Thursday, October 4, 2012

Donor Siblings

I've been thinking about this subject off and on since we found out we were pregnant, but was reminded of it again today when catching up on my blogs and read this.  Momma B and I think it might be interesting to see others that are genetically related to our boys - to see any similarities and keep the options open for our boys if they're interested in knowing others that have part of their genetic make-up.  

I looked up our donor on the Donor Sibling Registry a couple times before and after we got pregnant and there was never any matches.  However, when I looked it up today there was one - a girl born in 2011.  Suddenly it became more real.  There really are others out there using the same donor.  I'm not entirely sure how I feel at this moment.  It's kind of a strange feeling.  

After reading her post, I also realized I could look at the sperm bank's Facebook page and possibly see other confirmed pregnancies.  I never thought of doing that!  I scrolled through tonight and found two more confirmed pregnancies this year in February and April - one of them with twin girls!  

Our boys have at least four confirmed genetic relations, that we know of.  I'm now debating on whether or not to join the DSR.  Our sperm bank doesn't have open donor options, so this would be the only small connection they would have.  I think my only hangup is the term "sibling" because other than genetics they are not related - at least not in my definition of family.  So I am torn.

Have any of you considered joining?  Or have you already joined?  And, if so, what are your experiences?

16 comments:

  1. We joined after much hesitation several years ago and connected with a bunch of half-sibling families. Our membership isn't active right now because we're pretty sure this is it for our donor.

    We've kept in contact with the families through a Yahoo group and Facebook, but we've never met any of them. Our kids are still little and we want a meeting to be their choice. But it's been great to have contact information and know that they can meet them when they feel the time is right, and to feel like when that time comes, we know a bit about them. Friends of ours have met families of their kids' half-siblings and have had such a wonderful experience that I've been wondering if we should be doing the same thing. It's kind of nice to think of them knowing each other all along, but it's also hard for me to make that choice for my kids. Our older son is 5 and he's shown some interest and asked to see pictures of the half-siblings recently. I've told him we can ask them if they want to meet if he wants to, but he hasn't said anything more yet.

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    1. thank you! it's nice to know others have had a good experience. i don't want to make the decision for our boys either, but sometimes i wonder if it would be best to do as you have and make the connection from the beginning ... or if i should totally leave it up to them and let them make the connection later, should they choose to do so.

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  2. I'm so glad I found your post and your blog! My partner and I have also been discussing the donor sibling registry and we go back and forth on whether or not we want to join. We also have twin boys who are actually around the same age as your boys. We had decided prior to getting pregnant that we would join the registry simply because we used an anonymous donor and we wanted our child to have a connection to other children conceived using the same donor sperm. We thought it would be helpful. But then my view changed a bit when we actually got pregnant with twin boys. Now I keep thinking "they have each other". I think now we might just let them make the choice when they get older. But who knows? It's such a tough decision. I will be interested to see what you decide. BTW - Your boys are adorable! Congratulations.

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    1. i'm glad you found my blog as well. and your boys are so stinkin' cute. =)

      i don't think we're any closer to making a decision, but i will admit my heart mostly says to let them make the decision and take those steps when/if they should ever want to.

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  3. We joined the DSR, but so far there is no one else registered with our donor. Ditto on the FB page and BabyCenter page. I think it'd be interesting to know about other donor siblings but so far it looks like our two are the only "out" ones.

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    1. that's interesting. does it make you wonder how many there are out there that you don't know about?

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  4. Ugh. I keep going back and forth. One woman got in touch with me 6 months ago to say she was pregnant using our donor and we were polite, but not too friendly. I don't want to deny her the ability to know the people that I would think of as 'cousins', but I don't want to force them on her, either. I think for now we're going to hold back and wait to see what feels right once she's a little older. Our bank doesn't have a facebook group, though, which makes it a little easier to stay out of it, for some reason.

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    1. yeah, seeing the announcement of OUR pregnancy on their FB page was kind of surreal. lol ...

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  5. i don't think there is a right or wrong answer here, you've just gotta do what feels right for your family.

    we decided not to join or contact any donor sib/families. i've peeked on DSR, so i know they exist, but we haven't reached out. of course i am curious, but that is all it is - curiosity. i don't really want those families in our lives right now and i don't feel that we have the right to make the choice for our kids.

    it's entirely possible (and probable) that our kids will want to make contact one day with other kids conceived by their donor, but i think it should be their decision. i think it's a mistake to think you need to make these connections now before they are lost...once all of these donor-conceived kids hit adolescence, i am *sure* they will find a way to make contact.

