Donor Conceived Alliance of Canada The Donor Conceived Alliance of Canada brings together donor-conceived people (DCP) and allies to advocate for the rights and interests of DCP in Canada.
Donor Conception NetworkDC Network offers a wide range of activities, resources, and events for would-be and current parents of donor conceived children in the UK.
Are You Donor Conceived? RUDC offers resources and support for the DC community and works to create awareness amongst the wider public that donor conceived people exist and are being discriminated against in social, legal and medical ways.
Donor Children Donor Children is a free social network that helps donor conceived people privately or publicly connect to their biological-genetic family and the worldwide community. Take a look at their YouTube channel for interviews with donor conceived people.
Anonymous Us Launched by Alana S. Newman, Anonymous Us is a “safety zone” where donor conceived people, parents, donors, and others can share their unvarnished thoughts about third party reproduction.
Donor Sibling Registry The Donor Sibling Registry is a website and non-profit organization 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. So far, the site has helped to connect more than 13,000 half-siblings (and/or donors).
Donor Detectives This Dutch-language site founded by six donor-conceived adults provides support and information for people born from anonymous sperm and/or egg donation, including how to search for biological family members.x
Donor Conceived Offspring, Donors, Parents This group is for all people who were conceived via anonymous donor, people who used anonymous donors to conceive their children, and anyone who donated sperm or eggs or is considering donor conception.
We Are Donor Conceived Donor conceived people around the world can share their perspectives on topics relevant to our community, connect with each other, and find support using this Facebook group, which also acts as a newsfeed for site-related content, including photos, stories, resources, and news updates.x
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Whether you just found out you are donor conceived or you’ve known for years, the Donor Conceived Community is a safe place to connect with people facing a similar journey through peer support groups.
Laura M. is a donor conceived person and open-ID egg donor who offers support for donor conceived people, donors, and parents of the donor conceived. Learn more on her website, donorconceivedsupport.com.
Carole Lieber Wilkins offers online therapy for parents of donor conceived children and intended parents via donor conception, adoption, or surrogacy.x
Donor Unknown This moving documentary feature follows JoEllen Marsh’s search for her sperm donor father who she only knows as Donor 150. When JoEllen discovers a unique online registry that connects donor-conceived children, she manages to track down a half sister in New York. Soon, The New York Times picks up the story and 12 more half-siblings emerge across the United States. WATCH ON VIMEO ($)
Father Mother Donor Child Third party reproduction has become a relatively common means of reproduction. In this documentary film, Maria Arlamovsky talks to the children, donors, and parents affected by it. WATCH ON VIMEO ($)
Anonymous Father’s Day Thousands of donor-conceived people have a deep longing to know who they belong to, where they come from, and who they look like. What is it like to grow up not knowing who your biological father is or if you have any siblings? Anonymous Father’s Day explores these questions through interviews with donor-conceived adults. WATCH ON VIMEO ($)
Sperm Donors Anonymous This Australian documentary explores the effects of anonymous sperm donation on donor conceived children, their families and the donors themselves. The trailer (and some web extras) are available here, as well as a link to buy the film on DVD.x
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love After taking a DNA test in the spring of 2016, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. In this memoir, Shapiro explores ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing and the secrets we keep out of love.
Scattered Seeds With empathy and in-depth analysis, journalist and writer Jacqueline Mroz writes about the growth of sperm donation and assisted reproduction and how it affects donor conceived offspring, recipients, and sperm donors. BUY ON AMAZON
Go Ask Your Father: One Man’s Obsession with Finding His Origins Through DNA Testing Every family has a secret. But what if that secret makes you question your own place in the family? Mixing equal parts memoir, detective story, and popular-science narrative, this is the emotionally charged account of Lennard Davis’ quest to find out the truth about his genetic heritage–and confront the agonizing possibility of having to redefine the first fifty years of his life. BUY ON AMAZON (Lennard’s story was also featured on an episode of This American Life)
The Genius Factory In this eye-opening book, David Plotz investigates The Repository for Germinal Choice–nicknamed the Nobel Prize sperm bank, which supposedly had a roster of Nobel-laureate scientists, mathematical prodigies, successful businessmen, and star athlete sperm donors. BUY ON AMAZON
Experiences of Donor Conception: Parents, Offspring and Donors through the Years This thought-provoking and informative book explores the process of donor conception, including in-depth consideration of the emotional and ethical issues involved. BUY ON AMAZON
Who Am I?: Experiences of Donor Conception Three adult offspring conceived by donor insemination share their experiences. Dr Alexina McWhinnie, a social researcher who has worked extensively in the area of assisted conception, reflects further on their stories and those of other donor-conceived adults. BUY ON AMAZON
Relative Strangers: Family Life, Genes and Donor Conception With reproductive medical technologies becoming more accessible, assisted donor conception is raising new and important questions about family life. Using in-depth interviews the authors explore the lived reality of donor conception and offer insights into the complexities of these new family relationships. BUY ON AMAZONx
What happened when I told my adult daughter she was conceived with a donor egg Washington Post, September 2018 A mother recounts the experience of telling her 21-year-old daughter the truth about her conception. READ MORE
I Took the 23andMe Test and it Changed Everything I Thought I Knew about Myself and my Family Gin & Zin, August 2017 “My name is Jaclyn and I am a 33 year old wife and mom of two. Before I answered to the names “Mrs. Baxter” and “Mommy,” I was an only child growing up in Pollock Pines, California. One thing you should know about me is that from day one, my dad and I were inseparable.” READ MORE (also read Part 2 and Part 3).
