Friday, October 31, 2008

Finding old donor numbers

For any parent who is trying to remember the donor number, if your child was conceived AFTER 1997-1998, use the Internet Archive to locate the donor catalogue/lists at that time.  Simple go to the IA's Wayback Machine (link above), type in the sperm bank's website: for example, and click "Take Me Back."  The Internet Archive will give you a list of every time the Wayback Machine took a snapshot of the website over the past decade.  Most major sperm bank's had websites by 1998, so after that it should be fairly easy to access the catalogue or a list from that time. 

Here's some examples:

Please let me know if you need any help using this resource.  There are of course several obvious problems...anyone conceived before the Internet Age is out of luck (~pre-1997), and if a sperm bank's domain name has changed it may be more difficult to find their archives.

For anyone conceived from Xytex in the mid-to-late 1980s (and even potentially the early 1990s), I have FINALLY posted the list of donors from 1983-1984 I received from Xytex back in 2005 in an Excel file under the new section I just created "Old Donor Lists".  Please feel free to check it out.  Donors numbers that are in bold type have either the donor or offspring listed on a registry.  If you think you may have been conceived from Xytex around this time and a bolded donor looks like a possible match I can put you in contact with that individual; or if know you were conceived from Xytex and would like to add your information, please email me.  Not all donor numbers from that time are listed, so again, if you're a Xytex Baby from the 80s and would like to be added please let me know!

Also, if anyone has donor lists from anytime or any sperm bank - preferably those lists from before 1997, and would like to donate them (no pun intended) to my blog for others to access, please email me!!  I'm slowly uploading these lists I have in PDFs to spreadsheets in Google Docs and publishing them, so please be patient!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First ever class action lawsuit filed by sperm donor offspring in Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (October 28, 2008)



A class action lawsuit was filed on October 24, 2008, by Olivia Pratten, the
representative plaintiff, on behalf of all people in the province of BC
conceived via anonymous sperm, egg and embryo donation or what is called
“gamete donation”. It is believed to be the first time a case of this sort
has been brought forward by donor offspring in Canada. The lawsuit is
against the Attorney General of British Columbia and the College of
Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.

Today the British Columbia Supreme Court issued an injunction which orders
all persons who have records of gamete donation not to destroy such records
or redact them or transfer them out of the Province pending a further
hearing in the Supreme Court, at which time Ms. Pratten on behalf of the
class will seek a more permanent injunction to be in force until the trial
of this lawsuit is heard and decided. For further details of this
injunction the public is urged to refer to

The lawsuit claims that the present law discriminates against persons who
were conceived as a result of gamete donation. By contrast, adopted
children have, by law, certain legal rights and opportunities to know about
their biological parents that children conceived by way of gamete donation
simply do not enjoy. The lawsuit is based on the guarantees of equality and
security of the person in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The lawsuit seeks the immediate and ultimately the permanent protection and
preservation of all files related to the practice of gamete donation in the
province of British Columbia. Currently all information from health to
identifying information about the gamete donor, can be destroyed at whim by
the practicing physician after six years. One woman included in the suit
already had her files destroyed.

“Farmers have kept better records on the artificial insemination of cattle
than the physicians in BC have kept on people like myself,” said Pratten,
now 26 years old.

In 2001, she was told that her biological father was healthy and that a
“verbal medical check had been done.” The physician, Dr. Korn, gave the
minimal information of height, weight and hair color on a piece of hotel

“The issue of protecting the files and having my right to access their full
and complete information is one of principle to me. I’m tired of having to
explain or defend my desire and my right to know this information,” said

Olivia, along with others in the suit, have attempted to gain information
and access of vital health information from various physicians in BC who
practiced donor insemination. No one has managed to obtain information and
many have been told that the files are destroyed or will be destroyed if
further action was taken.

“It is completely unacceptable, if not outrageous, that the medical
establishment threatens to destroy medical files,” said Pratten.

In 2004, she was told by the Deputy Registrar of Ethics at the College that
her health files could be “shredded and incinerated” after six years from
the last medical contact with the patient. In this case, the patient was
not Olivia, but her mother Shirley, who received the inseminations.

Ms. Pratten expects a positive response from at least some of the men who
were sperm donors at Dr. Korn’s clinic. One such donor is Dwight Jones at
Dr. Korn’s clinic during the 1970s and 1980s who said, “It’s our obligation
to the offspring, and the perception that most donors are seeking anonymity
is not correct and certainly no reason to withhold their content decades

“Every Canadian adult has the right to truthful information about his or her
origins. We all need to know who we are and where we come from. It does
not matter whether we are adopted or conceived by gamete donation; we all
have the right to this information. The Adoption Council of Canada supports
the right of all adults conceived by gamete donation to truthful information
about their origins,” said Wendy Rowney, vice‑president of the Adoption
Council of Canada.

