Adoption, in-vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy — all have been modern blessings for people who desperately desire children, but cannot necessarily conceive them on their own.
The first successful experiment in artificial insemination actually occurred in 1884. Since then, assisted reproductive technology (ART) has become more sophisticated and accessible for those who can afford it. Now infertile couples, gay couples, and single adults who want children can do so through the power of technology.
The boom created a market for the raw materials of human conception, inducing many young people to sell their sperm (or, more rarely, eggs) to cryogenic banks for quick cash. Those banks, in turn, sold the material to doctors, clinics, and individuals. In the past three decades, the fertility industry has grown into a $4 billion business with very few regulations or restrictions governing it in the United States. (Exhibit A: Now it is possible for a single sperm donor to father as many as 150 children.) The UK, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Norway, and Sweden have all outlawed the private sale of sperm and eggs, limited donations from a single individual, and prohibited anonymity for donors.
We seem to have arrived at a moment for a public conversation about unintended consequences, the definition of family, and the ethical questions surrounding a fertility-for-profit industry that is largely unregulated. To support that important conversation, we’re providing a list of resources for the children of donors, as well as for the parents or prospective parents of donor-conceived children, both biological and otherwise.
A one-stop shop for links to resources focusing on psychological and social impacts of ART on children conceived via ART and on their families. The list also provides resources related to ethical and legal issues associated with ART.
The Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) was founded in 2000 to assist individuals conceived as a result of sperm, egg, or embryo donation that are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties.
A network of families created with the help of donated eggs, sperm, or embryos; couples and individuals seeking to found a family this way; and adults conceived using a donor.
A rudimentary database for finding donors, siblings, or offspring by donor number, clinic name, or geographic area.
A nonprofit organization that offers a free donor gamete health registry to allow sperm and egg donors, donor conceived people, and donor parents to share and research health information related to donor offspring.
One of the country’s largest cryobanks has set up its own registry to help connect half-sibling offspring of donors who used their service.
Lindsay Greenawalt’s impressively comprehensive blog about being the child of an anonymous donor, and exploring the issues surrounding donor conception.
Eric Schwartzman learned just before he married that he would not be able to conceive children the old fashioned way. He and his wife used a donor to conceive their two sons. He chronicles the unique experience of being father to his two boys, with whom he shares everything except a biological relationship.
A blog of personal reflections from dozens of adult, donor-conceived people from all over the world, with varying views toward their conceptions.
The online diary of a donor-conceived woman who has struggled with identity crises in her quest to find out who her biological family is, and what reproductive technology leaves out of the equation.
The Anonymous Us Project is a forum for personal opinions about reproductive technologies and family fragmentation. The stories contained here can be heart-wrenching. Donor-conceived adults and parents of donor-conceived children share their experiences as voluntary and involuntary participants in these technologies.
This blog chronicles one donor-conceived man’s evolving thoughts on assisted reproductive technology. Once he had children of his own, he began exploring questions about his true identity, heritage, family health history, and genetic relationships.
Katherine LaBounty, a donor-conceived adult, chronicles her attempts to track down her biological father, as well as her efforts to end anonymity for egg and sperm donations in the United States.