Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thank you to our donor

I usually have thanked our donor on Father's Day. This evening it felt right to say thank you again. 

Over the last several weeks the how and why we (my Ex and I) came to the decision of using donor insemination have been in my thoughts. 

The thought process boiled down to the desire to have these children. They are as silly and smart and beautiful as I ever hoped they would be. 

I had always wanted to be a dad. Long before I had any idea that biologically I could not. Mentally and emotionally I knew I would be a great dad. Even when they drive me crazy I love them. 

Turning to donor insemination was the next step in our desire to create these children. I know now I was not aware of all the issues this decision would lead to. But I knew without those decisions these children would not have been. I continue to ask questions so that when and if they do I can perhaps help them find or work towards answers. 

Our donor at this juncture must know he has helped our family and others to exist. My past questions to the cryobank have certainly clued him in. What he thinks and wonders I and my children may never know. 

I write today to say thank you for allowing me to be a dad. I write to say thank you for giving them life.  I write to wish you and your family a healthy and happy New Year. Perhaps one day I can say that in person. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Addressing DI on the Dad Blogs

Over the years I have seen a number of good and great male factor infertility TTC blogs written by men like myself. Some upon conception and birth move onto daddy blogs remaining active in the TTC community or adoption community but these blogs like my own never seem to cross over into mainstream daddy blogging. I am curious why that is the case or whether we even should expect to. 

Blogs like this one owe our existence to the issues that made us and our hearts will forever be tied in some form to those issues. Certainly my blog focuses on DI issues or reacts to life through my own tinted lens. My posts have veered into divorce related issues as my life is now a mix of these issues but it is not a focus of this blog. 

I sometimes reach out to mainstream dad blogs or aggregator type dad blogs to see if they ever have addressed issues like donor conception as it allows me to perhaps further de stigmatize the DI story and perhaps reach DI dads who did not know there are others dads like themselves. I sent the above tweets out this morning. Over the years I have at times been the designated DI blog on one or two of these aggregator type blogs. 

Do I reach out wanting to be a normal daddy blog?  Is this again a desire to not be seen as an infertile dad. Who knows.  I just know I am a dad and this is my place discussing DI and chronicling my life and that of my kids, trying to learn as I go along. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Donor, Dad, StepDad ?

What's a Donor Conceived Child of Divorce to Think

In talking to my son this morning by phone I ask him how his Christmas was with his mom at his grandparents' apartment. I assumed his mom's fiancĂ©e would be there. We talked for a few minutes about how life can be complicated. Not sure how we came to referring to Donor, Dad, and StepDad but he recognized that no matter how many folks are out there always will be only one Dad. That made me smile and his not being with me at the moment a little sweeter. 

How kids process all of the stuff they do is a mystery to me.  Not sure I could process being donor conceived and my parents being divorced and one getting remarried. 

No discussions lately re the donor. We did speak this week of one half sibling where she has had some orthodontic work like mine are about to. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So much to write about...,

I have so much to write about. 

Certainly the experience of watching the last episodes of MTV's groundbreaking Generation Cryo. Thank you Wendy for however you got the MTV folks aboard for the idea. The series has young people talking. Can't tell you how many tweets I have seen, mostly good, where they empathize with the 1096 kids etc. Donor conception I believe as an issue is breaking through and your work got it here. 

I also still need to write up a post with my comments re the Delivery Man movie as it relates to donors with an analogy to the AUS study re donors interested in coming forward years after donating. Certainly I have my comments comparing the movie to the original French Canadian  Starbuck. And also how it brought out issues of donor conceived vs donor rights issues clearly where few sperm donor comedies have done so before. Having a court case as a central plot device sort of does that. 

Told a cousin yesterday of my infertility use of donor conception to create my kids. Thought I had told him long ago. Amazingly very few folks in my extended family even know despite my public discussions and being in numerous articles etc long ago. In truth not my story but the kids so glad in most respects their privacy intact at these ages. 

