A different kind of extended family: forming bonds with families who use the same sperm donor

July 23 |
@offbeatfamilies runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
MamaSolo while pregnant. Photo via Mothering.com.
People who opt to build their families with the aid of sperm and egg donors are often faced with an interesting dilemma: do they try to find half-siblings for their kids? MamaSolo on Mothering.com was faced with the somewhat surprising realization that parents who had used the same sperm donor as her were interested in fostering a relationship between the children. After a bit of hesitation, she dove in:

In the years leading up to my decision to become a single mother by choice (SMC), I noticed the topic of donor insemination (DI) children seemed to hit the mainstream consciousness. Feature films, documentaries, books, and even news stories — all with a subject matter relating to DI families, both the pros and the cons. I have no doubt that the public awareness, and subsequently the increasing acceptance of DI and SMC, did help inform my decision to move forward knowing that my child wouldn't be a total anomaly in his paternity.

Once I became pregnant I signed up for the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR), but only as a lurker. I decided not to enter a profile since I wasn't sure I wanted to open the door to that kind of contact. I did look up my donor's number and saw that there was one person with a profile for the same donor who was also pregnant. I was curious but cautious so didn't reach out.

Then seven months in to my pregnancy I received an email from the nurse coordinator at my fertility clinic. She had received an email through a somewhat circuitous route from a mother who had a child from my donor and was looking to connect with other families with children from the same donor. She was also the same person that I'd seen in the DSR profile. The nurse wanted to know if I was interested in making contact.

You can read the rest at Mothering.com.

  1. We are a lesbian couple that have one child we concieved through donor sperm and we're currently attempting a second child using the same donor (we have 4 attempts left). Although it's really important to us that genetics not be considered all powerful (after all one us can't be genetically related) I've really started to think about how our daughter and her sibling may feel. I hope it's just a vague curiosity and not an intense hatred of us;-) We used the sperm bank from the university near us and the donor registry doesn't have our donor on it as of yet. When we were trying to conceive our first child there were no reported live births from that donor and the bank has since been closed/destroyed. So there may not actually be any other children from this donor. Part of me is a little panicked that if we don't get prego with these 4 attempts, the second child will have a donor with more potential siblings. It all worries me on some level. It's hard to figure out what to do and there's so little available about stories of donor children and how they feel about it all.

    1 agrees
  2. This is great! I keep meaning to write something about my experience with my kid's 37 half-siblings for OBF!

    6 agree
    • Holy moly! Please do!!

      10 agree
  3. I love this! As a reunited adult adoptee, my favorite part is getting to know my half siblings, especially the little ones…it's so much fun to see genetic resemblances and get to see them grow up. Cool article!

    1 agrees
  4. We chose to be in contact with donor siblings (as we call them) for the same reason we chose a willing-to-be-known donor for our kids: we want them to have the full access to their genetic other half. Our genes aren't everything, by any means, but there still important! Our bank has a strict 10 family limit and we have so far made contact with one other family. They're lovely people–a lesbian couple who lives across the country. Since they have family in our city, we've actually met them twice. When our kids were infants, we discovered that they have the same cry. That made me so happy to hear, especially because my kids won't have any cousins so donor siblings are the closest genetic relatives they'll have their age. I'm looking forward to the kinds growing up and being able to talk to each other about being donor conceived and about their shared genes. I just wish we knew the other eight families that used our donor because I'm really curious about them and because they're as genetically-related to my kids as my kids are to each other (because my wife and I split the child-bearing responsibilities).

    3 agree
  5. Thanks so much for sharing this story!! As the bio mom of an anonymous donor baby, I've shied away from the donor registry. I'm happy to know it's there if my little one would like to get in touch with his bio half siblings someday. Or learn more about his donor. I did purposely choose a donor that would release more information once my son comes of age.

    But for me, the registry feels a bit like Pandora's Box. Who knows how many siblings and their moms and extended families could pop up once I enter that number! In my imagination they're all nice families with little ones that share my son's blonde wavy hair and everyone has appropriate boundaries and good manners. But it could get complicated very quickly.

    I'll gladly support my son when/if he would like to explore the donor registry when he gets older.

    I'm so glad to hear of your positive experience! It'll help me be brave when/f my son wants to open that Pandora's box!

Comments are closed.