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    1. that's so true, the option will always be out there for them. i definitely lean more toward letting them decide as well ... and mostly for the very question of curiosity - is it merely for our own curiosity (to compare/contrast) or for theirs? honestly, i think it's more for us than them at this point.

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  6. Holy crap. I had filled in the form for known donor stuff but hadn't considered this part, not really anyway. But reading your post got me thinking, and then I checked the registry. Holy shit. Boo has a whole bunch of half siblings. Like, a bunch. Not one, not 2... just under 10. I sent the link off to McPhee and we talked about it and agreed that this is how we went about having our family, and part of it was knowing that this donor was not exclusively ours - we knew (but maybe didn't feel overly connected to with the reality) that the idea that he would have half siblings. But now it feels very real. So here we are, signing up for a facebook account just to be able to browse the company website (and of course I see someone asking right there if anyone has used that donor)... and I'm about to spend the $75 to join the registry. I'm curious, I'm nervous, I'm not sure what I will find or what I am looking for. But maybe because Boo is 15 months and we have established a strong family bond and we aren't worried about this introduction of half siblings and their respective families.... It seems more exciting that anything else. We have never shared our donor info, even with family other than basic characteristics, no photos or anything. It always seemed private, protected, Maybe it is what we needed as we had Boo and became a family of 3. But I am coming to realize that I guess I think that being open to Boo knowing of, at least, these half siblings opens doors to him having answers when he is curious about this other part of his genetic make up -- I don't want him to feel like he has to distance himself from us in order to 'find' some other part of himself. We want to be there on that journey with him. I'm not sure how my ID will come up here. You can find me at twocatscene on wordpress.

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    1. nice to "meet" you.

      yeah, it kind of takes you by surprise to think about it all of a sudden and then discover what should be fairly obvious when using an anonymous donor - but OMG other ppl are conceiving with OUR donor. somehow a small part of me felt a little possessive of this donor, i'll admit. so it's a lot for me to take in anyhow (momma b, as usual, takes a far more laid back approach in that it doesn't really bother her).

      i guess we'll all make the right decisions for our families!! =)

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  7. I have a somewhat dissimilar perspective about this than many 2-mom families. I think it's important to normalize this kind of conception for my son. We have found one half-genetic-sibling from the SDR and we became Facebook friends in order to see how each child is progressing. We've shared certain physical traits that they both have -- the funny toes, the big heads, colic -- although it's too early to really compare temperaments.

    I don't believe it has to be all or nothing. We can have some sharing with these families and yet there isn't the "instant family" that some women are afraid of. Just as with the donor, (I don't call him the father) I don't believe these are *actual* siblings. These are those who share genetic material.

    So, in summary, as much as possible, I don't want my son to think of his conception and origin as strange or lesser than any other child. I believe that is fostered when I provide as much information as possible to him and to those in our immediate family. Even though we picked a Willing-To-Be-Known (at 18) donor, I found some great information in a documentary called "Anonymous" (meaning, anonymous donor) and it shows the impact on donor kids. It made me aware that not having information can create a frustrating mystery, similar to what adopted kids go through (for teens in particular).

    Here are two families with blogs that chose to interact with other (half-genetic-sibling, whatever you want to call it) families.

    http://mamakarma.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/donor-siblings-revisited-in-which-i-impulsively-meet-one-of-the-other-moms/

    http://zeebahzazieandthezoo.blogspot.com/2012/10/this-weekend-was-fantastic.html

    As you can tell, I have thought about this a lot!

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    1. thank you so much for sharing the links to the blogs. it definitely helps hearing from everyone and taking in differing opinions/experiences. i had heard of the documentary, but had forgotten about it ... so i'm glad you reminded me!

      and i totally agree about the need to normalize the way in which our boys came to be ... there is nothing i feel we need to hide. however, i'm still unsure if that means we need to go forward with connecting with others simply because they just so happened to pick the same donor.

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  8. OMG. I can't believe I had the film's name wrong. It's "Donor Unknown".

    http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/donor-unknown/film.html

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  9. You made my day. thanks so much for taking me to https://www.donorsiblingregistry.com/ http://www.samplelettertemplates.com/donation-letters/donation-approval-letter.html/

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