Will say even though the 1096 siblings are not mine in any way I found myself very happy and proud of them how they presented themselves on the GenCryo show, in their public tweets. These are well rounded thoughtful young adults and they did great. It's a big crazy issue for folks to get your head around and they seem to be doing so quite well. Hopefully all the donor conceived out there can be thankful for that and it will help them all in their personal journeys addressing this part of who they are. 

I look forward to continuing being part of the discussion as a DI Dad for my kids and to represent dads like me as I am able. 

The Dad in Generation Cryo

Eric -

Just finished watching the final episodes. There is a lot I want to say but at this late hour it is pretty much summed up by my saying Thank you. Thank you for putting yourself out there with your thoughts, concerns, your pure reactions. Your participation put a real face on all the men out there in our position. You took some heat on Twitter but that's ok as it allowed again folks to see the raw issues and emotions. Your children are beautiful and smart and caring and that comes from you and you already know that. 

Again for now I leave you eternally grateful for your role as you in this docu-series. Without you it would not and could not have made the impact it did and will for some time to come.

I am posting this same thank you to my blog to publicly thank you. 

Thank you and best regards and I hope to continue a conversation with you. 

Good night,

Eric Schwartzman. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Follow me on Twitter

Looking for real time commentary re my views please follow me on Twitter via @Eric11714

Friday, December 20, 2013

Test to Reduce Surgery for Infertile Men

Back when we were trying to conceive even before we decided definitively to use donor insemination we tried IVF with ICSI with the goal of finding any viable sperm of my own. According to research science is close to determining via genetic markers if any sperm found would be viable even before surgery allowing decisions to avoid the knife if the sperm would not viable. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advice for Potential Donors

In a comment left in response to a guest post to the New York Times Motherlode blog written by Wendy Kramer of the Donor Sibling Registry and Naomi Cahn titled "Emailing a Sperm Donor: You May Want to Sit Down" the following advice was offered. Wise words any potential donor should take to heart before deciding to donate. 

If the donor didn't want to help create a human being (who likely will have questions about his/her origins as most people do), then the donor shouldn't donate. There is no law forcing someone to donate egg or sperm.

If they want to do it out of the goodness of their heart, then out of the goodness of their heart, they should realize that the person created has fundamental rights to know about him/herself.

If the donor is doing it for money to pay for college, he/she should know the person he/she helped create may have reasonable issues with identity decades later. The donor risks his/her "creation" wanting contact or probing decades later with questions about donor's life and history. the little sperm or egg doesn't stay little, but grows up into a human being with human feelings, desires, and questions.

If donor can't handle contributing to these dilemmas, then don't donate recklessly. Again, it's a choice the donor is making voluntarily and should be properly informed about. It's certainly not the fault of the person who was created with the assistance of this donor.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Recommended Blog Reading

This is Greg's blog and well worth reading. Check out his review of Generation Cryo after watching episode 2. 


I am still having trouble posting URL links using the smartphone blogger function. Sorry. 

Cheers for the GenCryo Dads

I meant to write after last weeks episode of MTV's Generation Cryo but the week got away from me. And by all right I should be in bed as its midnight here in NYC now. 

I will try to write more later but wanted to write about the scenes in each of these last episodes where the dads Jim Bogdan and Eric Jacobson have one on one discussions with their sons. 

In Ep 2, at the golf driving range Jesse's dad Jim wants to discuss how Jesse should not worry how he proceeds with helping Bree that Jim is ok and no matter what Jesse is a Bogdan. It was a touching scene showing that no matter what Jim is there for Jesse. 

In Ep 3, Jonah Jacobson comes to his dad looking to make sure and ask dad Eric if its ok for him to fly to Oakland to help Bree in her continuing donor search. In the scene Jonah indicates he has no desire to meet the donor today or at all. Eric counsels that once the door is opened there is no going back and evokes the fear that if found the donor may want a bigger role and presence in the lives of the siblings. Again it is a hard scene to watch as everything Eric said I know where he is coming from. But again like Jim in Ep 2, Eric puts the wishes and desires of his son before his own feelings. 

