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Anyone checked out the donor sibling registry?

3342 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  lexbeach
I guess this only applies to those who used a sperm bank (as opposed to a known donor), but I was wondering if anyone else has hooked up with their kids' half-siblings. We joined about two years ago, and immediately found three other families who had used our donor. All of them had boys, one was a lesbian family, and two were smbc. We just found a whole bunch more siblings recently who joined the registry after hearing about it on tv (I guess there have been a lot of "sixty minutes" type shows about the DSR lately). We are now nine families (7 of which are lesbian families), 6 girls, 7 boys, and two unknown babies in-utero. It's a big family! We are excited to meet everyone someday, but for now our contact is limited to email.

I would love to know if anyone else is working on creating these relationships for their kids. I think it will be pretty crazy for them to all grow up together, so many half-siblings all born within a few years. It is definitely a very unique situation.

For anyone who doesn't know, the web address for the registry is .

I'd love to hear from others in the same boat!

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I have looked at the site, and registered, as we were looking for extra vials of our donor.

I do not consider these kids half siblings, only that they share the same donor. The only contact we will have is at the request of our son when he is old enough to understand and deal with it.

Originally Posted by Jwebbal
I do not consider these kids half siblings, only that they share the same donor. The only contact we will have is at the request of our son when he is old enough to understand and deal with it.
We don't refer to the half-siblings as "half-siblings" either. We just talk about them as kids who have the same donor. But, I do wonder if we will need to think up a better term in the years to come. We certainly do not think of them as brothers and sisters of our boys, but we do think of them as biological relatives of theirs. They will most likely never get to meet their donor, so these kids will be their only link to that side of their genetic history. I think it will most likely be a very important link to them someday.

What are your reasons for choosing to wait to have contact? I think that it's really hard to know what to do, but when I put myself in my boys' shoes, I think "of course I'd want to know who these other kids were!" One of my friends just recently found out that she has a half-sister from her father's first marriage (which she never knew existed). She desperately wishes that she could have had contact with this sibling from an earlier age, and said she thinks that we're doing the right thing by fostering a relationship between our kids and their half-siblings starting now. It is reassuring to hear, since we're really in uncharted territory. But sometimes I still wonder, so it is always nice to hear the reasoning behind different choices people are making. Most of our friends IRL who used annon. donors are choosing not to even look at the DSR, so we feel like we are definitely in a minority in that we are choosing not only to find the other families, but also that we are planning to have them be a part of our lives. It helps that the majority of the other families are also AP and lesbian families, people who we would choose to be friends with if we just met them randomly.

I'd love to hear more of your thoughts!

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How to proceed? I think there are a lot of families trying to figure that out.

We discovered another family with the same donor about 3 years back. A 2 mom family 2o minutes away! We actually had shared the cost of reinstating the donor in 2000. We emailed a few times and then I got scared when I realized we had mutual friends and stopped. I just got another e-mail from wendy at dsr stating a 3rd family was interested in contacting me. I paid the $40, saw the family listed, but haven't initiated anything. There are 4 families listed with our donor, 7 kids.

I have two trains of thought on the whole thing-

1. At this age, it is not the curiousity of the kids. (My eldest is only 5) It is just for the parent(s) involved. We should keep each others info in case of some sort of emergency need, and just proceed based on the desire of the kids.


2. The kids should be together having playdates, etc so that when the time comes, and they are curious, we can just let them know "Oh, X and Z have the same donor as you" and it is not a big "coming out", if you will.

I think my fears included my kids and my parenting being judged too much. As in, another parent comparing the kids who are the same age since they both share 1/2 their genes. I think I'm explaining this very muddy! I'm also not a very social person, so meeting with an unknown family would be very anxiety producing. The things we do for our kids!

t is interesting, for me, to see that the 2 mom family struggled with infertility while using this donor, but not with another donor. I used clomid for both my kids and then had 3 failed clomid cycles, 3 failed gonal-f cycles and and ivf that resulted in a pregnancy that failed at 7 weeks, miscarrying at 12 weeks. I'm passing some of my feelings of failure onto the donor!

I'd love to hear how other people's contacts went. Do the kids seem to share personalities or look similiar? My kids clearly have some traits from my partner and even look like her because they have picked up her facial expressions. What other traits do they have from the donor that I don't even see? kwim?

Sorry so long. I can make short reply very painful!
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Our kids and their half-siblings do share some physical traits, but they don't look as alike as they could. We also have a baby photo of the donor, so you can see how each of the kids looks a little like the donor. We have a webpage with a bunch of the kids on it, feel free to check it out: . We met two of the siblings about a year-and-a-half ago. All of the kids were too little to really interact much, and the age differences were too big then to see what they had in common. But, we're planning another little get-together with three of the half-siblings at the end of April, and now they're all two and three, so it should be more interesting. Our donor is a musician, and all of the kids have a real thing for music, but I don't read too much into that since I think most kids have a real thing for music, lol!

I've been listed on the DSR for over a year and found no matches though it even though there are 2 other listings we all found each other through the msg board our bank offers. So far there are 6 families and 7 offspring from the donor and a couple people that claimed they were expecting a while back for a total of about 15 kids but I doubt that and the bank says they limit offspring to 10 per donor so I dunno. I refuse to pay the $40 fee though for the DSR, I can see $40 for a life time or something but per year? Forget it.
I didn't realize that they'd started charging money to join the DSR! I guess one of the moms in our "family" group must be a member, she always lets us know when new people join. I remember that they were always asking for donations. . . $40/year is a lot, IMO. I could understand something closer to $15/year. . .

