Father’s Day Thoughts From a Teen SMC Child

Allow me to open by briefly introducing myself. My name is Jocelyn, I was born in San Francisco, California, I live in Florida.

I suppose you could say I was born because of a sperm donor. Biologically, that’s true. But the real REASON I’m here is because my mother wanted a child. To me, that’s all that matters and I could leave it at that. But because I enjoy this topic, I won’t.

So, maybe it’s how I was brought up. I knew my entire life I was the product of a sperm donor. No big deal. I have a vague recollection of my elementary-school Spanish teacher teaching me how to say “donor” in Spanish. My uncle’s a genealogist, so when family tree time came around, everyone was so absolutely stunned by just how far back it went on my mom’s side that they didn’t notice or care that I had nothing on the donor’s side.

And that’s how we always referred to him. The donor. I knew pretty much how it was done, but then I also was the most Internet-savvy one in the whole house by the time I was 5. I knew way more than most 5 year olds did, more than I supposedly “should” have, but I’m pretty sure there are statistics somewhere about early exposure and exponential difference in maturity.

Anyway, that’s all he was to me. A donor. The reason I’m here? Technically, but that could’ve been anyone. I know he’s Colombian, which makes me half-Colombian, a huge running joke amongst everyone, seeing as I’m the palest person I know. I know he lived in California, I guess. And thanks to the donor sibling registry, I know I have a few half-sibs running around, which is pretty cool. Siblings I don’t have to live with? What more could I want?

All my friends have always known. I went to a private school, but not like most people imagine private schools. The farthest thing from uniforms, and science “class” involved (humanely!) catching fish to look at and doing reports on native animals. Basically the coolest place ever. Since everyone was different, the fact that my dad was a squirt bottle was hardly the most interesting.

Personally, I think it’s awesome. A little worrisome, seeing as I plan to return to California soon, that I could unwittingly date a half-sibling. But I think it would be pretty cool to go about my life in California, and maybe one day contact my donor, and find out he’s been my doctor, or my mechanic, or my favorite latte-maker at the local cafe! Talk about crazy. But in a totally wicked way! And I’ll just get blood tests before I get married to anyone. Problem solved.

Like I said, maybe it’s how I was raised. There was never any mystery, and it’s not like I have a whole other life waiting for me if I can just contact my donor. For all I know, he’s a total jerk. Or maybe he just wanted to make some extra money. Perhaps he’s more like me than I know, and he did it purely for the amusement of being able to walk down the street and fantasize about who’s his kid. Maybe they’re famous. Maybe they’re allergic to mushrooms. Maybe they dye their hair pink. But for the record, I thought The Kids Are All Right was totally unrealistic. As cool as it would be if my donor owned a restaurant and drove a motorcycle, it’s hard to decide who would be more horrified by the idea of my mom having a fling with him – her or me.

And on Father’s Day, I give my uncle a card. He teaches me how to drive and makes my Halloween costumes. Pretty much the best dad ever, right?

Jocelyn

12 thoughts on “Father’s Day Thoughts From a Teen SMC Child”

  1. I really appreciate Jocelyn’s great outlook from a donor child perspective! I used a donor for my pregnancy and am happily expecting. I did a lot of research, and thought a great deal about my donor, as do many women, and chose non-anonymous donation. I would only like to gently encourage other future SMCs to be open to non-anonymous donors as well. I have a very good friend who was born through an anonymous donor more than 31 years ago, friends who have used anonymous donors to have their own children, and my mother who is adopted. This gave me many perspectives on the issue of anonymous vs. non-anonymous donation. Through all of these experiences, what crucially repeated was one thing: it should be up to a child to make the choice of whether or not to know their donor, not us.

    In talking with some friends who have gone through this process, I know there are fears: Will the donor get involved? Will my child want a relationship with them? Essentially there were many fears that their importance or role would be diminished. It’s a human fear, but as we can see from Jocelyn’s beautiful blog, they are unfounded. Questioning is natural, and expected with any donor situation – nothing’s perfect. However, the reality is that in exchange for getting over the hurdle of your own fears, using a non-anonymous donor can solve big potential and unnecessary question marks for your child. I know my friend did not have the opportunity to know her mother’s donor, and although this may or may not matter to some children, it mattered very much to her no matter how informed she was by her mom, or how incredible her mom and their relationship is to this day.

    Besides curiosity, there is also the knowledge of a full genetic past, character traits and half-siblings from the donor. Some may not care, but you can’t assume they won’t. In fact, for a large majority of donor children it is a core resentment, as can be viewed on many a forum serving that community. In fact, many considering donors might do well to take a look at such forums to really understand the potential perspectives of their children down the road in order to make a more informed decision between anonymous and non-anonymous donation. Many women never had this choice before, so it’s a great opportunity to consider. If anything it prepares us for the questions and concerns of our children, and that is certainly what should be most important to us all as mothers!

  2. Jocelyn, thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. You’ve no idea what a difference it can make for women considering single motherhood to read about an amazing family like yours.

    Having just started on the SMC process myself, I find your outlook really heart-warming.

    Your Single Mother by Choice must be very proud of you 🙂

  3. Jocelyn…………….. a really special article for so many people…………… you sound like a really special girl who has a fantastic mum. Mums to be who go through donor insemination to have a child have so many concerns how their child born in this way may feel . The openess and honesty from you and your mum to you has obviously brought about a wonderful person in you. wishing you much happiness and success in all that you do .
    best wishes
    Esther

  4. Thank you for confirming what I thought – that children will accept their identity, it’s how you present it that’s important. And it’s more aboput what they do have than what they don’t have. Well written, well done!

  5. Thanks so much for your post. As a woman who is trying for a child through a donor, there is so much to think about. It’s lovely to see your maturity, confidence and stability. Gives me much hope for the future!

  6. You are fantastic! I look forward to my daughter having the maturity and expression that you shared. I posted this to my Facebook to show the doubters and conservative skeptics in my life. Thank you.

  7. This is really wonderful.

    Jocelyn and anyone in her situation should know though, that the blood tests before marriage do not test for related genetics. They test for disease.

  8. Thanks for your post. I am a single mom by choice of a 21-year-old daughter, and you two could be half sibs. I am repeatedly amazed by the maturity, empathy, responsiveness, intelligence and sarcastic humor that seems to run in the veins of all the SMC children I know and meet. You all give me hope for a much better tomorrow…Happy Donor Daddy Day and kudos to all the SMCers out there raising these gems

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