By Corey Whelan, The American Fertility Assn. in the Infertility & Miscarriage Examiner
For decades, the donor sperm insemination process was shrouded in secrecy. Children created this way had little hope of retrieving medical or other types of information about their genetic origins and parents often were encouraged to not disclose their children’s donor status. But Wendy Kramer, co-founder and director of the Donor Sibling Registry, was determined to change that situation for children like her son, who was conceived with donated sperm, as well as for those born from newer technologies via egg or embryo donation. In fact, she hopes the lessons learned from donor sperm, which has been utilized as a family building technique for much long than either of the other methods, can serve as a model for how the third party reproduction field should be treating both gamete donors and children resulting from third party donation.
On Thursday, February 24th at 11 AM PST/2 PM EST The Surrogacy Lawyer: Your Guide to IVF and Third Party Family Building, Theresa Erickson, Esq., will discuss donor disclosure issues and the work of the groundbreaking Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) with Wendy Kramer (www.donorsiblingregistry.com). The show will air on Voice America.
The Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) was founded in 2000 to assist individuals conceived as a result of sperm, egg or embryo donation that are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties. With more than 30,000 current members, the DSR has helped to connect more than 8,000 of those with their half siblings and/or sperm or egg donors. Without any outside support, the DSR has single-handedly pioneered a national discussion about donor conception and families. Wendy and her son, Ryan, have appeared on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America and many other news shows and publications.
“Two of the most intensely debated topics in reproductive medicine center around donor anonymity and disclosure,“ says attorney Erickson. “Though there has been a growing consensus among mental health practitioners that openness about genetic origin positively influences donor-conceived children, still many questions remain. As a field, we have much to learn from the experience of the adoption community and pioneers like Wendy Kramer. We are looking forward to a productive discussion about the options that every intended parent and professional helping them must consider about these issues.”