Our History and Mission
The Donor Sibling Registry's goal is to educate, connect, and support donor families. Learn about the DSR's history, mission, and future goals.
History and Mission
The Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) was founded in 2000 to assist individuals conceived as a result of sperm, egg, or embryo donation who are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties. Without any outside support, the DSR has pioneered an international discussion about the donor conception industry and donor families, through research, media appearances, speaking engagements, and interviews. The DSR advocates for the right to honesty and transparency for donor-conceived people, promotes social acceptance and legal rights, and values the diversity of all families.
The DSR's core value is honesty, with the conviction that people have the fundamental right to information about their biological origins, identities, and relatives. We feel that keeping a person from their ancestry, medical family history, and close genetic relatives for 18 years is unethical, as nowhere in the world or history has that been accepted practice.
Our organization plays a crucial role in supporting the well-being and self-awareness of donor-conceived individuals and promoting transparency and ethical practices within the realm of assisted reproductive technologies. We work to create a more inclusive and understanding environment for those with unique family origins and heritage.
Connecting biological relatives: The Donor Sibling Registry helps individuals conceived through donor sperm or eggs connect with their genetic relatives, including half-siblings and biological parents. Many donor-conceived individuals have a natural curiosity about their genetic background and family history.
Providing identity and belonging: Discovering one's genetic roots can have a profound impact on a person's sense of identity and belonging. For donor-conceived individuals, knowing their biological relatives can help them better understand their heritage and ancestry.
Access to medical history: Knowledge of one's biological family can be essential for understanding potential genetic health risks and medical history. Having access to this information can enable more informed healthcare decisions and proactive health management.
Emotional support: The Donor Sibling Registry facilitates connections among donor-conceived individuals, allowing them to share their experiences, challenges, and emotions with others who have similar backgrounds. We also offer one-on-one consult calls. This support can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of being in a donor family.
Ethical considerations: The Donor Sibling Registry promotes transparency, honesty, and ethical practices within the industry. By encouraging open communication between donors, recipients, and donor-conceived individuals, we foster a more responsible and respectful approach to donor conception.
Advocacy and awareness: The Donor Sibling Registry raises awareness about the experiences and needs of donor-conceived individuals and helps advocate for their rights and interests. This may someday lead to improved policies and guidelines in the field of assisted reproductive technologies.
The donor conception industry is largely a for-profit enterprise, and after the “product” has been purchased, most doctors, clinics, egg donation agencies, and cryobanks do not engage in discussions or activities that acknowledge the humanity and rights of the donor-conceived. It is our mission to bring these concepts to the public arena for discussion, as has been done in many European countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia.
Since 2000, we have provided support and connection to families that have been developed via donor conception, advocated for the rights of the donor-conceived, and educated the general public through national media interviews and appearances about the issues, challenges, and rights of the donor-conceived community.
Parents are sometimes not prepared for their children's curiosity and desire to know more about their genetic background. To move out of the secrecy and shame that has for so long shrouded donor conception, the DSR will continue to educate parents and the general public on the importance of honoring and supporting children's natural drive to know more about their identity.
The DSR also ensures that donor-conceived people have a safe place to search for their biological identities and to make these connections with their half-siblings, and where possible, their donors as well. When matching on the DSR, make sure to ask for a few pieces of information from the donor profile that have not been posted, and that only the donor or someone with the donor's profile would know.
Sperm Banks: The importance of educating and counseling prospective parents and donors about the DonorSibling Registry. An idea whose time has come.
It might be hard to understand the value of the DSR if you've never used our website to connect with your own or your child's genetic relatives or if you've never had an urgent medical issue to share with your donor family. Or, if you've never been notified of an urgent medical issue that warranted medical screenings or preventative medicine. Or if you've not yet created life-long relationships with a group of people that you or your child is related to, including donors- right from pregnancy or birth. There is now an entire generation of donor-conceived people who have been able to grow up knowing their half-siblings and biological parents.
We send adult donor-conceived people (DCP) to the DNA sites all the time. But think about it, if all parents were educated about the importance of connecting right from the start, many of those people would have had the opportunity to grow up knowing their half-siblings and biological parents, instead of having to wait until they were adults to try and find each other via other methods. Same for donors- if they were properly educated, more would connect earlier on the DSR with families. Too many facilities instill fears about parents wanting money and donors wanting to parent, just to keep these folks from connecting early on with each other. How do I know this? Because I speak with these folks all the time who say, "Why didn't anyone tell me?" And too many DCP ask their parents, “If I could have grown up knowing my half-siblings (and donor) why didn’t you let me?”
