I was an anonymous semen donor at OB/GYN Associates, One Randall Square, Providence, Rhode Island, from about spring 1985 to spring 1986. The principal physician was Andrew Blazar.
As a returning college student who was approaching middle age, I needed the money. The pay was $35 per donation (about $78 in 2016 money), which was substantially more than I was earning in any of my other student jobs.
I had little or no social or romantic life. Though always hopeful, I knew in my heart that it was unlikely that I would ever have my own family.
Helping a family to conceive seemed like an honorable thing to do. I guess that becoming a semen donor was my way of connecting to the larger society, even if it were in a relatively remote and dispassionate way.
After I had been in the program for about a year, the clinic informed me that I had reached the prescribed limit of pregnancies produced, and that they no longer needed my services.
I admit that I never thought through the issues of anonymous semen donation, and what this means to a child.
People then believed that the less involvement the donor father had with the family, the better, as it was the family, not the donor, who mattered more in the child's life. I also imagine that, had there been no promise of anonymity, it would have been harder to recruit donors.
I'm happy to learn that in the past few decades the discussion has shifted from the right of a family to have a child to the rights of the child. I hope that this trend continues and that the great civil rights and human rights effort of this century will be the comprehensive rights of young people.
Knowing who you are and where you're from is a fundamental right. Parents should tell their child who their surrogate parent is when they're old enough to understand. The child can then decide what to do with the information, but lying, even by omission, about who they are is never acceptable.
To my surrogate children: If you feel happiness, know that I, too, am happy to have played an important role in bringing you into the world. If, however, you feel pain in not being able to know your father, know that I'm aware that your pain is real. I hurt for you; I hurt for all of us.
I wish to reach my children. For further information, send a message to info at cactuspear dot org.