Donor Family Matters
Wendy Kramer, author
“Educate the child. Raise him or her without biases of any kind. Teach him or her to trust in others but to rely on self. Instill in him or her a sense of humor and the ability to enjoy life.” Penned on a sperm bank intake form, these words of advice from Donor 1058 to the future recipients of his donation became a parental motto for one particular recipient, Wendy Kramer, who would go on to found the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR). With almost 75,000 members in 105 countries, the DSR is the world’s largest platform for sperm, egg, and embryo donors, donor-conceived children and adults, and their parents to connect and share information through mutual-consent contact. In her role with the DSR, Wendy has become a leading advocate for donor families and for reformation of the modern profit-driven donor-conception industry. This is the story of Wendy’s journey as the mother of a donor-conceived profoundly gifted child, Ryan, whose relentless curiosity—under the tenacious guidance and support of his mother—eventually led to his reunion against all odds not only with his biological father, Donor 1058, but also with 19 of his donor-conceived half-siblings scattered across the continent. Their experience—like the experience of so many of the Donor Sibling Registry’s members—illustrates how this brave new world of donor conception is stretching our understanding of the evolving nature and possibilities of “family.” This memoir, written with warmth and humor by Wendy herself, reminds us with story after story that there are few things more fundamental than the human need to know where we come from, nor more beautiful than the triumph of truth over shame.