A story about being a donor child
My name is Emma. I am 23 years old and I am a donor child. I have a mum and a dad and two sisters. Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to tell and inform people about what it’s like to be a donor child from an anonymous donor. My story is positive and it has met both acceptance and resistance.
Being told that you are a donor child
My parents have never kept the fact that I am donor child a secret from me. When I was very young, they wrote a book for me – about me. It was composed like a goodnight story and a children’s book, and through this book they told me about how I was conceived. They read aloud to me for the first time when I was just 2 years old and since then they read it out loud as a night time story countless amount of times. In the book, my parents shared the story about the kind man who wanted to help them have me. In this way, there has always been a lot of focus on the positive story and that I was a wished-for child, who was born into this world in a very special way.
By having the book read to me again and again, it has been a gradual process in getting to know what it means to be a donor child. The older I got, the more aspects I understood and of course the more I understood, the more questions I had, which my parents were happy to answer. That is why it has never been a shock for me that I was a donor child. It has been a normal part of our family and our everyday life as long as I can remember. I have been incredibly happy about this and I think it has had a big influence on my understanding about being a donor child. I can therefore only advise to be honest from the very beginning.
Having an anonymous donor
Of course I have thought about whether I look like my donor. I think everybody has. That being said, I have never had the need to know more. It has been a curiosity but not a need. At the time when my parents chose a donor, it was not possible to choose an open donor so this has always been the circumstances. I have never been interested in looking him up or knowing his donor number, just like I have never been interested in finding out whether I have any half siblings. I was quite old when I first thought about the fact that there was a possibility that I could have half siblings. My two sisters are both my parents biological children and they are my family and I have not had the need for more than them.
I am sometimes asked if I would like to know the donor’s motive but the answer has always been the same. It isn’t important to me. I will on the other hand be forever grateful to him for wanting to be a donor and I hope he knows how much has helped me and my family. I think about him with gratefulness and in that way he has a place in my life.
Sharing it with the world
I speak about being a donor child very openly. Both because I feel like it makes things easier but also because I felt like my surroundings needed me to. People often don’t understand what it means to be a donor child and ever since elementary school I have told others about being a donor child. As a child, I experienced that other children didn’t understand what it meant – especially because there wasn’t a difference between me and the other children from the outside. I had a mum and a dad – just like everybody else. Even though it was something I explained, I was never teased about it and it has never been something that has been used against me. However, I have experienced that people didn’t believe me, probably because I was so honest about it and didn’t see it as a problem as they might have expected.
I remember an assignment in the first grade where we had to draw our family tree to illustrate the story of our families. At that time I had known for years how I was conceived, so I explained the teacher that it wasn’t easy for me to draw mine. Because I didn’t know my donor and his family. My teacher thought I made it up and phoned my parents to tell them that I was telling stories. I was confronted with the fact that not everyone found it so easy to talk about openly. Today, there are many types of family bonds and I don’t think it is questioned as much today as it was back then.
Later on I have experienced a form of “squeamishness” from my surroundings – people don’t know whether they should feel sorry for me or if they should ask more questions. This has meant that the subject has become taboo and I would like to be part of breaking that.
Making it a positive story
I am happy being a donor child and I am grateful to my donor. And that is the story I tell the world around me. Sharing my story also has consequences and even though most people have a positive reaction on my view about being a donor child, there are some who will have negative comments. Some feel sorry for me while others are quite judgemental. Mostly, people just need more knowledge about the subject. The comments that have impacted me the most, are the negative comments from other donor children who feel it is wrong of me to tell my positive story. This is often because they have experienced being really upset about the fact that they don’t have the possibility of knowing their donor. They want changes, which my story does not agree with. I understand their frustration, but at the same time I believe that it is important to show all perspectives before big decisions are made that will impact a lot of people.
Pay it forward
I noticed there was a need for explaining what it means to be a donor child when I spoke to a friend who was in the same situation. There are thousands of questions and often questions like, “How do you feel about not knowing your donor?” and “Have you ever experienced problems with being a donor child?” All these questions of course mean a lot to people.
And then there is of course the questions about whether it should be an open or an anonymous donor. I can only tell you about how it has been for me through my life up until now.
There are many incredibly difficult decisions tied to the wish of having a child by the use of a donor. For this reason I started my blog; Donorchild by Emma Groenbaek. Here I write about my experiences as a donor child, thoughts and comments, all with the goal of sharing my knowledge and experience. I hope this can help create more general knowledge about the subject and at least hopefully give donor parents and other donor children peace of heart and support.
Learn more about anonymous donors
Aksel is a donor child. He has two mums. Aksel is 8 years old and has a brother, Viggo, who is also a donor child. They share the same open donor.
Esther is a donor child and has two mothers. Esther is 12 years old and has two younger brothers, with whom she shares the same donor.
Fredrik is 30 years old and a donor child. Him and his fiance have a son, Viggo, who is 1 year old. Frederik has always felt that being a donor child hasn’t been a very big part of his life. However, he has experienced that it has been important to other people.