Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New Doctor Visits & Disclosure

About a week or so ago I took my son to a new pediatrician who has an office close to our new apartment. Before I met the doctor I filled out the requisite paperwork regarding insurance, address, and contact info. When we were in the actual exam room the doctor started asking re medical history of my son. I told her that he has had no operations, no broken bones, was vaccinated on a delayed schedule, and biologically is the result of using donor insemination. I just decided to tell her upfront. I did not wait for her to ask about family medical histories. I just told her so it’s on his record from day one.

My wife was surprised I would share this so quickly when there was no reason to do so especially since the doctor actually lives in our apartment building and despite doctor / client privileges their story could make the rounds among our neighbors. My response to her was so what as we planned to be open about this anyway. Yes, the decision to be so open is that of the kids themselves but I felt the doctor should know from the beginning in case of an emergency etc.

I think I took the doctor by surprise for a moment but she recovered quickly and left the issue alone rather than start discussing it in front of my son as we were there to check out his eyes, he had contracted pink eye again as I suspected. My wife thinks I am secretly amused t o watch people’s reactions. She may be right but this was a real reason to tell in my mind.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Talking & Telling Your Children About Donor Conception

The British DC Network's How to Tell Project has just released yesterday on its website 4 booklets and a DVD video on how to talk and tell your children about their donor conception story. The booklets are free to download and worth checking out.

The project as I recall was supported by the government and exemplifies a true partnership that appears to have resulted in an amazing tool for parents and educators and therapists.

The image at left is only the first of the four booklets that are arranged by age. Olivia and the folks at the DC Network have provided us all an invaluable service.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Blog Post # 200 & New Chapters

This is my 200th post to this blog since August 2005 (about 9 and 1/3 months). I actually cannot believe I am at 200. It feels like a moment ago I was at 100 posts much less even just starting this blog. I started the blog just for me to talk my thoughts through in some form and have found that it evolved into a proactive vehicle to get involved in the DC community in a positive form. Hopefully some of you have found you are not alone by my being out here.

I am proud to say that as a result of this blog other men have begun their own blogs chronicling their journeys through infertility and DI. It's a hard enough subject to deal with much less to address it publicly when you are in the middle of it and I applaud both Richard, Max and others out there.

From starting this blog I was invited to take over as owner and moderator of the DI Dads Yahoo Discussion Group. Today I approved our 50th member to join the group. For the men that have found the group I know it has made an impact. The support of others in the same position have given many of these men the abiilty to feel more comfortable asking their questions. Whether they have decided DI is right for their families or not is second only to their making informed decisions which they can live with and feel are the right ones to them. The DI Dads group was founded under the idea that in a private setting these men can open up where otherwise there was no safe place they could go and not feel ashamed or embarrased by these discussions.

Within the coming weeks I hope to launch a new blog tentatively titled "DI Dads Speak Out" where some of the Discussion Group members will add another face to the issues of male factor infertility as it relates to decisions surrounding DI. The idea is again that if more men can speak publicly about these issues others will be empowered to positively address them as well. Whether you are pro or con on the issue of DI, for the children and adults conceived via DI we need to take steps to erase long standing stigmas and to address all the issues (i.e. openness and identity issues) in the light in order to have honest discussions. I hope the new blog can add to that discussion.

My long term goals are still to create a national US based donor conception support organization harnessing the energies of all the DC constituenties. Maybe by Post #200 I will be able to provide an update to you in that area.

Thank you for stopping by along your travels.

- Eric

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tracking Sperm Donors, Pregnancies, Births

In today's Detroit Free Press (5/23/06) an opinion piece is being run that was written by one of the founders of The gentlemen admits that while he is not a fan of increased regulation he believes that incraesed regulation and tracking of sperm donors and the results of their donations (pregnancies, live births etc) should be 100% reported and tracked. The piece is well written and worth checking out via the link to the Annex via this post's title. is a site that at this point of being a DI Dad I did not expect to start checking out. It is essentially an all in one stop to be able to search multiple sperm banks at once and for a small fee it is probably a good investment timewise to take some of the craziness out of any potential donor search. I am not sure yet how many banks they work with. I recall briefly checking out the site some time ago based on the desire to create a database and customer reviews of the sperm banks after the issue came up repeatedly on the DSR_Discussion Yahoo Group.

I have mentioned that part of my daily ritual is to check out the Donor Sibling Registry to see if my children have another half sibling out there. The potential that there could be dozens is crazy to me and if I had that info before choosing a donor it might have influenced our decision in some manner.

