When Donor White Met Joy
Slatehelped the Nobel Prize sperm bank's "Donor White" and his biological daughter find each other. Here's what happened when they met.
The visit with Donor White and his wife was wonderful. I will always remember it as four perfect days. The visit was so easy, it was like getting together with old friends. I've wondered how it was possible that we were so comfortable and I've come up with a few thoughts. The donor and his wife are nice and down-to-earth people, not pretentious at all, and good company, too.
We had become pretty well-acquainted by e-mail before the visit and we were prepared to like each other. I told Joy before the trip, "I just love these people in advance." She thought that was funny and I explained that they had given me such a gift (her), that I just loved them. I told her that the donor and his wife had wanted children in their marriage, but weren't able to have any and were willing to help me, someone they didn't know, get what I wanted most in life.
When I first entered their home, we hugged and his wife said, "Thank you." I was bringing my daughter to visit as my way of thanking them and she was thanking me!
When she and I got a chance to talk alone, I told her that I was very impressed at how open-minded they both were, and she said simply, "Well, I knew a lot of ladies who were wanting babies, I know what they went through." I would like to remind your readers that the donor did not seek to become involved with the Repository, they sought him, he was never paid. His wife told me that the person who recruited Donor White was very persuasive, and he was not initially interested in becoming involved.
I knew that Donor White would be taken with my daughter—she is easy to love—and I knew that she would enjoy meeting him and getting to know him and his wife: She loves people. I think that meeting her biological father will be more important to her as she gets older and starts having a family of her own. I think it did help her at this time to hear his stories, look at his family albums. The donor has many amazing accomplishments and learning about some of them was inspiring to her. I should add that my daughter is accustomed to meeting family at intervals, connecting and then keeping in touch via phone and e-mail until another visit or vacation. We have no family locally; we are spread out all over the country, so it is really not that odd of a situation.
When we were saying our goodbyes, I heard the emotion in her voice; it was hard for her to say "goodbye," but half an hour later she was playing with her friends and having a great time. I would not have agreed to this meeting if I felt that it would cause her pain. I had prepared her in advance that meeting this other family was a blessing, our daily lives were not going to change, her Dad was still her Dad, but it doesn't hurt to have more people in her life to care about and to have care about her. We plan to stay in touch and have more visits in person.
This relationship is enjoyable for all of us, and it just feels right. We are all sane adults who care about one little girl. I will always be grateful to the Repository, and especially to Donor White and his wife.
Beth and Donor White hope their story will inspire other Donor White families to seek them out. Beth would like to find half-siblings for Joy. Donor White would love to know more about his biological children.
To other parents who conceived children using Donor White's sperm: If you would like to be in touch with Donor White or with your child's half-sister, Joy, and Joy's mom, Beth, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (202) 261-1370. All contacts will be considered confidential.
If you are a parent, child, or donor connected with the Repository for Germinal Choice, and you want to find lost relatives or talk about your experience, Slate wants to hear from you. Please e-mail me at email@example.com or call me at (202) 261-1370. All contacts will be considered confidential.
David Plotz is the Editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and Good Book. He appears on Slate's Political Gabfest.