Very very impressed how MTV weaves in the comments and thoughts of the parents especially the dads like me. 

Ep 3 does not include any footage of the divorced dad of siblings Paige, Molly and Will. In exchanging tweets with Paige this evening I asked her to convey a message to her dad that he did well and that he should be proud. I indicated I hope my two grow up as strong as the three children he raised. 

Again kudos to the Generation Cryo dads !!!  Thank you gentlemen. 

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

DSR Book: Finding Our Families

The book "Finding Our Families" written by Wendy Kramer, founder of the Donor Sibling Registry, comes out today. Am finally ordering my copy. 

I will try to post later texts from reviews etc. The reviews have ALL been great. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

NYT Op-Ed: Regulate the Sperm Industry

Today's New York Times includes an Op-Ed column calling for the Sperm Industry to be subjected to increased regulation. 


Hopefully the link works as I am publishing this post from a smart phone app. 

Friday, November 29, 2013


In the last few years I have not focused on donor conception issues. Been too busy just being dad and focusing on the kids post divorce etc. The whole Generation Cryo thing has me back in this mind set seeing little things through those glasses. 

Seeing the cartoon where the original caption read "He had his doubts from the beginning" I am reminded of a few dads I have spoken to who have had issues using another man's sperm to impregnate their spouses. It is hard to accept at first and sometimes there could be feelings if resentment and jealousy. For some it is akin to infidelity. Not all men have gone into using DI accepting it 100%. Many do and have no issues but for some it has been a fact lingering that lays hidden but can have many ill effects. 

I love my kids and was able to process the info of using DI that I don't thing I had  to much of an issue but all DI Dads have to accept it to be able to move into the next stages of loving their kids. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NYT article re Generation Cryo

The GenetationCryo show made the cover of the NY Times Arts section this week. Below the fold but still very cool. 

There was a phrase by the reporter that technology made her and maybe technology can make her whole that @DresdenPlaid took offense at replying that #DonorConceived kids are not Terminators. 

I understood Dresden's point. And while the phrasing was cold and impersonal the writer was not trying to say the kids are inhuman. And I am betting that Dresden knew that. He, I believe, was just trying to make clear that this generation, these kids in particular, are the products of this time and continue to grow due to advances in science and have opportunities to help themselves in ways our generation could not have imagined through our connection to and through technology. 

I will say I don't think searching for a donor is the same for every donor conceived person and for most the search may not make them "whole" but it would appear as demonstrated here on Generation Cryo that an innate curiosity as to who we are drives our wanting answers that must be acknowledged for those that seek them. 

Article link:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tweeting GenerationCryo

In the past week to ten days I have been responding to numerous postings / tweets regarding the MTV program Generation Cryo. At first the tweets were just ignorant dumb jokes and uncaring comments. They are getting better. Mostly responding re issues and comments regarding parents etc. here are a few of my tweets this morning. Feel free to follow me there as Eric11714. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The DI Dad in MTV's Generation Cryo

The following post is exactly the same text I posted to the DI Dads Yahoo Group earlier today (with an added link to a UK article about the show.  In this post Eric Jacobson discusses his feelings about the show that two of his children Hilit and Jonah appear on as well as his role in the show and its production:

A few weeks back I posted about a new reality show coming up on MTV called Generation Cryo. It's the story about a 18 year old young woman from Reno, NV named Bree that decides she wants to find her sperm donor and along the way via, the Donor Sibling Registry, discovers she has over a dozen half siblings. I saw a sneak peek of the show this past week and I think it is required watching for any DI Dad to get a peak into the lives of our kids when they hit their teenage years.