“Our clients seek information that might be said to be of the most basic and
fundamental to the human condition. Knowing about one’s biological origin
and thus their biological parent’s medical history, may be vital to our
client’s present and future health. Nor is it any longer beyond the realm
of the probable that this information may be needed to ensure that they do
not inadvertently marry one of their siblings. But perhaps, most important,
is that knowing about one’s ancestry, one’s very roots, is central to a
person’s self‑ identity,” says Joseph Arvay, who with Sean Hern, is counsel
for Ms. Pratten and the class once the action is certified as a class

On October 28, 2008, Chief Justice Donald Brenner of the British Columbia
Supreme Court issued an injunction directed to all persons in BC, whether
medical personnel or otherwise, preventing the destruction or transfer of
any records that have been created or maintained by persons who administered
artificial insemination. For the exact terms see

For Media Inquiries and Contact Information for Interviews, please call
Olivia Pratten at 1.646.300.5068, or by email at

Or contact Joseph Arvay, Q.C. at 604.689.4421

Daughter of sperm donor seeks to know identity of biological father

Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER - The daughter of an anonymous sperm donor has filed a legal action against the attorney general of B.C., seeking to change the rules that currently deprive children born by way of "gamete donation" the identity and history of one of their biological parents.

Olivia Pratten filed the proposed class action in B.C. Supreme Court, claiming that the records relating to the identity of the biological parents of an adopted person are preserved, but the records relating to a gamete donor are only required to be preserved for six years.

Once destroyed, a person born by way of a donor cannot get the medical or social history of a donor, and cannot learn crucial components of their identity such as racial, cultural, religious and linguistic history, which may cause psychological distress, the legal action claims.

"The information in the donor records could one day be vital to Olivia's health," the court document says.

"If the donor records are lost or destroyed, that information will be lost for all time and Olivia's health and safety could be compromised as a result."

Pratten, who seeks to have donor records preserved permanently, also seeks to know the identity of her biological father.

"That knowledge would alleviate the psychological distress that Olivia experiences in not knowing her biological origins," the legal action states.

"The differential treatment imposes a disadvantage on the plaintiff and class members, in comparison with those people who are adopted," the court document says.

"Many of the members of the class were conceived by gamete donation because of the physical disability of one of their parents which resulted in his or her infertility," the statement of claim says.

The legal action states those conceived by gamete donation are discriminated against, violating protections enshrined under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Vancouver lawyer Joe Arvay, a constitutional specialist, is handling the lawsuit on behalf of Pratten and other potential class members.

For more than a decade, Pratten has advocated change in the area of reproductive technologies and was featured in the CBC documentary "Genetic Orphans."

In 1981, Pratten's mother visited a Vancouver doctor, Gerald Korn, now retired, because her mother's husband was infertile; her mother was impregnated with donor sperm through insemination.

The mother informed her daughter from an early age that she was conceived by way of donor insemination.

Pratten says the only information about her biological father disclosed by Korn was that he was a healthy Caucasian medical student who had a stocky build, brown hair, blue eyes and type A blood.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

RIP Nala

Lil' baby Nala passed away this afternoon while being cuddled by her best friend Oreo.  She was only nine months old.  She had a very aggressive form of cancer (osteosarcoma) and is finally at rest.  She will be greatly missed by all for her sweet disposition, constant affection, and innocent shyness.

Nala came to live with us this April from Rattie Love Rescue in Cincinnati, Ohio - and she went from a terrified little rattie who didn't like people to the sweetest of all.  Her favorite places were snuggling in the nook of your arm bruxing, or running around like a mad-woman in her big blue rattie ball.

She may have only been on this earth a short while, but she's touched each and every one of us.

*~*~ Rest in Peace Nala ~*~*

January 2008 - October 24, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

"My So-Called Family"

"My So-Called Family" - a new young adult fiction novel by Courtney Sheinmel, which tells the story of 13 year old Leah Hoffman-Ross. Leah was conceived by Donor 730, and after moving to a new town she hoped to pretend to be 'normal' until an argument with her parents leads her to begin searching for her biological father. What she found was 3 siblings, including one her own age. She secretly contacts her new half-sister Samantha, because her mother doesn't agree with searching and doesn't understand her need to know.

"My So-Called Family" by Courtney Sheinmel - $11.99 hardcover @

From the reviews it seems like a very well written book and really takes on the issues that we face. I will try to get a copy of it and see for myself what happens, but in the meantime it looks like a good novel for any teenage DC person to read.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How to search for your sperm donor father

[See also How to search for your sperm donor father - Part II....for information about using and the Birthday Database to find your donor, and see How to search for your sperm donor father - Part III....for information about how a girl used Myspace to find her donor]

Since most people who read my blog regularly know that I'm currently getting my masters degree in Library and Information Science I thought I would share an "information awareness essay" I've written for one of my classes that pertains to donor conception.  The purpose of the assignments each week are to write about a specific information "gap" in our current knowledge state and discuss what we did to find the answers to that knowledge gap.  This was an essay I wrote that outlined how I painstakingly search the internet for answers and what I hope to do with them if I find any.


