What are some of the unique challenges you experience as a donor conceived person?
Selected short answers from the 2020 We Are Donor Conceived survey
I’m unable to vouch for my health history on medical forms, I am disconnected from my culture, and I do not have relationships with most of my siblings or extended family.
Sperm donor conceived person from USA, age 17
I feel burdened by the need to constantly be educating people and explaining my story in the most basic of ways because people don’t understand that they’re not “just donors”. I frequently feel on edge in public, knowing that I could be walking passed my siblings without the simple dignity of knowing who they are. I feel like I’m constantly managing complex relationships between my biological father, my new siblings, my family and their families. I’ve had relationships with siblings become strained because of the pressures that their families put on them and their discomfort with their contact with me, even though my own parents are supportive.
Sperm donor conceived person from Australia, age 30
I believe that my existence is unethical which can be hard to bear at times. My (social) mother believes that I am partly related to her because she was pregnant with me which is untrue, we share no DNA. It’s difficult to know that she never really gave informed consent when using a donor egg because she still does not understand that we are not at all related. It’s also hard knowing that there are people out there that you are related to that you’re not supposed to know about or have contact with, especially the donors.
Sperm and egg donor conceived person from USA, age 21
Three months after I initiated contact (as soon as I turned 18 I requested the info) my donor died under terrible circumstances. His family didn’t know about our existence, until his death so it’s been a little difficult to get to know them. A year ago one of my donor sibs committed suicide after a long struggle with mental health. It was weird to attend the memorial as a sibling who did not know them. The family history of mental health was absent from the donor’s forms. Other than that I’ve had a BLAST.
Sperm donor conceived person from USA, age 27
I just found out I am DC. I will take my DNA test as soon as it arrives but the biggest challenge so far has been the revelation that my identify is not what I have always thought it is. My relationship with my social parents may be a challenge. They see having DC children as a shameful secret that they only told us because two of my sisters did 23andMe and the results showed that they were half sisters. I am not convinced they ever planned to tell us and that raises some trust issues. Having no clue about my actual medical history really bothers me, especially since I have a 6 week old daughter and my wife and I did not do any genetic testing because we thought we knew our family history.
Sperm donor conceived person from USA, age 27
Other people don’t understand how difficult it is not knowing my biodad. Also, I hate that I have to walk on eggshells so as not to “scare him away” just to get basic information. I do feel that I missed out not knowing him as I grew up (and my donor siblings).
Sperm donor conceived person from USA, age 42
I lost 27 years with my biological family that I can never get back. On top of that, society doesn’t recognize my experience as a struggle. They think I should be “grateful” or that he was “just a donor”. It’s incredibly isolating and lonely to grieve a loss that others do not see as a loss.
Sperm donor conceived person from USA, age 28
Growing up I felt like I was always “off” in some way. I didn’t share the same interests as my parents, I struggled to feel complete and just thought that must be how everyone feels. When I found out I was DC, I struggled with understanding who I was with half of my DNA a mystery. When I found out the identity of my donor, his kids and another DC half-sibling, I felt very sad like I was robbed of the experience of knowing them and of them being a part of my life.
Sperm donor conceived person from USA, age 36
I view it as quite similar to being adopted, in terms of the feelings which you have to process. As a donor conceived person, I struggle with rejection issues. After all, my father sold me off for $25 so he would have a bit more money in university. Even now, although he is very welcoming and open, it’s not a father-child relationship and never will be. Seeing our similarities and realizing that this chance at a deeper relationship is long gone is quite painful to deal with.
Sperm donor conceived person from Canada, age 40