Should Donors Be Anonymous?

A recent NY Times Op-Ed piece advocated that all donors be open donors whose identities would be shared with the donor’s offspring when they reach age 18.

I was adopted in 1972 – pre-Roe v Wade era – where it was usually seen to be in the best interest of the child and “all involved” to not know they are adopted. I was fortunate that my parents disagreed and my adoption story was told to me from birth, though I have no info on the birth family really as my parents are not reliable reporters and didn’t write down what little they were told. The mystery has become part of my identity… but that was a self-individuation process that evolved. The recent NY Times Op-Ed is simplistic and one-dimensional, but after all, the author is only an 18 year old boy.

I do feel that donor records should be anonymous if that is preferred by a donor but I also believe they should not be destroyed. I have to say as an adopted person I have always wondered about bio parents/family and while I never felt traumatized about it, there is some comfort for me in knowing that my birth records are out there “somewhere” and should I ever really need them I can subpoena them. Certainly this young man’s discomfort is not unusual and his identity formation as an adult man and a father to be, if he should choose, will be shaped to some degree by these questions. It seems natural to me.

I did not turn to my parents to navigate my adoption issues – my brother is now doing some searching and has told my parents – I worry more about them especially my mom – my mom’s infertility grief is still a bit raw even 40+ years later and me being pregnant is a joy for her but it is all complicated… I guess that is my point … it is all complicated and that is OK.

My daughter will know more than some others as we have a known donor and I have pictures. He was a friend, and still is a “Facebook friend” (LOL) despite living half way around the world. I am sure of one thing – it will be complicated – but I learned from my parents that there are all kinds of families – and that is what I will tell my daughter.

Susan J. 


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