In the 2013 film “Delivery Man,” the lead character discovers he fathered more than 500 children through sperm donation 20 years earlier, and now more than 100 of his offspring want to find him. An MTV series in 2013, “Generation Cryo,” followed a 17-year-old as she searched for her half-siblings and their donor father. The 2010 movie “The Kids Are All Right” had a similar theme.
As it turns out, the kids are not all right. A 2010 study of donor-conceived children, “My Daddy’s Name is Donor” by Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval Glenn and Karen Clark, concluded that reproductive technology was advancing uninhibited without research on the effect on the children produced. They found biological and adopted children fared much better than donor-conceived children.
“On average, young adults conceived through sperm donation are hurting more, are more confused, and feel more isolated from their families,” the study states. “They fare worse than their peers raised by biological parents on important outcomes such as depression, delinquency and substance abuse. Nearly two-thirds agree, ‘My sperm donor is half of who I am.’”
Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, has produced a trilogy of films exploring the damage caused by assisted reproductive technology. “Eggsploitation” documents the damage done to women by egg donation; “Breeders: A Sub-class of Women” deals with surrogate mothers; and “Anonymous Father’s Day” highlights many of the problems associated with the practice of anonymous gamete donation.
In the latter film, four donor-conceived individuals discuss feelings of loss, abandonment, anger and the deep desire to know their biological fathers and half-siblings.
One person, who discovered he has between 500 and 1,000 half-siblings, spoke of the “genealogical bewilderment” that unites those who are donor-conceived. Some speak of the “yuck factor” in their conception.
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