How I Found and Lost My Donor VARTA, August 2017 “I have always known that I was donor conceived. Likewise I have always known that I would never know the identity of my donor. The clinic (Queen Victoria Hospital) doesn’t exist anymore, the donors were offered complete anonymity and the doctor swears that the records were ‘lost’ in transition to a private fertility clinic.” READ MORE
This Is What Happened When I Discovered I Have 22 Siblings Teen Vogue, January 2016 “Imagine what would happen if you found out that the man who raised you wasn’t actually your biological father—that you were conceived by a sperm donor, and you had at least 21 half-siblings scattered around the country.” READ MORE
What It’s Like to Find Your 17 Sperm Donor Siblings on the Internet Vice, July 2016 “If you met me and asked one of those routine introductory questions—where I grew up, if I have any siblings—I would probably tell you I’m an only child. Technically, though, I also have 17 brothers and sisters, and counting.” READ MORE
It Happened to Me: I Am a Sperm Donor Baby and I Don’t Care Who My Dad Is XO Jane, February 2015 “My mum was always open with me about how I was conceived and I have never ever had a problem with it. I do think it’s important for parents to be honest with their children; finding out later in life that someone you thought was your parent isn’t could come as quite a shock. In my opinion, the younger you find out about it, the easier it is to adjust to it.” READ MORE
12 Sperm Donor Kids On What It’s Like Growing Up Without Knowing Your Biological Father At All Thought Catalog, October 2015 “It’s a little weird because when you tell your middle school friends your dad was a sperm donor they all look at you like you were made in a lab.” READ MORE
My Father Was an Anonymous Sperm Donor Washington Post, December 2006 “I’m 18, and for most of my life, I haven’t known half my origins. I didn’t know where my nose or jaw came from, or my interest in foreign cultures. I obviously got my teeth and my penchant for corny jokes from my mother, along with my feminist perspective. But a whole other part of me was a mystery.” READ MOREx
Insight: Sperm Donation This episode of, Insight, an Australian current affairs TV show, includes candid interviews with donor conceived adults, sperm donors, parents of donor conceived children, and a clinic supervisor. WATCH HERE
Sperm donor dad bonds with the kids he never knew he had CBS Sunday Morning, 2016 This news story explores Todd Whitehurst’s relationship with his donor children (several of whom he meets for the first time at a family gathering) and features an interview with Wendy Kramer of the Donor Sibling Registry. WATCH HERE
Experiences of Donor Conception The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) released several first-person accounts of donor conception, from the perspective of donor conceived adults. WATCH HERE (additional videos are visible on the sidebar)
Anonymity of egg and sperm donors Eric Blyth is Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield and is a respected authority on psycho-social aspects of assisted human reproduction, in particular embryo, egg and sperm donation, surrogacy and cross-border reproductive travel. Here he explains why he feels that it was right for the UK to end the anonymity of egg and sperm donors. WATCH HEREx
What if you uncovered the family secret? This is Actually Happening, October 2018 Jaclyn Baxter tells the emotional story of how she came to discover the father who raised her is not biologically related to her. LISTEN HERE
Finding my real dad BBC Radio 4, September 2018 iPM listener James learned as an adult that he’d been conceived by sperm donation. Ten years later, he’s now found his biological father. LISTEN HERE
I’m not looking to be a father BBC Radio 4, September 2018 A former sperm donor discusses what led him to donate sperm, and what he expects when he meets his biological son for the first time. LISTEN HERE
Hi, You’re My Donor Dad KQED News, July 2018 A sperm donor shares his experiences about connecting with his 17 adult kids conceived through sperm donation. LISTEN HERE
Go Ask Your Father This American Life, May 2005 Lennard Davis grew up hearing he should avoid being like his good-for-nothing Uncle Abie. After his father died, that very same uncle told him Lenny was a product of artificial insemination and that he, Uncle Abie, was the sperm donor. LISTEN HERE (Lennard Davis is the author of a book by the same name)
The right to information for donor conceived people: In conversation with Damon Martin Podsocs, December 2012 Do donor conceived people have to the right to information? Damon Martin, a social worker with 15 years experience working in child protection and adoption services in New Zealand, England and Australia, talks about the rights of donor conceived people and the similarities, differences, and the lessons we can learn from adoption. LISTEN HERE