 Another reason to watch is more person to us as dads. The show focuses so far a lot on what is family. And where Bree is the product of a two mom household the first two half siblings she meet are non other than the twin children of DI Dad group member Eric Jacobson. And Eric is featured on the show in this episode and a lot of the issues we each have dealt with are tackled head on. Eric's children make it clear in the episode that Eric is their dad and they have no desire to meet the donor. In their minds and hearts he is their dad. No one else. And coming from our point of view I admit I almost lost it.

 I also saw an interview this week on the Today Show with many of the half siblings from the show and again it was addressed head on by the young adults who have dads that they are not looking to replace their dads, they love their dads very much and would never want to do anything to harm those relationships. Again great thing to see from our point of view.

 I have corresponded with Eric about the show which I believe has now wrapped filming even before the 6 episode series hits the air officially. This show is not reality TV ala Jersey Shore or any of that garbage. This appears worth watching. Anyhow I am copying below an email from Eric regarding his thoughts about the show and his struggles even going into the show.

I will say before this show even came into being Eric's family had over the years been involved with other press stories and his twins and many of their half siblings had already met and established half sibling relationships via their finding each other on the DSR.


Link to a UK article about the show:


Again here is Eric Jacobson's email to me, nothing edited or removed:

On Nov 20, 2013, at 4:20 PM, Eric Jacobson  wrote:

Eric (you can post this)
Thanks for your kind words. If I said this was an easy process making this should I would be a liar. There were many arguements and fights about if I would even participate: How far would the show go in terms of the donor? Would MTV make this into another "reality show" like New Jersey Shore? These were my concerns before we event started the show.  

I think I shared with you and the Donor Dad list serve many years ago that I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into many of the activities related to our family being a donor family: Should we tell the kids? Should we tell them about the siblings? Should we talk to the press? I didn't necessarily want to do any of this - as I said on the show it was my insecurity. However, the one given that made it easier for me was the bond and love I have with Jonah and Hilit. With that in place, I knew that nothing could really go wrong. No matter what they would always be there for me and I am and will forever be their dad. I think this came out in the show as well. What may not be there is how protective they are of me and my feelings. I guess my advise for dads would be to have that love and nothing else could go wrong.

I had no problems telling Jonah to give his DNA because I know that even if they find the donor or meet him, I am their dad. By the way, both kids said from the beginning they have no interest in meeting the donor if he is found. Still my insecurity comes up a lot and that is what I have to deal with. I know you were concerned about how they refer to the donor as donor father. It is a legitimate concern but I think this issue is so new nobody really knows how to be political correct in how to refer to this guy. I am not sure how any of the kids really feel about this journey. Much of it was pushed upon them by families and then things just happen. I remember at one point, Jonah said as an 18 year old man "he could be someone who donated and probably would not want to have to worry 20 years later that a bunch of kids would show up on his door step." I think he gets it.

 Throughout the show I could only be real. Wasn't going to hold back or make it easy for the production people. Sometimes I get emotional about this and sometimes I get angry and there were times I had to walk away from the filming so I could get my act together. There is one other dad in the group and he I have not had lots of conversations but I think we feel the same way. Not really sure about why we have to go through this but it was good getting the kids together. They feel connected. I don't necessarily feel connected. We have made some good friends but I don't see them as family in any way.

 After all these years, I now honestly believe that we have to be open and upfront with our children and with ourselves. We live in a time when the "traditional" family no longer exists and we are pioneers in creating a new kind of family. Think about it, in our group there are single moms, lesbian couples and traditional families. It reflects the United States and the people who make up this great country. Those who are not open with their kids will find down the line that their kids are angry at them, not trusting, and may have other issues as they get older. We have to love them as much as we can and teach them that no matter what I am your dad - I just could not do what other men do and that is produce children - period. I hope this is the message of Generation Cryo for parents and for kids.