Our bank (california cryobank) also claims to limit sperm usage to 10 families per donor (which, if every family had a bunch of kids, could be a lot of actual kids), but it's really not a very strict limitation. Our group contacted them recently because we wanted to know if they would tell us how many families there actually were. We have already found 9 families, and it just seemed a little too unlikely that we would have found 90% of the families who used the donor. This was the response the CC gave:

Thank you for contacting us.
Any of our donors could have between 10-30 family units if they stay
our program long enough to reach their vial limit. Unfortunately, most
clients do not report their pregnancies or births to us so we only
limited information.
Thank you.
I don't know if it's more strictly regulated at your bank (i.e. do they follow up after you buy the sperm and see if you got pregnant?), but if not, there could very well be more than 10 families per donor.

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I have no idea if they follow up, I know they say in there paper work they do. I've reported 2 pregnancies to them and I'm guessing they figured out one was lost when I ordered swimmers again when I should have been like 6-7 mo pregnant. What made me suspicious is the fact the people couldn't answer anything about the donor but yet claimed they used him. I have a hard time understanding someone using a donor without getting the long profile but it seems to be a common thing at my bank not to buy it and these are people still fairly new to the TTC w/ DI game and not those who just care about proven fertility and to hell with everything else because they have been at it so long.
I looked at it. We kind of kicked the idea around for a minute, but didn't want to spend the $ and our kids have each other as half siblings (ha ha). Maybe we'll get curious someday before he turns 18. That's a long way away. One thing I thought was interesting was that they reported having that some of O's donor's vials are still available. After we reported O's pregnancy they sent a letter saying that he'd reached his limit and was being taken off the market. Or, you know, whatever the right word is. But we could reserve more for use in our own family. We went with Pacific btw.

The only advantage I could see at this moment is looking at how they might look alike. But there's only one other family listed.

wow, this is really interesting, i'd never hear of this before now.
I just went on the site and saw that there are 2 other families who used our donor and have posted messages. I'm really curious, but can't see the messages without paying the 40 bucks, which I'm not yet sure I want to do.

We chose an identity release donor, which means that although we (the parents) don't ever have access to the donor's info, our son will be allowed to get it directly from the sperm bank when he's 18. To be an identity release donor, the person donating just agrees to have the identifying info that the sperm bank has released, any kind of contact beyond that is up to the individuals involved.
I chose this way because although I wanted an anonymous donor, I also wanted to be able to provide my son with the option of knowing about the person who gave half of his genes, a pretty natural curiosity I think.

One issue I've thought about a lot is that we plan a younger sibling with the same donor (we like the results the first time!
and I got pregnant really easily). But I don't know what will happen when my older child turns 18. If he chooses to find out about the donor, then he'll have info about our younger child too, that that child is not technically supposed to have yet. I'm not sure exactly how we'll handle that.

And I wonder how it would work out with biological half-sibs that are not part of our family...if older kids had the info before my kids turned 18, or if my kids had the info and we were in touch with younger half-sibs....

it's a really complicated situation in terms of figuring out how to best meet the needs of the kids involved (most important, imo), as well as the intentions and decisions of the donors and the parents... and of course, pretty far away for me, as my son is only 2 right now.

anyone else out there use an identity-release donor? thoughts?

I'm also reminded of a sperm bank we considered but didn't use that put half-sibs (and donors too, i think) in touch with eachother right away -anonymous at the time of conception, to legally protect those involved, but then not anonymous afterwards. It's an interesting comparison because those families intented to create sort of extended family networks from the beginning, while it seems that the contacts created through this website are coming up quite after the fact. anyone with experience with that sperm bank (called rainbow something i think?) have thoughts to contribute?

looking forward to the continued discussion with you all...
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theskuldt & others,
we have an identity-release donor as well, and are only in the ttc stages. All the same, i have considered what you mentioned. Our plan is to have more than 1 child using the same donor's sperm, and the thought has already crossed my mind about if one and not another child wants to know about the donor, and about age considerations.
Having a identity-release donor was not our first priority (ie: as in eye colour, etc to look more like my partner), and actually my partner & I had different ideas about it & decided that if our #1 donor 'happened to be' an identity-release donor, than that was what was meant to be. I wanted an id-release donor so that our children have the choice to contact or not. My partner has concerns about idealizing the donor and being disappointed upon contact. It will be interesting to see what happens, and I am glad that we discussed our concerns.
I've also made a brief visit to the registry site and seen that there is someone there with the same donor (as we are trying with). I don't figure we'll ever register with the registry, but it is interesting to just see that others (with the same donor) have -- also proving that our donor is indeed fertile (which we knew before anyways).
So, yeah, that's my thoughts. (And we need all the positive/sticky-vibe thoughts we can get this week as we go in for insemination #2.)
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We didn't use an identity-release donor because we don't like the way that it is set up, but I would love for our kids to have a chance to meet their donor someday if they want to (which I'm guessing they would). Probably the only way it would happen would be if the donor decided to register with the regisrty. There are some donors who have already.

For those who did use identity-release donors, I wouldn't worry about younger siblings getting to meet the donor earlier than age 18. I actually think that would be a bonus. It seems like those in the adoption field have already shown that open adoption is the most ideal route, and that early contact goes along with that. The field of sperm/egg donation hasn't quite caught up yet, aside from banks like rainbow flag.

Good luck this cycle, Michelle!! I hope you see a
in the next few weeks!

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