Note: This is Post 1999 based on Blogger's count which is unbelievable to me. - Eric

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Donor 48QAH - Donor Dads Reaching Out to Kids : A DI Dad's Reaction

Today's Detroit Free Press featured several articles regarding how Matthew Neider became Donor 48QAH and how his journey has taken him to a point where he is making himself available to the children he helped create biologically.

The relationship between the Donors and the DI Dads is a one of mixed emotions at least from the DI Dads side. On one hand there is the extreme and profound thanks for the Donor's existence and for the act of donating that allowed the DI Dad to become a father and on the other hand is the desire for the Donor to stay at arms length and not really become a real influence in the lives of our children. This is tempereed by the fact that in an family where disclosure is part of the equation and openess the expected credo it is quite possible the children will want to at the very least learn more about the donor if not want to meet him if at all possible.

So reading these articles raises these mixed emotions but the hope is that our kid's donor is as honest and altruistic as Dr. Neider appears to be.

The full texts of the lead story article is posted on the Life as DI Dads Annex:

Links to the Detroit Free Press articles:


Front Page:

Lead Story:

Lead Story Video:

Sudden e-mails let man in on children's lives

Related: WONDERING WHO HE IS: 10-year-old girl is curious to meet her'donor dad'

Saturday, May 20, 2006

NBC Today Show Piece on the 5 Michigan Donor Conceived Kids

This morning I caught the Today show segment where Campbell Brown interviewed (1) the Michigan doctor treating the 5 kids all conceived from the same donor and (2) a NYC area Reproductive Endocrinologist about how the kids received the defective gene from their common donor.

Ms. Brown dutifully asked the Michigan doctor if whether he knew if the sperm bank had tried finding the original donor to which he answered yes. At that point she SHOULD HAVE asked the RE if he believed their should be central registry where the sperm bank used could centrally note that this guys's sperm shoudl never be used again. Yes he has left Michigan but what if he decides to donate again in CA. If this disease is not normally screened for we will never know if he donates again until more kids pop up with this same disease.


ABC News: Nightline Stories (5/19/06) re Donor Sperm & Donor Egg

There are 3 stories relating to donors and donor children on the Nightline webpage. In case the links happen to change the Nightline webpage is

This is the text from the Confessions of a Sperm Donor story:

This is the text from the Sperm Donor Gives Rare Genetic Disease to Five Children story (it identifies the sperm bank as International Cryogenics):

This is a link to the College Students Targeted For Egg Donation at Sometimes too Great a Cost story:

Talking with Children about Egg & Sperm Donation [Newton, MA Workshop]


Saturday, June 3, 2006 - 10:30am - 12:30pm

Let's Keep the Conversation Going

Parents who build their families through egg or sperm donation are often hesitant about talking with their children.
* How will we introduce the subject of donor conception?
* What should we say?
* When should we say it?
* How will our child/children react?

These are among the questions that you may be asking yourself if you have built -- or are hoping to build -- your family through gamete donation. You may also be wondering about talking with others -- your family, friends, teachers and more.

This 2-hour workshop will help you launch the conversationÐand keep it going. You will leave the program feeling confident, secure and better prepared for conversations with your child. You will meet others who share your experiences, and will learn from experienced professionals.

An on-going support group will be available for workshop participants who would like to continue meeting.

Sat, June 3, 2006. 10:30am - 12:30pm. $65/person
55 Farlow Road, Newton, MA

* Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW, ,
* Debra Olshever, LCSW, Adoption Associates,

Register: Ellen, 617-332-3468,


Editorial note from the Infertility Network:

Ellen Glazer is a Social Worker who specializes in reproductive medicine & adoption, as well as a parent through birth & adoption after infertility & miscarriage. She is the author/co-author of several books, including: Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation; Choosing Assisted Reproduction - Social, Emotional & Ethical Considerations; The Long Awaited Stork - A Guide to Parenting After Infertility.


Moderator's Note:

I met Ellen back in Oct. 2005 at a DC Conference in Toronto and she is quite good to listen to and knows her stuff. If anyone is in the Newton MA area I recommend this workshop. A two hour investment of your time on this topic should be a no-brainer. - Eric

Friday, May 19, 2006

Inside The Business Of Egg Donation

For the text of the article posted, as of 5/17/06, at the CBS Evening News website the above link to the Annex is provided.

The more I read stories about young women donating eggs I am amazed at the process comparatively to male donors of their gametes (i.e. their sperm). It's no wonder that the prices paid are so exorbitant. But the numbers quoted here are insane and are essentialy bribing these young women and for those women in finacial need how can they say no.