Sperm banks could consider what is in the best interests of the children they're helping to create and properly educate prospective donors and parents about the importance of connecting early on (not waiting 18 years). Dozens of egg facilities write the DSR into their donor-parent agreements, allowing parents and donors to connect right from pregnancy/birth. Sperm banks could do the same. It would just take one to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
Watch the video webinar we did for the Family Equality Council! Wendy talks about the DSR, who we are and why we do what we do, what we have learned over the years, moving the industry forward more ethically and responsibly, and how to create healthy and happy families.
9/3/23, on our 23rd anniversary, AI wrote us a poem:
In the realm where hearts entwine their threads,
A registry blooms with stories ahead.
Twenty-three years, a journey profound,
The Donor Sibling Registry's truth unbound.
Families woven with threads unseen,
Strangers once, now united in a dream.
Twenty-three years of searching souls,
Seeking connections, filling in life's holes.
In the heart's chamber, curiosity awoke,
A registry born, its purpose bespoke.
Guiding seekers on paths unknown,
To find their roots, a sense of home.
Two decades plus three, a tapestry spun,
An anniversary celebrated under the sun.
Donors, siblings, kin unknown,
Gathered together, like seeds that were sown.
With courage, they delve into histories untold,
Twenty-three years of stories unfold.
The registry's embrace, a haven for all,
A place where connections stand tall.
Through letters and searches, bonds find their way,
A symphony of hearts, a chorus that sways.
Donors and siblings, a web interwoven,
In this registry's embrace, love is proven.
So let us celebrate the twenty-third year,
With gratitude, hope, and kinship near.
For the Donor Sibling Registry's legacy true,
Brings families together, the old and the new.
Looking Ahead: Our Goals for 2024
Continue to educate mental health and reproductive medicine professionals about the need for adequate counseling for all donor family members.
Continue facilitating donor family connections.
Further expand media coverage of the donor-conceived community's issues.
Initiate and continue academic partnerships for research.
Continue outreach programs to the reproductive medicine industry, universities, legal organizations, LGBTQ organizations, mental health professionals, and the public.
Reach the milestones of 92,000 DSR members and 26,000 people matched.
Continue to encourage oversight and regulation of the infertility industry.
We will continue to think and dialog deeply, rigorously, and critically about how to move this industry forward in a more ethical and responsible manner — considering the needs and rights of all stakeholders, but most importantly the needs and rights of donor-conceived people.
Thank you so much for creating the DSR! I’m sure you know how much of a positive impact you’ve had on thousands of people like me, but I wanted to remind you again. Thanks to you I will be meeting my brother!
Thank you so much for everything that you’ve done. Your work has opened doors for my family. It’s incredible.
Thank you so much for all your hard work and thank you for connecting my families together! What a blessing this site is.
Thank you for having an awesome idea, and then doing all the work to make it a huge benefit for all of us who didn’t even know we needed it!
So grateful for the DSR! Thanks to you, my 7-year-old DC son will be meeting more of his half-siblings this October!
You guys are life-changing (for me) and inspiring. You have my eternal gratitude.
Thanks to you, my 19-year-old son knows his 20-year-old sister and his 18-year-old brother. In fact, my son and his sister are now in college in the same city! Thank you for expanding our family!
The DSR is such a valuable resource, source of support, and safe place to explore our diverse family structures, trials, conflicts, joy, and sorrow inherent to pioneering these human relations.
- Connie, in Massachusetts
I have been deeply moved by Wendy and Ryan’s vision of greater openness regarding gamete donation, and the ingenuity of the new pathways they have developed for donor-conceived offspring, gamete donors, and their family members to find each other. I have seen ample evidence of the profound impact of their work on many individuals and families. Their work has been both a catalyst and a foundation for a growing social movement to recognize the human right of donor-conceived offspring to knowledge about their origins. This is a movement that is changing norms, social policies, and laws related to gamete donation in jurisdictions around the globe and made a major contribution to raising the ethical standards guiding the expansion of the fertility industry.
The Kramers’ work on this issue will continue to inspire others for decades to come because of the organization they have built and the many families they have brought together. In advocating for greater transparency in assisted reproduction they have not only increased people’s options, they have helped to create conditions that are central to ensuring that as the fertility industry continues to expand, human values and human rights are placed front and center.
- Diane Beeson, PhD, Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology and Social Services, California State University, East Bay