By admin on June 17, 2010

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.


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, 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…

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:

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.

By admin on June 10, 2010

The links to the surveys are now up on all the pages of the DSR.  All DSR members (paying or non-paying), donor offspring ages 7+, egg and sperm donors, and all parents (non bio and bio) are invited. If you are in touch with half siblings and/or donors who are not currently on the site, please invite them. They’ll just need to set up a DSR username in order to participate.

Thanks so much for participating!!!  Our letter of invitation/explanation:

Dear DSR Members:

I am writing to announce that we are moving forward with some novel research in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Institute for Human Genetics. We are initiating a study that will investigate the hereditary and environmental factors that influence physical, behavioral and medical traits among relatives in the DSR.

We have posted a link to a survey (roughly 35 minutes long) on the DSR website that is open to all members.  I hope you and/or your donor-conceived children will consider taking this survey, which will study some interesting traits such as personality, memory and physical attributes among sibling groups, parents and donors.  I know many of us look at our donor children and often wonder how they acquired their personalities and traits.  For donor conceived people, not knowing one half of their genetic background can leave them with many such questions. We have an opportunity at the DSR to examine donor-conceived people, their parents and their donors to inquire about the “nature vs. nurture” of it all.

This research is based on studying families.  It is open to all DSR members, including donor-conceived people (even those who have not yet matched with half-siblings and/or donors), their parents (both biological and non-biological) and the donors (if they are DSR members). For those donor-conceived people without a clinic or donor number, please feel free to complete the study with your biological and non-biological parents using your DSR username so we can identify you as a family.  By systematically recording patterns in the extended families found in the DSR, we can separate heredity and environment in a novel way.

In return for your participation, you will be entered into a lottery to win one of 50 $100 gift cards from, to be distributed randomly when the survey closes.  For more information please visit the study website at  If you have any questions, please contact myself or any member of our study team listed below.  I hope that you all will be as enthusiastic about this project as I am.



By admin on June 08, 2010

It’s been a while since we updated everyone on the goings-on here at the DSR.  A quick update:

1.  We are currently putting together research papers on the 759 donor offspring, 154 sperm donors and 109 egg donor parents, that we surveyed earlier this year. This research will be peer reviewed and (hopefully!) published in academic journals.

2. We have submitted two abstracts to ASRM for presentation at their October meeting: “Anonymity, Disclosure and Contact with Donors: How Experiences of Donor Conceived Offspring Vary by Family Type” and  “Semen Donors who are Open to Contact with their Offspring”. We should know by early July if the abstracts have been accepted.

3. We are about to launch a very exciting new research project in collaboration with UCSF’s Institute for Human Genetics- on nature/nurture. This study will investigate the hereditary and environmental factors that influence physical, behavioral and medical traits among relatives in the DSR. We will be sending out invitations to participate in the study within the next few days. We hope that all donors, donor conceived people and all parents (both bio and non-bio) will participate.

4. The DSR will have booths at this weekend’s Capital Pride in Washington DC and the next weekend’s Denver Pride in Colorado We will be taking to prospective parents, parents, donor conceived people and anyone who is interested in hearing about the DSR and what we do.

5. We will be speaking at July’s Genetics and Society meeting in Tarrytown NY.

6. We will be making a presentation at November’s National Council on Family Relations meeting in Minneapolis. The meeting is entitled: “Families and Innovation”.

7. We passed the 7,300 mark for people matched on the DSR. We currently have more than 27,425 donors, donor conceived people and parents on the DSR.