” … I don’t want to be on his family’s Christmas cards or to take up an inordinate amount of his time. I just want to know who he is.”
“I feel like half a person.”
“I wish he simply knew I exist.”
No one knows how many persons are conceived each year in the U.S. through anonymous sperm donation. Experts estimate it could be somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 annually, but the numbers are only a guess because the U.S. government does not require reporting or tracking of such pregnancies. For the fertility industry, anonymity is the grease that keeps the machinery going. It allows men (and women) in exchange for money to conceive offspring they never have to meet or acknowledge. It allows parents who wish to purchase sperm or eggs not to have to tell their child the truth about how the child was conceived. And, it has allowed our society to avoid the uncomfortable fact that we are creating two classes of persons, those who have the legal right to know their origins and those who are legally forbidden to learn the same thing.
Now, anonymity is being turned on its head. This week saw the launch of the first-ever online story collective for donor conceived persons and others involved in reproductive technologies. AnonymousUs.org allows persons conceived through sperm donation and similar practices to tell their stories anonymously, without fear of hurting their parents, getting flamed on the Internet, or having to go on record about intimate details of their lives. The brainchild of donor-conceived activist Alana S. (who is also a blogger at the site I edit, FamilyScholars.org), AnonymousUs.org is already filled with powerful stories from donor conceived persons, donors, legal parents, adoptees, and others whose lives have intersected with these technologies, with new stories being added daily.