While my above comment seems to indicate I am an not a fan of DE that is not my intent. DE like DI is an amazing gift to the families in need of it. This does not address the larger DC issues surrounding DC.

I am currently watching my kids by myself all weekend and to all you stay at home moms and dads I salute you I am already exhausted.

Donor Passes Disease onto 5 Donor Conceived Michigan Children

To read the full NY Times article on this story link above to this blog's Annex.

It's about time that the media begin addressing this side of the DC issue. Without such stories coming to light the public will never support efforts to better regulate this industry.

It is noted in the article that while donors are routinely screened for several different diseases the one that these children contracted is extremely rare and was not tested for. Somehow that did not make me feel better. The conclusion that the donor was the source resulted from a review of the children's genes and htat of the mothers.

To read the AP story per the Washington Post click here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Crying Time

Lately I have been feeling a bit down. Even though I am generally a very outgoing person I have throughout my life felt very alone. Consequently my self esteem is not the greatest. When I found out I was infertile it did not help very much in validating my self worth.

Usually I keep all this stuff under the surface so no one suspects how I very often feel. As I have mentioned in recent posts we just moved to a new apartment. My stress levels due to the move and a few other factors including work have been spiking quite high.

Last night while sitting in our foyer on the floor with my wife I just lost it and started to cry. Part of our conversation involved what life would be like if we were not married and we did not have these kids. Sometimes I do not feel worthy of being their dad. I love them both dearly and occasionally it hits me hard they are not from me. Usually this is not an issue but when I am feeling low it hits me and I wish they were mine. Even though I know they are.

Sometimes its hard not to cry.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The De Facto Parent - Justices Shy Away From Gay Parent's Case

Declining to hear a Washington State court case the Supreme Court said Monday it would not block a lesbian from seeking parental rights to a child she helped raise with her longtime partner. The Washington State court had held that the non-biological “mother” could pursue ties to the girl as a "de facto parent."

Eighteen states recognize "de facto parents" over the objections of fit biological parents, according to the biological mother's lawyers: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

I don’t know whether these same states recognize non-biological dads like myself as the “natural” father under the law as New York State recognizes me but if these states do not I would expect / hope that DI Dads would be afforded such status under this “de facto parent” theory. If anybody knows the answers to this question for these states please let me know.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

I wish all you moms, expectant moms and ttc hopeful moms-to-be a very happy day. Holidays which accentuate what we want or are having trouble getting to can be stressful and I hope you all are spending the day in whatever fashion you desire to make the day as pleasurable and stress free as possble.

- Eric

Chicago Tribune Editorial Calling for National Gamete Registry

This is the first editorial I have heard of published by a major news source calling for the establishment of a national gamete registry. This is a major step forward and will be worth following to see what their readers think about this statement.

[I only wish they published this editorial on a more news worthy day than a Friday.]

Article text linked to above and at the new Life as Dad to DI KIds - Annex.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

New Blog : Life as Dad to DI Kids - Annex

The purpose of the Annex is to post in full articles that I refer to and link to on this blog. I have noticed that for many older blog posts the articles linked to have disappeared or are only available for a fee from the originating news source. Sp prospectively I am copying the full text into the Annex and publishing my post here linking to the original source and the Annex.

Effectively I am creating a back up copy of the original article for readers of this blog.

Friday, May 12, 2006

AFA Seminar 5/07/06 - Donor Egg

I forgot to mention that upon walking through the exhibitor area I was struck by how many tables were set up by organizations involved in offering Donor Eggs. Not one Cryobank was there offering DI but at least 3-5 DE programs were represented. I admit I did not poll each one regarding anonymity or anything along those lines.

The fact that there were that many is great for those conference attendees needing that option. And as a DI Dad I can appreciate that need. I just now wish I attended the related seminar to see what was said on that topic.

AFA Seminar 5/7/06 - My Comments

Below are my quick comments regarding the conference. I was only able to attend the morning sessions and I purposefully missed the keynote addresses (been there, done that).

Session: "It's In the Male - Part 1"

This session was mostly technical stuff which I am guessing most ofyou know about than me as to what causes what at this point.The two things I did get out it were:

(1) If you are attempting IVF/ICSI etc with your own stuff and your urologist suggests testosterone treatments to increase your spermcount etc...get a new urologist...apparently testosterone inhibits FSH production which in turn will decrease your sperm production.

(2) DAZ gene. If you have MFI and are attempting IVF/ICSI it would be worthwhile for you to have your genes analyzed. If you have agene called the DAZ gene and you have a son you could be passing along your infertility onto him. This one scared me and my son is not from me.