Debating donor conception 10 years after the removal of anonymity Pod Academy, November 2015 The number of couples seeking fertility treatment is rising every year. But donor assisted conception poses huge ethical and human rights issues. Up until 10 years ago, sperm donors and women who donated eggs had a right to remain anonymous [in the UK]. Then the law was changed in 2005 giving donor-conceived people the right to information about their donors. Most agree this was a milestone to be celebrated, but does it go far enough? LISTEN HERE
A New Openness For Donor Kids About Their Biology NPR, September 2011 Women inseminated with a donor’s sperm used to be advised to tell no one. But in a trend that mirrors that of adoption—from secrecy to openness—more parents now do plan to tell such children how they were conceived and are seeking advice on how best to do that. READ/LISTEN HERE
Donor-Conceived Children Seek Missing Identities NPR, September 2011 Sperm donation has long been shrouded in secrecy, and that seemed in the best interest of both the donors and the couples who used their sperm. But now a generation of donor-conceived children has come of age, and many believe they should have the right to know who their biological parents are. READ/LISTEN HERE
Genius Sperm Snap Judgment, 2014 This podcast includes a first-person account of what it’s like to find out you are the offspring of donor sperm from a “genius sperm bank”. READ/LISTEN HEREx
Patriotic Lovers (See posts titled This is Us, DNA Detective, Happy Father’s Day) x
At 13 My Parents Told Me I Was A Sperm Donor Baby Grazia Daily, February 2019 Statistics show that more and more of us are turning to donor sperm and eggs to conceive. But what about the resulting children? Louise McLoughlin, 27, shares a powerful message. (READ MORE)
For donor-conceived people, data about biological parents can be critical NJ Spotlight, February 2019 A bill by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) would help New Jersey’s donor-conceived residents learn more about their medical history without sacrificing donor anonymity. (READ MORE)
Law ending sperm donor secrecy helps Australian find her dad AP, August 2018 For Peter Peacock, fate arrived in the form of a registered letter. The letter, at least initially, looked to be a bit of a letdown. Peacock had gone to the post office expecting the delivery of a big, furry aviator jacket he’d ordered online. And so it was with little fanfare that the Australian grandfather and retired cop tore the envelope open as he walked back to his car — at which point he stopped dead in his tracks. (READ MORE)
In the 23andMe era, kids of sperm donors are finding each other Fast Company, September 2018 When you use 23andMe’s DNA Relatives feature, you get a message cautioning you that the information you’re about to see could be unexpected. For Danny-J Johnson, that couldn’t have been more of an understatement. READ MORE
The Jarring Experience of Learning You Were Conceived With Donor Sperm or Eggs Tonic (Vice), September 2018 In a busy airport, a 21-year-old girl is looking out for a stranger. She’s flown across the US to see him, after spending months exchanging messages. It’s the first time she and her biological father will meet, but they’re about to spend eight days together. READ MORE
Dear Anonymous Dad World Magazine, September 2018 Tens of thousands of children conceived by donors are grown up now and wondering who their fathers are. Advances in DNA testing are helping them find out. READ MORE
Lifting the veil of secrecy around donor conception The Canberra Times, September 2018 Imagine you take a DNA test only to discover more than you bargained for. Perhaps you hoped to have Viking blood, Indigenous heritage, to be a long-lost descendent of royalty or to harbour traces of ancient Neanderthal genes. But imagine instead you discover the man you’ve called dad your whole life is not your biological father. READ MORE
Has the age of the anonymous sperm donor ended? Ottawa Citizen, June 2018 DNA websites are making guarantees of anonymity long given sperm donors meaningless. And donor-conceived children say it is about time. READ MORE
Genetic testing and family secrets American Psychological Association, June 2018 With more people using commercial genetic tests to find family members and learn more about their DNA, psychologists consider the risks and benefits. READ MORE
Finding the Lost Generation of Sperm Donors The Atlantic, May 2018 Tens of thousands of donor-conceived children grew up thinking they’d never know their biological fathers. Now, they have a chance to. READ MORE
Donor-conceived people are tracking down their biological fathers, even if they want to hide CBC, January 2018 Thanks to DNA tests and the internet, ‘anonymous’ sperm donation is a thing of the past. READ MORE
She took DNA test to get health information. She found 3 half siblings Sacramento Bee, September 2017 Jaclyn Baxter spit into her 23andMe DNA kit trying to find out if she carried any troublesome genes she could pass on to her infant son, Jack. She worried about his chances of developing Alzheimer’s or Type I Diabetes – diseases that ran in her family. Her results, however, changed everything she thought she knew about herself. READ MORE. Jaclyn also wrote about her experience on her blog. Read part one here.
