New Canaan 53

M A TC H GA M E THE WEIRD WORLD OF DONOR INSEMINATION

“Dad,” my 12-year-old son said to me recently as he was snuggling into bed, “I want to meet my real father.” By “real father” he meant sperm donor, as he is aware and has been for some time that his Y chromosome and the tiny tadpole it came in were gifts given by another man. A man whose name, background, personality, and appearance I know nothing about. A complete cipher who provided my son with half of his DNA. “I mean, I think of you as my real dad, but… I’d still like to meet my donor.” There was a pregnant pause. Millions of feel- ings swam through my head, unable to escape, all competing to penetrate the silence, but I kept the focus on his request. I explained that his “real father” had chosen to remain anonymous and him I would find out but that he would probably be disappointed, because typically, the donor’s identity remains protected. “But… I’m a part of him, and he’s a part of me. How can he not want to know me?” How could I answer this and spare my son pain? I thought for a moment, and then ex- plained that the donor might have his own fam- ily, his own children, his own private life, and that while he chose through a generous act to had likely not consented to be contacted by his offspring. I told

BY FRED SANDERS

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