As Father’s Day approaches this year, I thought I’d post our handout to prospective sperm donors. Unfortunately, none of the sperm banks have agreed to hand this flier out to any prospective sperm donors. At the bottom, I have also added a note from a DSR parent, posted today.
ARE YOU THINKING OF DONATING SPERM?
Your medical history, past, present and future…. Would you be willing to provide ongoing current medical information with respect to yourself and your immediate family?
As a donor, it is important to consider the ongoing ramifications for any children conceived who share your DNA. If you donate sperm this year, the sperm may be sold for many years into the future and potential mothers may keep that sperm for many years after purchase, often to try to provide their children with full biological siblings.
Should you or a member of your immediate biological family develop a health or medical issue following your initial completion of the donor interview, it would be essential that you provide this information to the sperm bank and post the information (anonymously if you’d like) on the Donor Sibling Registry www.donorsiblingregistry.com, an online database and community that enables donors, recipients, and offspring to make mutual consent contact and share information. For many years after your original donation children who share your DNA may develop medical and health concerns that can only be answered with your updated information.
It is also important to note that the accuracy of the medical and health history you provide to the sperm bank is crucial to the potential parents reviewing that information. Certain conditions carry genetic components that are not readily tested for and your accurate information is vital.
If you have children of your own, or plan to…..
Have you considered the possibility that in this small world your children may encounter biological half-siblings?
At the present time, sperm banks do not keep, nor are they required to keep, any record of live births resulting from any specific donor. What this means for the children born with your DNA is that they may be many in numbers (there are currently donors known to have more than 50 biological children as a result of their sperm donations). The children you have now or may have in the future may meet your biological children born from your donations. Honesty is essential. Before you donate, consider your willingness to be forthright with your children.
Are you planning on donating anonymously?
If you are planning on being an anonymous donor it is important to understand that because of advances in DNA testing and internet search engines, the likelihood of your remaining anonymous in the future is growing smaller. Have you considered what your reaction will be if you are found by your biological children in the future? The children born from your donations may be curious and will want to search out their genetic roots. As noted above, many donors have more than 20, 30 or even 100 biological children. Have you considered the possibility that you will be contacted in the future, even if your donation is anonymous? How would you respond if, one day in the future, you were asked to meet with your genetic offspring and his or her parents? You will need to think about the fact that this could be potentially disruptive to any family that you may have formed n the traditional manner.
With this in mind, would you consider being an open donor now? This means that your biological offspring will be able to contact you when they turn eighteen (18) years of age.
Please consider how you might feel about your donation in the future. It is likely that more than one child will come to exist as a result of your donation. These children are genetically yours; in fact, they may one day have children of their own who will be your genetic grandchildren! Take a moment to imagine how donor offspring might feel. No doubt many will wonder about who they may look like, where they get their talents and personality traits from, and their genetic family history. You are a “donor” to the parent(s), but to the child you are a biological father. Imagine your reaction if your genetic offspring needed a lifesaving bone marrow transplant and reached out to you.
Please consider these issues carefully as you make your decision on whether or not to become a donor. Your actions today may have an incalculable effect on the future.
Your donation is much more than a transaction with a sperm bank.
And finally, a note from a DSR mother that I received today, in regard to Father’s Day:
As Father’s Day approaches, I want to once again express my profound appreciation for all that Wendy has done to create, maintain, and promote DSR.Thanks to her, this will be the 3rd Father’s Day that my daughter has been able to give to her father a Father’s Day card. Thanks to the DSR providing a forum for the mutually desired exchange of information, my daughter’s father and his family will be there tonight to watch her 8th grade promotion/graduation ceremony. The DSR is helping stretch the boundaries of what it means to be ‘family’ and allowed my donor the option of shedding his anonymity and participating in the life of a child he helped me create.