Finding half-siblings for my kids has been very important for me, in truth it is why I started blogging, in almost every post I would put our donor’s number (BGM 9581 by the way) and it is why I joined the DSR (Donor Sibling Registry) before my first was even born. I feel I have been lucky enough to find two half-sibs. One on the DSR, and one because of my blog. I know that there are at least 25 reported births as of earlier this year, but unfortunately, Xytex, the sperm bank we used, has decided to stop giving out the number of births per donor to us parents, so my count stops at 25 (knowing I have 3 of the reported.) I feel a huge part of family missing from my life when I hear that number, because those are children related to my kids, and without even knowing who they are I feel connected to them. It’s a family tree born out of unknowns, but one that I believe can grow and flourish with love if given the chance.
I did not realize how connected we all were until I got a message from one of the moms I know who has a 7-year-old boy who is the half-brother to our children. She emailed me to let me know of a medical condition they had discovered, nothing serious or life threatening, but something they had been trying to find answers to for the past 5 years. I was so happy to receive that email because as it turns out MJ has been struggling with the same symptoms for the past 3 years and we have also been knocking on doctors doors trying to find out what exactly is wrong and how we can go about fixing it. It was a relief to hear that the answer was simple and now I feel like I have a positive direction to go in order to get her feeling better.
Of course, I know that my children will have half of their genetic makeup and health history missing, let’s be honest the health profile you get from the donors are pretty vague. For example, Sparky and The Boy both have very soft teeth which at the young age of 3 is causing decay. The dentist told me that it was genetic so I dug out the donor profile and looked to see if there was any dental information. Here is the extent of the information I received on his dental health and other random Health related information:
Healthy Teeth: NO
Eyesight: GOOD (however next line down is: Near or Far Sighted: NEARSIGHTED)
Sinus Infection: YES
Food Allergy: NO
Hay Fever Allergy: YES
Well, you get the idea, lots of YES and NO answers only and no explanation when there is a YES answer. Also, I must say I am not impressed with the NOTE/DISCLAIMER they place at the bottom of the “Donor Health Information” section, and I quote: “The medical and social history was provided by the donor and cannot be verified for accuracy”! Gee that’s reassuring. But they are very eager to let you know which celebrity the donor most resembles, in our case, it’s Vin Diesel, I suppose that’s important to know?
I know that some of you might be saying “Ya, but didn’t you get that profile before you had the kids, and didn’t you realize how vague it all was?” The answer is Yes I got the profile. The question should really be “did I really care how vague it all was when I was in the throws of wanting to have a baby no matter what the circumstances were? The answer is NO! I was in a baby making fog, I thought everything would be just fine as long as we loved the baby and made a happy home. But I digress.
It’s like a puzzle that has to be pieced together. The only problem is not all the pieces come neatly boxed up and available for easy construction. These puzzle pieces come from many different sources, you have to dig and search to find just one small piece or clue to figuring out the entire picture, and sadly for most the puzzle will never be fully complete. We all know how annoying it is to being so close to finishing a puzzle to find out that there is one piece missing, imagine if that puzzle had dozens or more missing pieces. We would take it back to the store and ask for our money back. As a donor-conceived child there are no returns, you are handed this life and it becomes up to you and your parents (hopefully they are willing and eager to help) to find as many of those elusive pieces you can and to put together as much of the picture you can.
That is what I hope I can do for my children. Gather as much info as possible to help them. Whether that turns out to be enough is yet to be seen.
I know this post may seem a little happy go lucky and lovey dovey at times with its notions of us all being one big happy family with all the half-siblings and their parents, and I know reality doesn’t always want to work alongside our fantasies, but for a fleeting moment as I write this I can dream can’t I?
UPDATE: Even though I wrote this post some time ago, it is still significant in my mind today, as I look at my kids, more than a year older than when I first posted it. It is a post that reminds me that we will forever be searching for answers. When I originally wrote this I only knew of two other families with children conceived from our donor, but I am so happy to report a year later we have now added two more families to that list. In total, we are five families, with nine half-siblings between us. We consist of single moms, two-mommy families, and a hetero-couple. We all choose to use donor BGM9581 to create our own little families, but in doing so we have also had the added pleasure of painting a much bigger picture. Although none of us have had the opportunity to meet face to face our lives will forever be connected thanks to the world wide web. I am hoping that I can add another update tot his post next year with the good news that we have been able to connect and add more families to our portrait.