As I mentioned during my introduction in class last week, I was conceived by an anonymous sperm donor and I write a blog called “Confessions of a Cryokid”.  On my blog I discuss issues related to donor conception from the eyes of those of us who are most affected by it, but I also discuss and chronicle my own personal search and give advice and resources for others trying to search. 

There is such a huge degree of variance in what information offspring have in regards to their donors – many older offspring who were conceived in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, prior to cryogenically frozen sperm and large-scale sperm banks, all they may know is a doctor’s name or a clinic and nothing else.  Those of us conceived in the 1970s and 80s might have information such as hair color, eye color, height, and possibly ethnicity or occupation.  The lucky ones might have a donor number, which is imperative for offspring to find siblings and possibly their biological father on donor conception registries.  Today children conceived by a donor may even have the ability to know his name upon turning 18, but others who still have anonymous donors have personal intimate information and even pictures of their donors, depending on how much money their parent(s) wanted to spend.

I was one of those lucky ones with a donor number, but only after five long years of searching.  Once I had the donor number (found in my mother’s medical records as a “vial number”) I was able to contact the sperm bank and get more non-identifying information on my biological father.  “Brown hair, green eyes, 6’0, and was a senior in college in 1982 when he began donating.”  The sperm bank also told me he donated until 1989.  What I was not expecting was to receive his birth date!  Even though I don’t know where he was born, the sperm bank is located in Augusta, Georgia, and therefore he was likely a student at Augusta State University (called Augusta College at the time), since that’s where the majority of donors were recruited from in the early years and graduated in 1983.

That was eight months ago, and since then I have routinely searched the Internet far and wide to try and find more information.  Not only am I registered on every available registry, but I have gone through several DNA tests and have my X chromosome information in a Donor Gamete Archive database, where they cross your X chromosome inherited from the donor to all the other females (Y chromosome for males) in the database for sibling matches, as well as the donor.  However, probably the most intensive and grueling task is combing the web for my biological father, or at least potential men who could possibly be my biological father.  Since it’s time consuming and complicated (and obviously has yet to reveal anything of substance), I only attempt this once every few months.  Last week I attempted it again and I’ll describe the steps that I most typically take to do this. 

  1. I first do a basic Google search with the phrase “born February 12, 1961” (the birth date identified as my biological father’s)

41 hits found

Hit 1:


A death notice for a Dr. Gerald Reagan, born February 12, 1961, died September 3, 2006 in Bethlehem, PA.  “He attended Penn State University and graduated from Life University, Georgia with a Masters in Sports Medicine and a Doctorate of Chiropractic.”

This is a possibility (albeit a sad one since he’s now deceased), so a further search on Life University in Georgia tells me that it’s in Marietta, Georgia.  Doing a Google map search for the distance between Marietta and Augusta shows me it’s approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes apart.  While plausible, highly unlikely for a college/graduate student to travel nearly 6 hours 3 times a week to make a donation for 7 years straight.  

Next hit:


A page on for the descendents of Joseph Patterson.  Using the cached feature on Google I’m able to find exactly where the phrase “born February 12, 1961” is.  It turns out it’s a woman, so that’s definitely not the one!

Other hits include:

 An American actor and stand-up comic, Brian Haley (, but it’s noted in the biography that he was in the US Army from 1980 to 1985, so that knocks him off my list.

A lawyer, Douglas Crisman (,-Lewis-and-Bockius-LLP-2748058-f.html), who was born on February 12, 1961, but received his BS from Indiana University and his JD from Cornell – not possible distance-wise.

Others are foreign people, other women on genealogy websites, other famous people, as well as several hits directed to my blog where I have his information posted.

  1. My second Google search is typically one of the other bits of information I have about him – such as “Augusta College 1983”

16 hits found 

Hit 4:

The educational background of a lawyer Mark Wortham, who graduated from Augusta College in 1983 and graduated from Georgia State in 1986.  It’s probably unlikely, since he graduated from law school in 86, that he would continue donating until 1989 since it says he was admitted to the Georgia Supreme Court in 1987.

The other searches were immediately not what I was looking for and were not further investigated.

While a more in depth search may have included many other search terms, this is a general idea of how I go about this.  Even though I may not have found my biological father, or even a man I would consider a prime candidate, it has given me excellent research experience in maneuvering the web, and how to search in the most unlikely ways.  It has given me experience in going through genealogy websites, which will be beneficial for what I want to specialize in.  I will continue to complete this task until one day I might chance upon someone who could possibly be my biological father.  What I would do at that point I have no clue.