A groundbreaking documentary examines the effects of anonymous sperm donation on donor-conceived children, their families and on the sperm donors themselves…
If you missed Sperm Donors Anonymous on Tuesday 18th August, don’t panic – it is available to watch online for two weeks from the broadcast date or you can purchase the DVD online at sensiblefilms.com.au.
Myf, Michael, Jeff and Ross were conceived in the 1970s using anonymous donor sperm. All four grew up thinking their biological father was their dad, only to discover in adulthood they were donor-conceived. Sharing a desire to uncover the truth about their donor father and their genetic heritage, their search for answers is hampered by old promises to donors that they would remain anonymous.
The 1970s saw major advances in the technology to freeze and store sperm. Men were paid to donate sperm to infertile couples on the understanding their identity would remain secret. These men often don’t know how many babies they fathered. And in many cases, their offspring have been kept in the dark about how they were conceived.
40 year old cabaret performer and songwriter Michael Griffiths discovered he was donor-conceived twelve years ago while reading his mother’s unpublished autobiography. Wanting to make sense of his true identity, Michael starts his search in Adelaide where he was conceived. He finds out that donor identity records were destroyed, but a subsequent newspaper article leads him closer to the truth.
Myf Cummerford’s story is legendary in donor-conceived circles as she found her donor father through a newspaper article in 2001. Myf has established
a good relationship with donor Michael Linden, as they were both open to contact and interested in getting to know one another. Now that Myf is a mother herself with two small children, she and Michael find new connections as Myf’s babies grow.
Five years ago. Ross Hunter, a 37 year old Melbourne school teacher found out he was donor-conceived as his father was dying of Alzheimer’s. Wanting to know more about his sperm donor father, he hits a roadblock when he discovers his donor files are locked away in the Public Records Office. Ross seeks out fertility doctors, writes letters to possible sperm donors and goes on radio to make his search public.
Music producer Jeff Springfield seeks the help from fertility clinic Monash IVF, as they still have his conception records. Monash know the donor’s name, but are unable to share it with Jeff unless the donor consents. Instead, Monash will attempt to track down the donor using the little information they have, and if they find him, they will ask him if he is open to contact.
But it is not only donor-conceived children who experience ramifications from the use of anonymous sperm donations. Sperm donors, like Ian Smith, are interested in their biological offspring and open to contact. Knowing he has fathered seven children, Ian is haunted by the likelihood he will never meet them. Also deeply affected is Myf’s dad, Simon, the father who raised her. Simon speaks about the hurt that secrecy caused him as the kids were growing up,
Sperm Donors Anonymous lifts the lid on donor anonymity, looks at the effects on the donor-conceived, their families, and on the sperm donors themselves
– and shows what is possible when the truth is told. It examines a significant moral dilemma for our time, an era where new fertility technologies lead the way in creating babies. And most importantly, it allows Myf, Jeff, Michael and Ross to share their struggles and joys as they each grapple with a whole new identity.