“Wendy” wonders about her dad.
Who is he? Does she look like him or share his personality quirks? Does he want to know her? Will he reject her if she reaches out? After all, he fathered under the assumption that he’d never have to know her.
“Wendy” is a donor-conceived person, the child of an anonymous sperm donor and her mother.
If her father was like most sperm donors, he was likely a student seeking extra cash -- for books, beer, or “stuff.” After minimal paperwork at a fertility center, he would have been assigned a number, given a private room, supplied with porn, and then masturbated into a paper cup. Trading his sperm for a few bucks, he would leave. Done. Over.
Except that his fifteen minutes of utilitarian, well-paid pleasure produced a real person, one who might long to know him. As one donor-conceived woman wrote, “I often wonder who you are…I often wonder who I am. My family tree is severed in two -- I am denied your half, its branches rich and strong with stories I will never be told.”
The missing “half” causes a great deal of anguish -- a loss our society is only now beginning to appreciate. It’s worth asking the question: Don’t all children have a right to know something about their fathers?
According to the report, “My Daddy’s Name is Donor,” as many as 65% of “donor offspring” feel that “My sperm donor is half of who I am.” Nearly half of all donor-conceived children are “bothered” by the circumstances of their creation and think about it often. The study, which examined the well-being of young adults conceived through sperm donation, reports that these young adults express frequent anxiety over their origins and identity, recoil at the idea that money was involved in their conception, and wonder about relationships with their biological father and unknown half-siblings.