Over the past decade there have been a couple of Donor Sibling Registry “copycat” sites. These sites offer some of the same capabilities that the DSR has offered. Recently I have seen some new ones cropping up.
There are repercussions of creating these new small “registries”. Most urgently, they dilute what has been a single focused searching capability. I hear all the time from adopted people who wish that they too had only one source to search at. The more “registries” the less likely people are to find one another. When pressed on this, these copycat sites responded with messages like “the more the merrier.” These people haven’t a clue.
Bill Cordray, one of the most outspoken donor conceived people in the US, had this to say: “I think it is a bad idea to undermine the reputation of Wendy’s work by setting up a competitive registry. Although it’s a free Internet and you can do what you want, it will just weaken the value of DSR if several similar registries are set up and you’d have to go to all of them to do any cross-checking. As far as the fee goes, it is more than reasonable.”
Creating more “registries” only does a disservice to donor families around the world. If the focus is taken off of us, it makes it harder for people to know where to post themselves so that they have the best chances for being found. Ultimately, people will not have the chance to connect that they have now, through the DSR. If you post on a copycat site, you may never know that your matches have been sitting on the DSR all along. I am frequently on several of these sites having to tell people that their matches are already posted on the DSR. (A lot more work for me!) And if you lurk on the DSR without posting, you’ll never know how many of your matches are also lurking, also waiting for someone with their donor number to post first.
These new sites boast that they are free. Well, it’s easy to be free while you have a few dozen members, or even a few hundred. We were also free for the first five years of operation, as I ran and built the site with my own money and a few small donations. When we hit more than 7000 members, it became clear that I would need help from members to continue growing our charity organization, as we received no outside funding. The website is still completely free for browsing, and the $75/year or $175/permanent membership fees are only for people wanting to post their information or make contact. With more than 41,300 total members (children, parents, egg and sperm donors, adult donor conceived people and “others”), and more than 10,700 people matched- your odds are pretty good for matching on the DSR.