Sperm-donors’ kids seek more rights and respect

Washington Post August 16, 2010

Katrina Clark and Lindsay Greenawalt have much in common. Bright women in their 20s, raised by single mothers, keenly curious about the men whose donated sperm helped give them life.  They want to transform the dynamics of sperm donation so the children’s interests are given more weight and it becomes easier to learn about their biological fathers. One specific goal – a ban on anonymous sperm donations – seems far-off in the United States, although Britain and several other European countries have taken that step. But the voices of donor offspring are being heard more widely and clearly than ever, thanks to Internet-based social networking and other recent developments.

A new film, “The Kids Are All Right,” depicts two teenage siblings who track down their sperm-donor father and introduce him to their lesbian moms. Complications ensue, but the teens’ yearning to meet their dad is portrayed empathetically. The film opened just weeks after the release of a provocative study by the Commission on Parenthood’s Future, titled “My Daddy’s Name is Donor.” It surveyed 485 donor offspring, concluded they were more troubled and depression-prone than other young adults in comparison groups, and recommended an end to anonymous sperm donation.