Session: "For Men Only"

I was disappointed at the turn out for this session but it made sense to me from our experiences of how many men are out there and this group is still at under 50 members. Only 4 participants not counting me or the two presenters. The main presenter Bob Bamman a therapist here in NYC, who also has MFI, and adopted his kids, ran the session like a group therapy session. Worthwhile as I was only one to beable to speak on DI matters. All agreed that DI is where adoption was years ago.

Session: "Third Party Reproduction"

I missed this as they moved it into the afternoon.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On Mystery Island Would I be Fertile?

I admit that I have become a big fan of the TV show LOST. Although as a dad to young children and the fact that I work a lot of late hours I keep missing the show as I keep falling asleep or I'm at work. Yes I can program the VCR but I keep forgetting and we don't have TiVo.

I was wondering today since a few of the Losties have had medical conditions reverse themselves (i.e. Locke, Rose, etc) since they came to Mystery Island would I be fertile? Not that I would trade my kids but the question did come up in my mind.

For those of you that are like me and you keep missing episodes the following MSNBC site is a great place for recaps episode by episode. They have other show recaps as well.

If I had crashed on the Island like the rest of the Losties I wonder what flashbacks I'd have regarding my past. Too many sessions at the IVF clinic wasting our cash I suppose. Or perhaps our stealing condoms from the RE and giving them to our friends.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Frozen Donor Eggs: Avery Lee Kennedy

As medicine advances it was only a matter of time before Donor Eggs began to be frozen and marketed in the same manner as Donor Sperm. The story of Avery Lee Kennedy, of Lexington, KY, now four months old, may be among the first babies born using frozen donor eggs. Her story is already beginning to be broadcast via the Associated Press as of May 2, 2006 among several papers including the Washington Post, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, the Centre Daily Times, and

The use of frozen donor eggs will probably never reach the marketing levels that the cryobanks get out of donor sperm but it opens up a whole realm of possibilities to families looking for assistance. According to the AP article there are already a number of cryobanks specializing in DE despite the ASRM treating the technology as experimental medicine at this point in time.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Paternity Laws and Child Support and their Application to DI

I would expect that if a marriage that included any children created by DI were to fail that the social dad, the DI Dad, would honor his relationship to his children and have no issue paying child support as part of any arrangement reached upon the marriage’s dissolution.

As stated by the moderator to the Yahoo Group SpermDonors “the general rule [in this country] was that married persons were conclusively presumed to be the parents of children born or conceived during the marriage” including DI kids. In contrast to that rule USA Today reported on May 4, 2006 that a legislative bill in Florida would change that where the petitioning husband can prove via DNA tests that he is not the biological parent of the children born to the marriage in question. The bill ending up expiring before being voted upon but is indicative of a trend across several US States according to the same USA Today story.

My initial reaction to this is that if a DI Dad truly loved his kids I can’t imagine him fighting an order for child support. Granted I don’t know all the facts surrounding the growth of these laws but it seems to me they probably grew out of cases of true adultery and not so much cases of DI created children but the application is scary.

As stated within the Yahoo Group SpermDonors the result may validate the importance of blood relationships as advocated by DC persons but with the unintended effect of leaving a DI created minor without child support which certainly would not be any DC advocate’s goal.

The only other comment I would have is that if a DI Dad were to request cessation of child support under such a law they could probably kiss any relationship goodbye between themselves and those kids. Again I doubt these laws were written with DI in mind.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Artificial Insemination in Conservative Jewish Law : Another Article

I am not sure I agree with everything this Conservative Rabbi writes in this 1998 article and I have seen no other follow up article by him but I present as more info regarding my religion's views on DI.

Of the three major denominations of Judaism I do practice wuthin the Conservative Movement of which this Rabbi is part. The main article I have seen of that movement's views, drafted by Rabbi Dorf, can be found at:, I originally made reference to this article in the linked prior blog posting.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

PA Family Law Lagging Behind Technology

After reading the linked article I am glad I live in NYS where legally I am recognized as my children's natural father. The cases referred to in this article published Sunday, April 29th, are scary.

The article does not refer to the legal status of a DI Dad like myself so I can only wonder. It is my understanding that PA Law does not refer to donor insemination where NY law recognizes any children born to my wife during our marriage, created via ART, as legally and naturally my own.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Another Child? The Odds are Against It.

The truth of the matter is I do want another child. My wife keeps asking me and I keep saying no. Mostly for financial reasons but I'll admit I am also scared.

