Once one of the sperm bank’s most-requested donors, with a profile that described him as 6 foot and blue-eyed with interests in philosophy, music and drama, Mr. Harrison, 50, lives with his four dogs in a recreational vehicle near the Venice section of Los Angeles.A daughter's actual reaction: “He’s sort of a free spirit, and I don’t care what career he has."
“I make a meager living,” Mr. Harrison said, taking care of dogs and doing other odd jobs.
It's hard to read the article without thinking whether he would have made more of his life if he'd spent all these years with his children, but there's nothing to blame him for. He donated sperm when he needed to make money, and he helped women who wanted children give birth to human beings who would not otherwise exist. He had no option to live with this family, so he is nothing like a father who estranges himself from a family. One wonders what effect it had on his mind to know there were children of his out there that he could not know (until recently). I would think most sperm donors feel vaguely good about it, but maybe it makes them feel sad and lonely sometimes, especially if they don't find their way into a family of their own.
Here's the original article he read:
For Danielle, of Seaford, N.Y., contact with her half-sibling JoEllen has helped salve her anger at what she describes as "having been lied to all my life," until three years ago when her parents told her the truth about her conception. It has also eased her frustration of knowing only the scant information about her biological father contained in the sperm bank profile - he is 6 feet tall, 163 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. He was married, at least at the time of his donation, and has two children with his wife. He likes yoga, animals and acting.I wrote about this article at the time. Here's what I said (which I'm reading after writing the text above):
For JoEllen, whose two mothers told her early on about her biological background, it helps just to know that Danielle, too, checks male strangers against the list of Donor 150's physical traits that she has committed to memory.
If you were a sperm donor, originally intent on remaining out of the picture, but you knew that a large group of your children had sought each other out and formed powerful love bonds, would you have a change of heart? What if there were dozens of your kids out there, and they all got together and started to see themselves as a big family, with you as an absent presence? Would it make you sad? Would it make you lonely?It's interesting to me that the words "sad" and "lonely" came to mind for me then and now.