 I was told by the producers that my part of the show is a selling point because it does give the perspective of a dad and a parent. This is not just about finding the donor - it is about family and how families deal with issues such as having to use donor sperm or donor eggs. Does this make me a star? No, it just makes me human and my hard outside gave way to the soft inside that my kids love about me. Hopefully all the "dads" out there there that are struggling will find some comfort in this and know that if I continue to love my kids and be a good father there is NOTHING to worry about.  Believe me there were times when we were struggling raising American teenagers and all the other things we have to deal with that I forgot we used a donor.  Those are the issues we need to be more concerned about. 

Please know that if anyone has questions or issues that I would be available to discuss them.  I know how you feel - been there/done it - and I know what comes out on the other side.  So I dedicate my role on Generation Cryo to all the other guys out there - may you get comfort from what I have said.

Eric Jacobson

 From: Eric Schwartzman
To: Eric Jacobson
Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 11:36 PM
Subject: Re: Generation Cryo

Hey Eric,

Just watched the first episode. Felt giving you my impressions before I would post anything or blog about it would be appropriate. 
First off every feeling you espoused that made it on air I have felt and related to. No idea if you have met any of the twins other half sibs parents to know if there is another dad like you. Am curious to see as the series continues. Was interesting and happy to see the amount of air time devoted to parent reactions. Appreciated that. 
Signing off on the DNA swab test was the right thing but can understand how hard it must have been. My kids and their sibs are all too young to be at these kids level of mind set so I am a ways away from seeing what they want. So the show is a possible roadmap of what may await me. 
Am impressed with your honesty and candor. Saying thank you. 

Eric Schwartzman

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twitter Feedback and Being Engaged in Life

This afternoon I exchanged tweets (via @Eric11714) regarding the DI Dads yahoo discussion group and how it made a difference for one man. 

Even though I have not been involved in the group on a daily basis for some time I do take some pride in knowing the group helped this gentlemen. 

I sometimes feel guilty for stepping back as I have. My marriage partially failed due to at times not being fully engaged in the marriage as I had been blogging full time through two blogs, this blog, and another a geographically based blog. I guess I still partially blame the time I spent blogging as well as the time on the group. Truth is I had other issues as well. But the effect is I now try to spend more time being dad and engaged with my kids. I don't want the kids feeling ever I wasn't there. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Donor's Child

Turns out the new half sibling is the donor's own child. Apparently the donor updated his medical / family profile and listed the birth of his own daughter. My kids were excited at the thought of a new half sibling but disappointed when I pointed out that it is unlikely they'd ever meet unless the donor comes forward or tells his own child that he once was a donor. 

Interesting and unexpected. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another Half Sibling?

Traded emails last night with one of the moms of our two known half siblings. It appears that on the sibling registry maintained by the cryobank there may be a listing for another sibling we were not aware of. 

I had not seen this sibling on the Donor Sibling Registry but then again I have not logged in there in a while. Thought there I had set up an auto email when siblings were added. 

Interesting if true but why would a parent post on the cryobank registry and not the DSR?


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Movie Review: Starbuck - He Fathered 533 Kids...

The following is a post I just left on the Facebook group "Donor Conceived Offspring, Siblings, Parents":

Hello everyone. I am a dad to two children conceived via DI. For years I wrote a blog about just that and occasionally still post there. Last night I went to see the French Canadian film Starbuck From the trailer I expected it to be in movie terms a farce, and point of it were just that. 

It is a cute film and while the plot does involve the desire of 142 DC offspring trying to learn Starbuck's identity the film focuses more on the view of Starbuck and his attempts to act as "dad" while not giving up his true identity. I don't want to give away too much of what happens as it is a very sweet movie. Unrealistic perhaps but it does demonstrate that familial bonds develope in a lot of different ways. One scene where Starbuck does make a statement to his "children / offspring" is quite poignant and leads to several succeeding events.

Years ago as a non-biological dad I may have been threatened by the idea of my kids meeting their donor. I don't believe I am anymore but as they are still young it is unclear whether they will have any desire to meet him much less pursue a relationship. In the movie the feelings of the young adult children about their social parent was handled well, if not perhaps quickly, as it was not the point of the story or adding to the basic comedy that was the genre of this film.

