Becoming a father yourself
Do genetics suddenly mean something?
My name is Frederik and I am a donor child. I am 30 years old and a teacher. I live with my fiance in Aarhus. We have a 1 year old son, Viggo, together. Being a donor child has never really meant much my life. On the other hand, I have experienced that it meant something to other people.
Being a donor child
My brother was seven and I was five when we were told that we were donor children and it is actually quite a sweet story that I have been told by my father and brother ever since. We lived close to the beach and my mum took us there with a blanket. My mum started by saying “I need to tell you a little story.” And the story was the story about how my brother and I were conceived. She told us that her and my dad had a burning wish of having us but that they couldn’t do it by themselves, which was why they chose to get help from someone they didn’t know. Luckily he said yes to helping them and since then the story has been that we were born by a lucky star. My mum has told me that I barely reacted to it and that my answer was, “Oh okay. That’s fine.” My older brother had asked more questions about it 2 years earlier – about how it actually worked and sooner than later he asked “Is Dad actually my real dad?”, which my parents were not prepared for at all and had not had the chance to coordinate their answers. So while my mum said “No” my father’s answer was “Yes.”
My older brother had a curiosity about the subject from the beginning which I did not have, and I actually still feel that way. For me it is not important to know who my genetic history and it has never occured to me that it could be an issue. I have only been made aware of it when I have told others about it and gotten reactions like “Wow! How interesting.”
Explaining the fact that I am a donor child
I have been confronted about being a donor child a few times, where I have been forced to explain it. I have always said that I don’t wish to meet my donor – even if I had the possibility to do so. But then I started to differ in appearance from my brother. I was taller than both him, my mum and my dad, and that’s when I started considering where that may come from. Later on, my fiance Charlotte asked questions like “I wonder if there is someone out there who looks like you. Someone who is just as tall and has just as red a beard as you do.” This made quite curious but I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need to know. He is nothing more than a little sperm cell in my life. For some time, I thought it could be fun to know why I didn’t look like anyone else in the family. I spend a lot of time with my cousin and growing up we started to look a lot alike. Same features – tall, red beards and so on. Yes, we actually look so much alike that my son cannot tell the difference between us.
This got me thinking, “Yes, well, then I probably have the features from my mum’s family and not from my donor” as I had otherwise believed. So the thought of having any specific features from my donor quickly disappeared and it got quite insignificant.
Becoming a father yourself
Now I have a son of my own and my fiance has asked me whether it has brought up any feelings about being a donor child. And it actually hasn’t. We have Viggo and he is ours – just like his granddad is his granddad and I am his father. I don’t think about Viggo needing to know I am a donor child but I will of course tell him about it one day. When I look at Viggo I think about Charlotte and I – and not about whether some of his facial features come from my donor. For me, everything is about relations, and relations and genetics are two completely different things. I understand why some people need to know who their donor is, but I don’t have that need. I believe the way you are raised and your environment determines the type of person you become. Family is what is essential – and everything else like eye colour, hair colour and so on is not important to me.
Having an anonymous donor
I find it unlikely that I will change my current view, also if I had an open donor who I could have met. The things that are important to me would still be important to me and my opinion on family would probably be any different. But maybe I would have been more curious if I knew I could meet him.
My mum was and is quite spiritual so she didn’t want the sperm to be frozen at that time. So the process had to happen quite quick. I remember that I as a child had a perception of my mum and the donor lying on each their side of a cloth and it seemed strange to me that my parents had never seen him. Now that my brain thinks more rationally, I can conclude that that was not how it worked,
We have a very relaxed relationship to being donor children in our home. A funny story is that my parents’ doctor looked for both me and my brother’s donors at a university in order to find a donor who looked like my father. At the time, sperm donation was arranged “face to face” and he received a small payment for it. So it has always been a standing joke that I cost 250 DKK. “A real bargain,” we joke.
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.
Emma is 23 years old and is a donor child. She has a mum and a dad and two sisters. Ever since she was a child she has wanted to tell people about what it’s like to be a donor child by an anonymous donor. Her story is positive and it has met both acceptance and resistance.