Both Ryan and I really liked The Delivery Man. While the story was filled with holes and some things that didn’t really make sense, many of the overall sentiments and issues were very relevant and true to real life. While some perspectives were left out of the movie, (um…, where were the parents of these donor conceived people?), the public will get a little insight into the feelings of many donor conceived people and their donors/biological fathers. We see a little bit about the bonding between half-siblings, and are reminded that when you search for unknown biological family, you never know what you’ll find.
Many other important issues were also included, like a donor’s right to anonymity always trumping a child’s right to know where they come from and a sperm bank’s responsibilities as far as limiting the number of children born from any one donor (we have donors on the DSR with more than a hundred offspring). Most importantly though, I thought that the movie, just like Generation Cryo, pushes us to think about differently we all define “family” “parenthood” and what it means to be a “father”. And also, as we will see in Generation Cryo, we see a sampling of one donor family. It is certainly not representative of all donor families or donor conceived people.
Around 25% of the 533 donor conceived people in the movie desired to know the identity of the donor that their mother used. I suspect that in reality, this percentage is actually a lot higher. Because the kids in the movie had no parents in sight, we might assume that many of them didn’t have a father figure at home. But we need to be careful when traveling down that road, as many donor offspring with great dads at home, are also curious about their origins, just like in adoption. I have heard some parents of donor children uncomfortable hearing that offspring are looking for their “dad” or a “father”, insisting it’s just a “donor”. It’s important for parents not to completely dismiss this sentiment.
Here are just a few introductions on the DSR that I have received over the past few weeks, showing different levels of curiosity as well as different terminology, perspectives, and framing of the curiosity and the search:
- Me & my brother were both conceived because of one man, and I am dying to find out who he is, along with my other half brothers and sisters out there. Just want to know my family…
- I am searching mostly for siblings I may have from that donor, as well as some family history for the donor.
- I’m curious about my biological father. I am incredibly close with my family and I love each and every one of them and I’m not looking to make this donor a part of my life or anything. I guess I’m most curious about what this mystery man looks like. And maybe even find out how many siblings I really have.
- I feel like I have an empty space inside me that needs to be filled and I feel that this can be filled through knowing my relatives.
- I have wondered about my father and siblings my whole life. I gave up hope years ago, and pray that this site can help me repair some broken holes in my life
- I was about 16 years old when I was told that I was the offspring of a sperm donor I love my dad more dearly than I can express, I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s the little things though that make me so curious. I’d like to know more about my full heritage, maybe even some of my half siblings
- I do have a dad who I respect a lot, bit something inside wants me to find out more, find someone who might look like me, find out if the blood line has any hereditary diseases etc.
- I just want to see what my dad looks like or see how many brothers and sisters I could have.
- I don’t feel I need a relationship with my biological dad, but sure do get curious about my medical and ancestral history. Also wonder if I have any siblings floating around out there!
And from a few donors:
- I am your donor not your dad.
- I would like to hopefully connect with my biological children someday.
- I’m happy to have helped bring life into this world. Open to being contacted and by biological offspring and/or parents. Limited sharing contact is just fine as well. If offspring identified, I can provide additional health/genetic info.
There were a few times that Ryan and I looked at each other during the movie and smiled, realizing that some of the dialog in the movie had been taken from things we’ve said in interviews. There were other times that I held back tears because for many years, I had wished that Ryan’s donor would reach out to him, and be as kind and sweet as the Vince Vaughn character. Also, some tears for recognizing so many DSR offspring, including my own son, in the sentiments I heard from the kids I saw on screen.
The movie left me asking just the right questions: When will sperm banks start keeping accurate records and start limiting the number of children born from these donors? Who do we include in our “real” family, and why? And, are we willing to expand that idea?