Donor Sibling Registry
By: Kris A. Probasco, LCSW, LSCSW
The Donor Sibling Registry was founded in 2000 by Wendy Kramer and her son, Ryan Kramer. Ryan joined the family through donor conception. Wendy is now a single mom, and Ryan is her grown son.
Ryan knew of his sperm donor conception for many years but pleaded that there must be more like him around and wished to have a connection.
The starting of this group reminds me of the story that Barbara Eck Menning told regarding staring Resolve, a kitchen table discussion with her friends who were also infertility patients and their need of support and education which led to a national support network.
Before the Donor Sibling Registry, there basically was not a place for donor families to receive information regarding each other and no place for parents or the donor conceived to make genetic connections. Wendy Kramer has often stated that she has learned a lot regarding the need for genetic connection knowledge from the adoption world in where many adopted people desired information and contact regarding their biological family. Wendy has found, as well as many professionals, those who are donor conceived have some of the same desired for a life-ling connection.
The Donor Sibling Registry started as a simple Yahoo group and now has developed into a full-blown support network that educates, connects and supports donor families. The registry currently has 45,000 members world-wide and over 12,000 monthly visitors to their website They make genetic connections for families registering though donor I.D. numbers or factual information regarding the donation. DNA testing can be facilitated by the registry. To register there is a fee of $350 that registers not only the parents pf the child but also the donor.
this is a life-long connection that is possible through anonymous contact through the registry by the use of passwords, personal email connections and direct contact. Beyond the registry’s connection, it is the individual family’s decision of how they maintain contact.
The registry is also helpful in connecting donor siblings together. Ryan has spoken very eloquently of being interested in his donor siblings. Also man donor-conceived individuals and their families have found it very helpful to have this connection, especially for medical situations that may arise for the children in their growing and adult life. It provides a way to communicate with genetic kin to give helpful ongoing medical information.
I have found that discussing the registry with prospective parents for donor conceptions and/or surrogacy, certainly helps in the breaking of their denial. It assists patients to move past their denial and acknowledge the importance of their child’s connection to genetic families. We all recognize the significant loss of our patients in not being able to use their genetics or body to bring a child into their family. By providing education and referral to the Donor Sibling Registry, this will encourage the child’s parents to honor and respect the donor’s contribution to their child and their future.
We are all part of the child’s story of the many helpers that assisted in bringing the child to the family. Acknowledging the child’s needs to maintain genetic connection could mean becoming a helper in the present with life-long gains.
I encourage you to visit the Donor Sibling Registry at www.donorsiblingregistry.org. Again, thank you for this opportunity, and I appreciate your interest.