Thousands of donor-conceived people have a deep longing to know who they belong to, where they come from, and who they look like. What is it like to grow up not knowing who your biological father is or if you have any siblings? What is it like to find out that the man you thought was your dad is not your biological father, that your true biological father donated his sperm and is known only by a number? How does it impact your self-perception, the choices you make, and your view of life and the world? Donor-conceived people are demanding answers to these basic questions about their origins, their lives, and their identities.
From The Center for Bioethics and Culture, producers of Lines That Divide (2009) and the award-winning Eggsploitation (2010), Anonymous Father’s Day explores the stories of women and men who are the children of sperm donors.
“The great virtue of Anonymous Father’s Day is that it asks us to examine a practice many simply take for granted. Focusing on the thoughtful and thought-provoking comments of three people who were themselves conceived by means of anonymous sperm donation, this documentary invites us to think about the well-being of those who had no say in the process—the children conceived as part of someone else’s reproductive project. Because they should not and cannot be taken for granted, neither can the practice that helped to produce them.”
— Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D., Duesenberg Professor in Christian Ethics, Valparaiso University
“Anonymous Father’s Day gives a voice to those adult children of Third Party Reproduction (TPR) who have a fundamental human right to information about their genetic history for their health and medical care, to their identity and family history, and to siblings they may have all over the world. The U.S. obsession with capitalist profit-generation has resulted in a major human rights violation of the children of TPR. It is a damning indictment that the U.S. is the only country in the world besides Somalia to have failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Jennifer Lahl’s film sheds much needed light on an ever-growing population ignored and too often silenced by society.”
— Kathleen Sloan, Feminist, human rights advocate, and author, National Organization for Women (NOW)
“So absorbing I watched it twice . . . a profound documentary”
— Jill Stanek, nurse turned speaker, columnist, and blogger, a national figure in the effort to protect innocent human life
“Anonymous Father’s Day should be required viewing for anyone considering donating or selling their sperm, as well as for anyone contemplating using this method of conceiving a child. The film beautifully reveals the stories of three donor-conceived adults whose needs have been entirely ignored by an industry that only considers the desires, money and frequent dishonesty of adults desperate to have a baby.”
— Kevin D., a sperm donor who has been denied a relationship with his biological child
“It is easy for anyone to sympathize with the plight of infertile couples and their desire to have a baby. What is often left out (and what is covered so well by the film) is that the babies become adults who have been denied half their heritage. Seeing and hearing the donor-conceived offspring in the film has so much impact. They are speaking for thousands of others.
— Bill, a former sperm donor
“Anonymous Father’s Day is so refreshingly honest and so ‘human.’ It is so so good to see a documentary from the viewpoint of the people that this directly affects the most — the children we have created. This is the first I have seen from this perspective, focused on their views and feelings and the rights they so rightly deserve to have. What an inspiration to human rights.”
— Sue H., mother of a donor-conceived child
“Thank you so much for making Anonymous Father’s Day. I am 55. Two years ago, I learned from my father on his death bed that I was conceived using sperm from an anonymous donor. The only thing that my father knew was that the donor was a doctor.
There were so many things in your film that rang exactly true with my own experience. To give an example, just like Stephanie, I had both wondered if I had been adopted and knew that I couldn’t have been. Like the other people presented in the film, I have searched (without success so far) for my biological father.
Learning that I was donor-conceived was a real shock. It literally felt like the bottom was dropping out of my life. It made me try to reconstruct my earlier life, which I am doing. If I had been able to see this film when I first learned about my conception would have been tremendously helpful.
I am very actively engaged in trying to find out who biological father might have been. All that I knew was that my parents’ doctor in New York City had told them that the donor was a doctor.
Although I have figured some things out – he must have been Jewish (based on my results from FamilyTreeDNA.com) and probably associated with NYU (my mother’s OB/GYN was associated with NYU and there was a fertility doctor there), I have yet to determine who the donor was. But I’m still looking.”
— John A.