Three sets of twin half-siblings who share the same sperm donor 'father' met recently in a playground in California. The encounter was the first of many similar meetings sparked by a sibling registry of children and their anonymous sperm donor fathers.
The registry, which was started four years ago by the support group Single Mothers by Choice (SMC), lists the sperm bank and donation number of the donors. It attracted little interest while the children were still babies, but over the past six months women have been clamouring to list their children. Jane Mattes, director of SMC, believes the recent impetus has come from the children's questions: 'They ask about fathers, about siblings - and I think finding a half-sibling for them is a way of giving them another piece of family'. Mattes also believes that the mothers are starting to think about medical emergencies, when their children may need blood or organ donations.
Nearly all of the mothers who discovered that there were other children with the same sperm donor father as their own child have arranged to meet the 'other woman' and her child. 'Of those, 90 percent want to continue meeting on a regular basis' says Mattes.