Wendy Kramer (of the Donor Sibling Registry) frequently contributes articles to TheHuffington Post. Check out her author page.
The Ambiguity of “Open” Sperm Donation Huffington Post, November, 2016 The highly unregulated medical field of sperm donation is failing parents, donors, and the donor conceived. This article calls attention to their inability to manage or to offer any consistency with non-anonymous sperm donation practice and policy. READ MORE
Sperm donors may want anonymity, but there are real kids out there The Guardian, August 2015 Of the 60,000 donor-conceived people in Australia, the majority don’t realize that’s how they were born. If they find out, things can get complicated. READ MORE
The Unregulated Sperm Industry New York Times, November 2013 In the United States, we do not track how many sperm donors there are, how often they donate, or how many children are born from the donations. Sperm donation has evolved from a practice of customized production to an industry that resembles mass manufacturing. READ MORE
A Conception Conundrum Psychology Today, November 2013 Many donor-conceived children voice “genetic bewilderment” about their origins. Can the trend towards open-identity donation address these existential concerns? READ MORE
My father, sperm donor 150 The Guardian, May 2011 JoEllen Marsh always wondered about her biological father—a sperm donor. Was he famous? A tycoon? After turning 18, she found out. JoEllen’s story first appeared in the New York Times and was later the subject of a 2013 documentary, Donor Unknown. READ MORE
One Sperm Donor, 150 Offspring New York Times, September 2011 Cynthia Daily and her partner used a sperm donor to conceive a baby seven years ago, and they hoped that one day their son would get to know some of his half siblings—an extended family of sorts for modern times. READ MORE
Donor-Conceived Children Demand Rights Newsweek, February 2011This article from Newsweek provides a comprehensive overview of the issues surrounding donor conception. READ MORE
The Sperm-Donor Kids Are Not Really All Right Slate, June 2010 Each year an estimated 30,000-60,000 children are born in this country via artificial insemination, but the number is only an educated guess. Neither the fertility industry nor any other entity is required to report on these statistics. The practice is not regulated, and the children’s health and well-being are not tracked. READ MORE
Donor Babies Search for Their Anonymous Fathers Houston Press, November 2008 On the morning of May 4, 1981, Nancy LaBounty was ready to conceive a child. She went to the Baylor College of Medicine infertility clinic, located in what is now St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, and rode the elevator to the 22nd floor. As she waited in the clinic lobby, a receptionist picked up the phone and called the father-to-be.READ MORE
Donated Generation The New Atlantis, Summer 2008 When Eric Schwartzman went in for a medical exam six months before his wedding, he didn’t expect to hear he was infertile. After the examination, the doctor suggested Schwartzman have a sperm-count test. Schwartzman thought nothing of it. Then the results came in. He was diagnosed with azoospermia, a condition in which the man produces virtually no sperm. READ MORE
Confessions of A Sperm Donor ABC News, August, 2006 In discreet laboratories all over the United States, some of the most valuable material in the world is deposited. It arrives by an obscure series of arrangements, is often unregulated and always unseen. READ MOREx
RESEARCH STUDIES & ACADEMIC PAPERS
Sperm donor anonymity: a concept rendered obsolete by modern technology Fertility and Sterility, December 2017 The use of donor sperm began as a medical practice with a level of secrecy bordering on shame. In the United States, donor sperm insemination was first performed by Dr. William Pancoast in 1884 at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. The patient was never told, and it is unclear whether the husband was completely informed as to exactly what was occurring. This was done to prevent “irreparable harm” to the resultant child and the marriage. The case was not published until 1909, 25 years later. READ MORE
Who Requests Their Sperm Donor’s Identity? Fertility and Sterility, February 2017 Research into the first ten years of information releases to adults with open-identity donors reveals that 92.9% of requests come from 18- to 21-year-olds, which suggests that adults often request this information soon after they are eligible to receive it. READ MORE
Emerging models for facilitating contact between people genetically related through donor conception: a preliminary analysis and discussion Reproductive and Biomedicine Society Online, 2015 This paper provides illustrative examples of initiatives in different parts of the world that use voluntary routes to respond to the growing phenomenon of people genetically related through donor conception seeking information and/or contact. READ MORE