What am I scared about? I'll tell you. So far knock wood we have been blessed with two wonderful kids who are healthy, smart, and rambunctious. My fears are if we tried again our luck would not hold out. I have seen many personal stories of DI kids who are experiencing problems. I am not referring to the emotional ones of identity and loss but medical. And by that I mean medical issues that could have come from nowhere but via the donor. Stories of common ailments that have been duplicated and documented among half siblings who share a common donor.

Take for instance the mom who kids had so many issues that she began a website against her cryobank protesting it's apparent lack of responsiveness and apparent lack of screening for various diseases. I don't know the whole story and perhaps the public never will. Yes this case may be an extreme but when I read the discussion groups there a number of such stories out there.

Not only is it my fear as a parent who would have to deal with the day to day care of a sick child, but it would add another burden to my existing children down the road that they did not ask for on top of the identity issue that is already been thrust upon them by our choice to use DI. Most people forget that a disabled or sick child grows into an adult and then once the parents are gone the burden falls to any siblings.

Like I said our two kids are healthy and good kids and as much as I want more, and glad we used DI to bring these kids into the world, I am afraid to play the odds a third time.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sun. 5/7 in NYC: AFA Nat'l Fertility & Adoption Conference

If anyone plans to be at the American Fertility Association annual conference this Sunday feel free to try to find me to say hello. The above link is to the conference agenda.

Session One apparently has a Donor Egg seminar but nothing about Donor Sperm which is disappointing. I'll probably be at the "It's in the Male Part 1" overview of MFI issues during this session unless I am making noise at the DE session.

Session Two unfortunately has two sessions of which I had hoped to be at both: (a) Third party Reproduction and (b) For Men Only. I expect to try to make some noise at both of these sessions and expect to split my time between them both.

I am staying for only the morning as I promised to be home in the afternoon. Ssssion Three starting at 2:15 appears to have two sessions which men may be interested in. Neither addresses DI though directly by name: (a) Eval and Treatment for men and women and (b) Its in the Male Part 2.

Overall I am not thrilled that DI is not more closely addressed am I am hoping the Men Only session in the morning is MFI focused as opposed to men helping their wives (although this VERY VERY is important). We shall see.

Again if you find me and want to say hello please do. I had hoped to wriggle my way onto a panel but that did not happen so I am there hopefully advocating for DI Dad related issues. Hopefully I will not sound like a crank.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Male Pill

A Dad Someday posted today a piece about the introduction of the male pill. There is not too much more I have to say about this that he has not covered. Check out the comment left by Jenny re the use of this pill to prevent teenage pregnancies.

My only added comment (which I do address in a comment I left at the post) is my concern that while the pill's affects appear to reverse at one point after it stops being taken it should be noted that each individual's physiology is different and taht for some men the effects will take longer to wear off. And it may very well be that for some men once the drug takes effect it may not be reversible.

You don't know with these things and despite whatever studies are done you just don't know. As I stated I agree with everything written at the linked post re men taking birth control responsibility but drugs can be a scary thing. (same comments for the pill women have been taking for years).

And More Donor 401 - An Update

According to the Washington Post article, published Monday May 1st, linked above, it appears there are more Donor 401 offspring out there. Most interesting fact of the article is that a woman out there had 17 vials of unused sperm from Donor 401 which she is donating to the other mothers who are still interested in having more children who would be full siblings to their existing kids.

What's scary / amazing is how many other donors out there have this many kids. More than we know I am sure. More reasons that the cryobanks should be required to collect live birth info and cap out the maximum possible births from a single donor.

Granted the cryobanks could do nothing about vials previously sold but once the cap is reached the remaining vials (if any) perhaps should be taken out of currently available inventories. I am not sure whether these vials should be destroyed as if something happened to a past client's children you would want them to have the ability to have others I guess. I don't have all the answers but just feel that regulations should exist capping out possible kids.

Monday, May 01, 2006

"My Daddy's Name is Donor" T-Shirt ?

In today's toddler school curriculum do they address how babies are made? I'm not really sure. What would happen if either of my kids were wearing a t-shirt that a donor helped create them. In all likelihood only the teacher would have clue what that would mean. The other toddlers would, I expect, have no clue what that means.

I mention this as I was trolling around on the web and came a website store or two that were selling t-shirts for kids reading "My Daddy's Name is Donor". Apparently the shirts were being marketed for kids of lesbian couples. I can't imagine any heterosexual social dad putting a t-shirt like that on their kid and sending him off to the playground much less school or anywhere else. That would be sharing a bit too much with my neighbors. It would be taking "openess" a bit too far.

One of the sites had a picture of an adult wearing the shirt. Would an adult DC person really wear this? I can't imagine.