSR, support our members (parents-to-be, donor offspring, sperm and egg donors all parents and all other interested family members), facilitate matches and educate families and the public- and we feel that updating the DSR site will help greatly in achieving these goals.

Wish us luck!

By admin on October 12, 2010

The DSR has been invited to present two research papers at the British Fertility
Society’s meeting in January. This will be our third year presenting at their

The first will be a poster presentation on the surveys we collected from 164
sperm donors (approximately 25% came from outside of the DSR).

The second, an oral presentation, will be on the surveys we collected from 759
donor offspring- the largest donor offspring survey to date. (Approximately half
of the respondents came from outside of the DSR).

We are also working on papers, so that this research might be published as well.