Sperm donor #2757 sired at least 45 bundles of joy; he never dreamed they’d all grow up and find each other online
| DNA tests, online registries highlight the complexity of lax sperm donor regulations
| Beth Mole, ARS Technica – Half-siblings conceived with donated sperm and eggs are connecting online using DNA testing and online registries, forming extraordinarily large genetic families with dozens to hundreds of children linked to one parent, The Washington Post reports.
The modern family ties and genetic sleuthing are making it easier for donor-conceived children to learn about their backgrounds—and harder for anonymous donors to maintain anonymity.
That has clearly been proven in tragic cases in which fertility doctors misled patients about their donor’s identity, even using their own sperm to sire dozens of children.
But in legal, less-scandalous cases, the online connections are also highlighting the complex consequences of America’s lax regulations of the fertility industry, particularly on sperm and egg donations.
Many other countries have set legal limits on the number of children, families, or pregnancies to which one donor can contribute.
Sperm donors in Taiwan can only sire one child, for instance.
In Britain, they can donate to 10 families, and in China they can provide starter material for five pregnancies. But in the US, no such limits exist.
The nonprofit organization the American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends limiting each sperm donor’s contributions to 25 births within a population of 800,000, which is about the size of San Francisco.
As the Post points out, that could allow for one donor to sire more than 10,000 children across the entire country. Read the full story.
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Children of sperm donors find their half siblings and demand change
Chicago Tribune – Kianni Arroyo clasps 8-year-old Sophia’s hands tightly as they spin around, giggling like mad.
It’s late afternoon, and there are hot dogs on the grill, bubble wands on the lawn, balls flying through the air.
The midsummer reunion in a suburb west of the city looks like any other, but these family ties can’t be described with standard labels.
Instead, Arroyo, a 21-year-old waitress from Orlando, is here to meet “DNA-in-laws,” various “sister-moms” and especially people like Sophia, a cherished “donor-sibling.”
Sophia and Arroyo were both conceived with sperm from Donor #2757, a bestseller.
Over the years, Donor #2757 sired at least 29 girls and 16 boys, now ages 1 to 21, living in eight states and four countries. Arroyo is on a quest to meet them all, chronicling her journey on Instagram. She has to use an Excel spreadsheet to keep them all straight.
“We have a connection. It’s hard to explain, but it’s there,” said Arroyo, an only child who is both comforted and weirded-out by her ever-expanding family tree.
Thanks to mail-away DNA tests and a proliferation of online registries, people conceived with donated sperm and eggs are increasingly connecting with their genetic relatives, forming a growing community with complex relationships and unique concerns about the U.S. fertility industry.
Like Arroyo, many have discovered dozens of donor siblings, with one group approaching 200 members – enormous genetic families without precedent in modern society.
Because most donations are anonymous, the resulting children often find it almost impossible to obtain crucial information.
Medical journals have documented cases in which clusters of offspring have found each other while seeking treatment for the same rare genetic disease.
The news is full of nightmarish headlines about sperm donors who falsified their educational backgrounds, hid illnesses or turned out to be someone other than expected – such as a fertility clinic doctor. Read more.