For Moms-to-Be: How “willing to be known” sperm donors work
One of the accomplishments I’m most proud of as the director of a lesbian-focused sperm bank was our decision more than 30 years ago to ensure we could provide our recipients a wide range of “willing to be known” sperm donors when a child reaches 18.
It was a huge challenge at that time – donor anonymity was the rule – and we were one of only two sperm banks working to find donors willing to make this major commitment.
“Willing to be known” sperm donors
I’ll never forget Cooper, one of the first babies conceived using sperm from one of these donors. At the age of 19, and with the full support of the lesbian couple who were his parents, he made one of the biggest decisions of his young life: he decided to pursue the option of contacting his sperm donor.
With a mixture of nerves, anticipation and a desire for a degree of closure, he filled out the request to Pacific Reproductive Services for the donor’s information. “I don’t know what to expect, what to feel,” Cooper said. “Just to know his name is pretty great.”
His moms, for different reasons, were just as nervous. “I just hope it goes well– it’s so momentous,” one commented.
The long-awaited telephone conversation was captured forever by a film crew working on an MTV documentary on gay parents and their children. Connor never stopped smiling and the donor assured him he very much looked forward to meeting him.
“It was such a moving experience,” Cooper said. Since then, they have stayed in contact.
An option for sperm donors
But not all young people have shown the same interest as Connor and others in making contact with their donors. At least not yet. They may at some point in their lives. But the main thing for me– and for their mothers– is that they have that option open to them.
Founder and Director
Pacific Reproductive Services
Sperm Bank, Fertility and Insemination Services
Founded in 1984, Pacific Reproductive Services has a pioneering role in advancing the growing national trend to provide women the option of choosing sperm donors who are “willing to be known” when a child reaches 18. A large majority of their clients are either single or coupled lesbians or heterosexual women choosing single motherhood. Pacific Reproductive Services offers clients the largest selection of sperm donors compared to any sperm bank in the country.