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I was delighted that a child had been born from my donation, but had a strong emotional response

by Andrew, donor

Anonymity was not an issue when I first became a donor. It was a simple act of altruism. I hoped I may have been able to assist in giving someone the gift of a child. Several years later I chose to become identifiable. I gave careful thought to the piece I was asked to write for any children born as a result of my donation. What might they want to know about me? Had I sounded sufficiently open to the prospect of meeting them one day?

My expectations were realistic. Many donor conceived children are not told about their genetic heritage. Many of those who are informed make no attempt to discover any more or limit their curiosity to an interest in any potential siblings they might have.

When the HFEA informed me that one child had been born as a result of my donation I was delighted, but I experienced a strong emotional response. Suddenly I cared.

When the HFEA informed me that one child had been born as a result of my donation I was delighted, but I experienced a strong emotional response. Suddenly I cared. I read accounts of IVF conceived children experiencing mental and physical issues. Some stories highlighted the significance of children knowing about their genetic heritage in order to establish a stable sense of self-image. My hope was simply that the child was healthy and experiencing a good relationship with his family and his peers.

In an attempt to create an outlet for my concerns, I began writing a regular series of letters which maybe one day the child may choose to read. They contained information about me, my family background, my successes and failures, and the kind of advice he may find useful as he faces the everyday challenges of life. They were a form of catharsis for me and I hoped theywould give him an opportunity to discover more if he wished.

 

 

 

 

As donors we are left in a strange emotional limbo. In A.S. Byatt's novel, 'Possession' one of the characters declares 'A man who knows he has a child and does not know more deserves a little pity'. Of course, I am curious. I would love to know his first name and would be happy to learn that he is enjoying life. Only in my more optimistic moments do I imagine meeting him. My greatest fear is that I may not be still around if at some time in the future he chooses to make contact. 

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Review date: 5 July 2023