Donor conceived offspring conceive of the donor: The relevance of age, awareness, and family form Social Science & Medicine, 2013 Findings of this in-depth paper include: most DC offspring (83%) want to contact the donor, 46% of those with an anonymous donor say someone should not donate unless he is willing to be known, and 21% of DC offspring say that they experience a form of dissonance, where other people do not understand their feelings about donor conception. READ MORE
Building a Family Tree: Donor-Conceived People, DNA Tracing and Donor ‘Anonymity’ Research Gate, 2013 This paper examines the tracing of genealogical lineage, family, history and kinship by donor conceived people, including the use of DNA testing as a tool to find genetic relatives and the issues of privacy, confidentiality and anonymity of those who donated gametes that may arise. READ MORE
My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Through Sperm Donation This robust research study is the first to explore identity, kinship, wellbeing, and social justice experiences of young adults conceived through sperm donation. READ MORE
Autonomous Choice and the Right to Know One’s Genetic Origins The Hastings Center, 2014 In this rebuttal article, Vardit Ravitsky argues when the right to know one’s genetic origins is violated, donor-conceived individuals are deprived of the liberty to choose what meaning they assign to the genetic components of their identity. READ MORE
Donor-conceived children looking for their sperm donor: what do they want to know? Bioethics Institute Ghent, Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, 2013 This paper aims to gain in-depth understanding of why some donor-conceived offspring want to know the identity of their sperm donor. READ MORE
A systematic review of sperm donors: demographic characteristics, attitudes, motives and experiences of the process of sperm donation Human Reproduction Update, 2012 This review aimed to integrate the current body of knowledge on the demographic, institutional and psychosocial information on current and potential sperm donors. READ MORE
An overview on ethical issues about sperm donation Asian Journal of Andrology, 2009 This paper attempts to present an overview of findings concerning the ethics of sperm donation. The following topics are considered: limiting the number of donor offspring; minimizing risk of infection and genetics from sperm donors; age requirements for sperm donors; and anonymity versus non-anonymity of sperm donors. READ MORE
A Critical Analysis of Sperm Donation Practices: The Personal and Social Effects of Disrupting the Unity of Biological and Social Relatedness for the Offspring Queensland University of Technology, 2009 This thesis, written by Joanna Rose (a donor conceived person) explores sperm donation from a child-centered perspective. READ MORE
Revealing Your Sources: The Case for NonAnonymous Gamete Donation Cleveland State University Journal of Law and Health, 2008 This research study explores anonymous gamete donation. Among the conclusions: “Anonymous gamete donation should come to an end, and donor-conceived children should have the right to access identifying information about their gamete donors. It is in the best interests of all the parties involved.” READ MORE
Secretly Connected? Anonymous Semen Donation, Genetics, and Meaning of Kinship University of Edinburgh, 2007 Jennifer Spears’ PhD thesis is based on a series of interviews with medical practitioners and health professionals currently or formerly working in clinics providing DI services in the UK, and men who donated semen between the 1960s and early 1980s. READ MORE
Adolescents with open-identity sperm donors: reports from 12–17 year olds and Choosing identity‐release sperm donors: the parents’ perspective 13–18 years later Human Reproduction Update, 2003 Donor insemination programs can include “open-identity” sperm donors, who are willing to release their identities to adult offspring. These two reports include findings from adolescent offspring who have open-identity donors and their parents. READ MORE HERE and HERE
Gamete Donation and Anonymity: Disclosure to children conceived with donor gametes should not be optional Human Reproduction, 2001 The current wisdom is that adopted children should be told by their parents as early as possible that the family was created through adoption, and we argue that the same model should apply to the use of donor gametes. READ MORE
Missing links: identity issues of donor conceived people This paper by Geraldine Hewitt was written while she was a student at the University of Sydney. The research on which the paper is based was conducted in 2001 for a high school project. READ MORE