“Andrew” is a divorced dad of three whom, five years ago, decided to start giving his sperm away for free. Here’s how “Andrew” operates as the drive-up, curbside sperm donor.
A single woman who has not connected with a suitable man for fathering a child, or a lesbian couple, or a couple where the man is infertile; find their “Andrew” via websites such as KnownDonorRegistry.com. With 13,000 registered members, this website connects donors in an open forum with women. Gone are the days when sperm donors and women wanted complete anonymity. “Andrew” admits that he enjoys the pregnancy updates, ultrasound images and baby pictures. He has donated his sperm to 85 women of which 24 became pregnant with more babies on the way.
On the big day of conception, the woman sends a text to “Andrew” announcing the results of her fertility test: It’s a “BFP!!!!!!”, that’s Big Fat Positive in fertility speak. She’s excited, he’s excited, within minutes she drives up to his home or office, pulls up to the curb, and rolls down the window to collect the small package that contains the seeds of their future together! (Ha! Corny as that sounds I’m leaving it in this blog…writer’s privilege! lol)
The face-to-face meetings, disclosure of medical records, legal contracts absolving “Andrew” of any financial or other parental obligations are signed sealed and delivered. Now is the time for the woman to light the candles, turn on the Barry Manilow and pull out the turkey baster. Her dream of becoming a mother is on the path to reality.
Why have women turned to “open” donors? With the advent of artificial insemination in the 70’s and 80’s, those Cryo babies have come of age, and guess what? They want to know who their sperm donor is. Mr. Anonymous is half of their DNA. They’re curious, they want to see if they look alike, or they feel loss and confusion over their biological heritage. Some are even fearful that they may meet and fall in love with a half sibling.
The new MTV reality television series, “Generation Cryo” follows a 17 year old on her journey to meet her half siblings and her sperm donor. She has already found 15 siblings but the storyline runs deeper. Some of the half-sibs, especially those from stable two parent families, don’t want to meet the man who, as was said by the infertile man who fathered two children in this manner, simply “jerked off into a cup”. His feelings of masculinity are on the line. On the flipside, the single never married mother hopes Mr. Sperm Donor is also single and they can make a “family” together. After all, together they created the child she alone has raised for 17 years. It gets complicated, as those children from less stable or traditional families seem to want so much more from their donor.
If the donor wants to remain anonymous, that is his right, but with this bevy of tech savvy offspring launching a full out search, his anonymity is fragile. They have already secured his DNA and launched a search for a match. It remains to be seen if the $50 he got for beer money back in college was worth having 15 plus kids show up on his doorstep today.
With the complexities of anonymous sperm donorship hitting reality TV, and the movie, “Delivery Man” starring Vince Vaugh in the role of a sperm donor who has “fathered” 533 children, this issue is just gearing up. Listen to my podcast on the history of sperm donorship, the reasons “Andrew” gives for giving his sperm away freely and openly and what the advocates for change want from the fertility industry. If I say so myself, this is one of my better commentaries, and one you will want to listen to on my Podcast: Sperm Donors: Open Records, History and Trends; Weight Gain after lost Mother & Friend; Life After Stroke; New Hope for Chronic Pain
Excerpts for this blog were taken from “A Conception Conundrum” by Jennifer Bleyer in Psychology Today. Photo by Kenji Toma.