We have seen a lot of sperm donor movies over the last few years most with happy scripted endings and this one does not break from the pattern. Most have dealt with the mother ending up, inadvertently with the actual donor. Others have been just as controverted. This ending was satisfying and cute. In the scheme of things it may not add anything to the debates we all have on this topic and our lives but for a couple of hours it is innocent fun (and at points very sweet) and allows us to feel good.

It should be started the movie opens with a totally unneeded scene of Starbuck in the clinic trying to donate. The typical jokes and his "trying" which we did not need to see.  Should have been edited out.  It is probably the only scene I had an issue with and one I would not let young children see. 

As with all movie reviews, and commentary on this topic so close to home, for all of us I expect there will be contrary opinions and I am open to hear them. What is your opinion of this movie and others of what has become a sub-genre all on its own?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Two DI News Stories: Kansas, Monica Cruz


Over the last few weeks I have read a number of articles regarding a case in Kansas where a known donor was used by a lesbian couple where he signed papers giving up his right to the child but now the Kansas courts are requiring him to pay child support.

In short, Kansas law does not allow a same sex partner to adopt the child of their partner.  Louis Sternberg's blog summarized the best how the Courts came to their decision and the reason why.  It has nothing to do with their position on donor conception:

When [the birth mother] applied for state health insurance for the child, Kansas demanded to know the identity of the father. Kansas law, like New York, allows the state to seek child support on behalf of a custodial parent when that custodial parent is receiving certain state-sponsored financial benefits such as health insurance. Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families said “all individuals who apply for taxpayer-funded benefits through DCF are asked to cooperate with child support enforcement efforts” and that “DCF is required by statute to establish paternity and then pursue child support from the non-custodial parent.”

Sternberg's blog actually states that under Kansas law that if the insemination was done by a licensed physician (it was not here) the donor would have been held harmless.

New York law considers me the natural father to my two DI children as I was married to their mother when they were born.  Now that I am not here I am paying child support.  No chance for me to get our donor to help out I guess. Lucky guy.

Monica Cruz

I was amused to learn that model Monica Cruz, the actress Penelope Cruz's nearly identical younger sister, decided that she no longer wanted to wait to find the man of her dreams to start a family and turned to donor insemination.   There are a lot of comments I can make to this story but many of them would get me in trouble.  I wish her and her baby well.  

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 - Happy New Year

2012 has come and gone.  I only posted here 5 times in 2012.  I had hoped I would improve on my 2011 count of 41.  But it was not to be.  I am sitting here wondering what does that mean?   My divorce was finalized early in 2012 so that was not an issue in my writing less as it had been in 2009 and 2010.  Overall it must be that the issues of donor conception were not as pressing to my day to day life as they had been in earlier years. 

I also have not contributed as much to the Yahoo DI Dads group as I had in prior years.  At his point the group is somewhat self supporting.  There are a key group of dads there who are great and provide great feedback for those men looking for help.

So why do I come back here?  Probably because as my kids get older I expect the questions to increase.  They have not yet.  My kids are now going on 11 and 9.  Their relationships with their half siblings are those of distant cousins.  In truth they have been asking to see their female half sibling as it's been a couple of years since they have physically gotten together. 

But what about me?  What are my needs, my thoughts?  I am not sure.  When I see news stories on the topic I certainly have defiined opinions, defined positions.  I have not been active in the donor conception community in some time.

I still toy with the desire to memorialize all this into a book, updating key posts from over the years, and my thoughts.  I expect my activity will increase as the teenage years hit.  In the mean time I wanted to ask what topics you as the visiting reader would want addressed that perhaps you have not found if you have surfed through this site.  I apologize as the early years of this site did not have topic tagging as the recent years do.

Thank you and Happy 2013 !