Large Groups of Half Siblings

By admin on July 18, 2008

As most of you know, the sperm banks are unaware of exactly how many kids are born from any given donor. (Estimates are that only 40% of women report back on their live births). We have quite a few very large groups of half siblings listed on the DSR. In my conversations with the sperm banking industry, it’s become to clear to me that they have no clue as to why this might be an issue for families. One sperm bank director said to me, after I mentioned that one donor had more than 100 offspring that we knew of, “I don’t see what the issue is, as long as they do not live in the same geographic area…”.

Can any of you who are in larger groups share your experiences? I know that all the larger groups are mostly made up of children under the age of 5, so it will be while before we can hear from the donor conceived as to what these numbers mean to them, but any parents willing to share their perspectives on this? (Many in the larger groups have actually removed their information from the DSR.)

One issue that I am acutely aware of is that the larger the group, the  less likely the donor is to make contact. We have had donors come and join the DSR, make contact with a few offspring, and then remove their information because they could not deal with the growing number of offspring. (For one group, a donor actually removed his information at the insistence of one of the moms, who didn’t want any more families in their “group”.) So basically for these kids, it can become a “first come, first serve” type of situation.

Knowing that many of these kids will indeed be interested to know their donors, this is an inherent problem then, as the kids in the larger groups have a much lower chance of ever connecting with their donors.

A few other issues that I can think of: The larger the group, the harder it is to share important medical information. In fact, if not for the DSR, families who use the same donor would not be able to share medical information at all. For the donor conceived children of the 90% of heterosexual couples who never tell their children the truth, the more children out there, the more possibility of dating a half sibling.